The United Nations Hiigh Commissioner of Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has revealed the commission is still being denied access to the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon to probe alleagations of rights violations in the area.
He made the revelation on Monday in Switzerland during the opening ceremony of the 38th Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations.
While briefing the President and the members of the council on the Rights situation in the world, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said: “In Cameroon, I trust that recent promising dis- cussions with the authorities will swiftly lead to approval for a mission by the Office to all parts of the country. To date this access has been refused, despite the growing crisis in the Anglophone regions, with fighting between up to a dozen armed groups and the security forces. We have received reports of abuses and violations by all sides, including burning of schools and private property; mass arrests and arbitrary detentions; and the use of torture and excessive force by security personnel, leading to the displacement of 150,000 people within the country and over 20,000 to neighbouring Nigeria. ”
Representatives of Cameroon-based non-governmental organisations also added their voices to that of the Commissioner saying: “the UN should provide humanitarian protective assistance that will ensure that Cameroon’s armed forces and civil administrative personnel leave the areas for a smooth return of refugees and IDPs as well as putting in place UN administration for organisation of independence referendum. ”
Last year, the Commissioner had equally raised concerns at the manner in which the government of Cameroon handled protesters in the two English-speaking regions of the country.