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Rights groups call for Commonwealth to take action on violence in Cameroon

28 Human rights groups have drawn the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group’s attention to the number of indiscriminate killings, arbitrary arrests, detention without recourse to justice, and torture in Cameroon.

Amnesty International have reported that 20 protesters have been killed, and information from UN agencies and Cameroonian civil society indicate that as a result of the ongoing crisis, more than 411,000 have now been displaced, 128 villages burnt, and more than 1,000 individuals are in detention.

In a letter published on the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative’s web page, the rights groups asked CMAG to add Cameroon on its formal agenda.

“It is clear that the Government of Cameroon is now in breach of the Commonwealth Charter, the Latimer House Principles, and the Harare Declaration. In the spirit of that Declaration’s call for ‘non-governmental Commonwealth organisations to play their full part in promoting these objectives, in a spirit of co-operation and mutual support,’ CHRI, joined by the undersigned groups, call on CMAG to now add Cameroon to its formal agenda.”

Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) set up by Commonwealth Heads of Government in New Zealand to “deal with persistent and serious violators of the Commonwealth’s shared principles”.

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) and 27 civil society organisations want immediate action on areas of major concern; Security forces have reacted to protests with excessive force resulting in protestors death, counter terrorism laws have been used to arrest protestors and journalists, prisoners have been denied due process, protestors in police custody, including minors, have been tortured to extract confessions, the independence of the judiciary has been compromised, internet connections and access to social media platforms have been blocked.

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