Published On: Tue, Dec 27th, 2016

Human right abuses in Cameroon

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Cameroon human right abuses

In a report released Thursday, Amnesty International (AI) documented numerous human rights violations committed by Cameroon authorities in the country’s crackdown on Boko Haram. In a military campaign that AI West and Central Africa Regional Director calls the right end accomplished through “the wrong means,”  Cameroon citizens have reportedly been subjected to arbitrary arrest, torture, enforced disappearances and incommunicado detention, and the death penalty is a near certainty for those convicted of supporting Boko Haram—100 people, including women, have been sentenced to death since July 2015.

Once detained these citizens are placed in “desperately overcrowded prisons, in insanitary conditions where malnutrition is rampant.” In one prison it has been noted that, on average, between six and eight prisoners will die as a result of these conditions each month. The heightened military offensive has also led to an increase of unnecessary force used against citizens and those detained, including extrajudicial killings and, in at least one case, the burning of houses. Those opposed to the country’s anti-terror tactics claim the human rights violations are a result of “draconian” and ambiguous anti-terrorism laws introduced in 2014.

AI, in the report, called upon Cameroon to setup a number of measures to address the numerous issues outlined and investigate all human rights violations alleged by citizens.

Cameroon’s harsh practices have come in response to atrocities committed by Boko Haram which, according to a report earlier in September by AI, is accountable for the death of at least 400 civilians in Northern Cameroon. The militant Islamic group Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is a sin,” has been fighting to overthrow the Nigerian government in the interest of creating an Islamist state. In February UN human rights experts urged the Nigerian government to guarantee the safety of areas liberated from Boko Haram.

In November the UN Secretary-General condemned yet another attack by Boko Haram in Nigeria that left 30 dead and approximately 80 injured. In April 2015 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein reported  that Boko Haram militants in Nigeria have been murdering women and girls previously taken captive by the group. The group has been increasing the intensity and frequency of its attacks ever since it lost most of the territory it overtook earlier last year to the Nigerian army. Most of these attacks have centered around markets, bus stations, places of worship and hit-and-run attacks on villages.


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