Over 15 Human Rights Organisations in the Northwest Region have decried the indiscriminate arrest of inhabitants of Bamenda by the forces of law and order under the disguise of protecting lives and properties before, during and after the end-of-year festivities.
Speaking during the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day in Bamenda recently, the CEO of the Centre for Human Rights Peace Advocacy, CHRAPA, Joseph Chongsi Ayeah, regretted that the human rights situation in the Northwest Region and Cameroon in general has not improved.
“We have been on the same spot for too long, and everyday, there are serious violation of human rights. People are arrested everyday in Bamenda, especially at night, in the name of fighting high crime wave. They are detained and some are released without reasons.
“Another area of human rights violation is in the domain of potable water supply. Most parts of Bamenda have gone for two months without water and the authorities are not doing enough to redress this situation. Are they waiting for the angry population to take to the streets or for cholera to hit again before they take action?” Chongsi quipped.
Other NGOs, like International Federation of Women Lawyers Association, FIDA; Finders Groups Initiative, FGI; Cameroon Lawyers for Human Rights; Action by Christmas for the Abolition of Torture, ACAT; Community Initiative for Sustainable Development, COMINSUD; all joined CHRAPA to decry arbitrary arrests and urged the forces of law and order to desist from such practices.
Agbor Nkeng, Senior Staff at the Regional Office of the National Commission of Human Rights and Freedoms, NCHRF, promised to open investigation on such arbitrary arrests.
“We must acknowledge that this act is committed every year, towards the start of festive periods in Bamenda, and our role now is to ascertain whether the action is within the ambit of the law. This is because, we cannot be living in bondage in our own country,” Agbor Nkeng intimated.
Before visiting the various stands of the Human Rights NGOs, the representative of the Governor of the Northwest, Joseph Nji, reminded the population of Cameroon’s ratification of laws on human rights and the creation of related Ministries that carry out human right activities.
To him, the occasion was special because Cameroon was celebrating the 66th International Human Rights Day. He said human rights are inter-dependent rights inherent in all human beings, without regard to nationality, ethnic origin, sex, religion, language, creed or any other status.
According to Nji, Government has set up human rights promotion on recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He reminded the NCHRF staff that their duties, amongst other things, include; receiving denunciations from penitentiary establishments, popularising human rights instruments, liaising with NGOs and civil society organisations and to propose measures to the Government on how to better human rights in the country.