Afcon overshadows human rights abuses in Cameroon | News24

Cameroon’s nationwide flag. (iStock).

  • More than a thousand folks from Anglophone areas have been detained by navy courts in Cameroon.
  • Amnesty International has launched the “Don’t shut them up: Free victims of arbitrary detention now” marketing campaign.
  • Those arrested included journalists and human rights activists.

The Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) underway in Cameroon has overshadowed human rights abuses within the central African nation the place greater than a thousand folks from the Anglophone talking components of the nation are in detention.

Just earlier than the event that introduced collectively the continent’s greatest soccer abilities, a bunch of almost 50 folks had been sentenced by navy courts on 27 December 2021 for “insurrection, rebellion and endangering state security”.

The most outstanding of the group is Olivier Bibou Nissan, the spokesperson for Movement for the Rebirth of Cameroon (MRC), MRC president Maurice Kamto, and Alain Fogué, the MRC’s first vice-president.

Fogué was sentenced to seven years and Kamto to 18 months in jail.

Rights activists see the AFCON event as a possibility for the world to see what they are saying is a “forsaken crisis”.

READ | Cameroon govt says 16 killed in nightclub fire

Since 2017, there’s been an ongoing Ambazonia War or Anglophone Crisis within the nation. Separatists from the Anglophone areas of southern Cameroon launched an insurgency and unilaterally proclaimed the restoration of independence.

In November 2017, the federal government despatched the military to battle them. Since then 1000’s have been killed within the warfare, and greater than half 1,000,000 folks had been compelled to flee their properties.

Now, Amnesty International in a marketing campaign dubbed “Don’t shut them up: Free victims of arbitrary detention now”, calls on the authorities to instantly launch folks arrested for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and meeting.

“These frequent attacks on the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, coupled with the widespread use of torture and trials of civilians by military courts, reveal the extent to which the Cameroonian authorities are normalising the repression of critical voices. Their relentless repression must end,” stated Fabien Offner, Amnesty International’s Central Africa Researcher.

Most of the folks in detention included journalists, human rights defenders, activists and supporters of political opposition tried earlier than navy courts – in violation of worldwide human rights legislation – and sentenced beneath the nation’s repressive 2014 anti-terror legislation.

Offner stated: 

Over the previous 5 years, the human rights scenario has grown more and more bleak as folks from Anglophone areas, together with journalists, human rights defenders, activists and supporters of political opposition, have been arrested and jailed for expressing their opinions or peacefully protesting.

Amnesty International stated in a press release that a variety of detainees had been at present being held in prisons in Yaoundé, Douala, Bafoussam and Mfou. 

On 7 December 2021, Dorgelesse Nguessan was sentenced to 5 years in jail for “insurrection, assembly, meetings and public demonstrations” by the Douala navy tribunal.

Before she was transferred to Douala central jail on 30 December, she was denied the correct to clean within the police station the place she was held and suffered an tried sexual assault by a police officer.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The tales produced by way of the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements which may be contained herein don’t replicate these of the Hanns Seidel Foundation. 

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