Yaounde (National Times) – The government of Cameroon has refused a team of Human Rights Watch expert entry to the country, after the organization published damaging articles on government’s handling of the conflict in the country’s two Anglophone regions.
Human Rights Watch said on its site that, “The Cameroon government denied a Human Rights Watch researcher entry to the country on April 12, 2019. The government’s action is an attempt to curb reports of abuse by security forces, but Human Rights Watch will continue to document and publicize human rights violations in Cameroon.”
International media and western government institutions have under covered the crisis in Cameroon, which started after government used excessive violence on peaceful protesters in November 2016. However, rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have persistently published dozens of investigations and reports over the conflict, exasperating the government of Cameroon.
“Denying entry to our researcher is a clear step back for Cameroon,” said Philippe Bolopion, deputy global advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The government is doing everything it can to keep the world in the dark about its ongoing abuses, but it won’t succeed.”
Officials at Douala international airport refused to allow Ilaria Allegrozzi, a Human Rights Watch senior researcher on Central Africa, to enter the country on April 12. Allegrozzi had received a three-month visa on March 25. Allegrozzi explained in her visa application that she planned to travel to the Anglophone regions of the country to conduct research for Human Rights Watch on abuses committed by both government and armed separatist forces, as well as the impact of the crisis on people with disabilities.
In Douala, Allegrozzi was given no explanation for denying her entry.
Despite several attempts to obtain explanations, Human Rights Watch has received no clarification from the government on the basis for its decision to block access.
Contribution From Human Rights Watch