By Macdonald Ayang, December 16, 2016
Cameroon Journal, Yaounde – The United Nations Human Rights Commission has vehemently condemned recent police brutality unleashed on unarmed protesters in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon, leading to loss of life.
In a statement issued Tuesday on the disturbing situations in Syria and Cameroon, the spokespersons for the UN Human Rights Commissioner, Rupert Colville and Liz Throssell, urged “the Government of Cameroon to ensure that there is a prompt, effective and independent investigation of reports that police officers used excessive force during a protest in the town of Bamenda on 8 December, during which four people are reported to have been killed.”
“There have been several demonstrations in recent weeks in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, primarily against the use of French in schools and in the courts. Teachers, lawyers and students have been protesting at what they see as a violation of their right to use their language and culture,” the communiqué states.
The statement, which was also posted on the official website of the UN Human Rights Commission, called on the powers that be to “ensure that the security forces exercise restraint when policing demonstrations, and that the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are respected.”
While the Human Rights Commission officials advised demonstrators venting their irritation against the excesses of the Yaounde regime to protest peacefully and not to resort to
violence, the Commission spokespersons also recommended that the government takes “quick and appropriate action to constructively address the grievances being voiced in these regions fully in line with Cameroon’s international human rights obligations and the political commitments made in the Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review.”
The statement by the UN Human Rights Commission comes a few days after global rights watchdog, Amnesty International, issued its own, condemning the brutality of security forces during the demonstrations in Bamenda, Buea and Kumba.
It would be recalled that in all of these towns, soldiers, gendarmes and police officers used batons to beat up protesters. Some opened fire at crowds, leaving a number of protesters dead with others sustaining frightening injuries.
Students of the University of Buea who were demanding reforms through a peaceful on-campus march recently were also mercilessly repressed; others were pulled out of their hostel rooms and dragged in muddy gutters while some of the police officers were said to have forcefully raped some female students. Many others were bundled and detained in various detention facilities across Fako Division and reportedly had some of their sensitive body parts tortured.