Rights Group Accuses Biya Regime Of Using Repressive Tone Over AU Criticisms

Yaounde (National Times)-The African Center for Democracy and Human Rights Studies has accused the government of Cameroon of using “intimidating and repressive tone” against the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on its recent condemnation of the handling of the Kamto case and the Anglophone crisis.

The body wrote that while they expected Biya to open dialogue based on the allegations, they were surprised that regime stalwarts instead went on the defense.

“While we expected a dialogue on the facts exposed by this august institution, we were surprised by the intimidating and repressive tone used by the Cameroonian Government in response to a press release from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, published on March 6, 2019,”.

The letter addressed to president Paul Biya further states that, “The Cameroonian Government should instead commit to a dialogue on the disputed facts instead of ignoring these verifiable allegations.”

The Centre reminded Paul Biya that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) is of crucial importance for the promotion of human rights on the continent. The letter described the ACHPR as a legitimate body endorsed by all the members of the African Union which have unequivocally endorsed the OUA Charter and the constitutive element of the AU.

The Centre said it is deeply concerned about the government’s unwillingness to address the gross human rights violations in the Far North, North West and South West regions. “We are concerned by the Government of Cameroon’s lack of political will to adequately respond to the gross and systematic violations of human rights in the Far North, North West and South West regions of Cameroon,” the Centre tells Paul Biya.

According to the body, this gross violation of human rights is spearheaded by regime bigwigs who act with all impunity violating human rights and fundamental freedoms. This, according to the body also includes sexual violence which is on the rise in Cameroon.

The body further reminded Paul Biya that their aim is to see an Africa that respects human rights and the rule of law. However, it warned the President that “The denial of recognition of cases of serious human rights violations as well as the failure to respect the mechanism of the United Nations and the African Union may lead, by virtue of the responsibility to protect, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union and the United Nations Security Council to address the socio-political crisis in Cameroon and take steps to strengthen the application of the principle of accountability for the prevention of atrocity crimes.” However, the Centre stated that it is willing to help the regime come out of the political quagmire.

The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies regroups is a major player on the continent fighting for the promotion of the rule of law and the protection of human rights. It also met on the sidelines of 64th Ordinary session of the ACHPR which took place in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh. Among the participants was the Cameroonian born Barrister Agbor Balla.

It should be noted that, the Biya regime has always hit back at institutions and bodies criticizing its handling of current political challenges in Cameroon. After that of the AU it went further to hit back at the EU parliament for criticizing its gross human rights abuses.

In all these cases, institutions associated to these continental bodies have always come out strong sustaining the declarations of their mother institutions and warning the Biya regime of consequences if it does not sit up.

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