By Nestor Njodzefe
The Executive Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy, CHRAPA, Joseph Chongsi Ayeah, has called on journalists to take interest in reporting human rights issues. Chongsi made the call Friday, July 24, during a press conference in Bamenda, the headquarters of CHRAPA. The Director applauded the media for previous efforts made in reporting human rights violations and beckoned on them to re-ignite the vibrancy that characterized the media in the 90s.
Chongsi used the occasion to state CHRAPA’s stance on certain events that struck the human rights family and the civil society in Cameroon. He talked about the lawyer’s weeklong strike action in June, the ratification of the Maputo Protocol, the French civil society report on the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the President and Elections Cameroon, ELECAM.
Commenting on the issue of the lawyer’s strike action, the CHRAPA Director observed that any group has a right to strike or choose any method to press for their demands. To him, the strike was an exciting learning experience for civil societies, because according to him, it was united in purpose and methodology. On the issue of the French Catholic NGO’s revelation on President Paul Biya’s supposed ill-gotten wealth, Chongsi reiterated that individuals have a right to freedom of expression, to produce a report and even the right to match against any report.
He, however, regretted that this confusion by the French NGO couldn’t have been possible if Article 66 of Cameroon’s Constitution relating to the declaration of assets was applied by the government. Reacting to the creation of ELECAM and preparations for up coming elections, Chongsi noted that there is already gross violation of the electoral laws in force.
He regretted that voters’ registration, which is expected to start from January 1, has not commenced. Due to the feet dragging on the part of ELECAM, Chongsi said, CHRAPA launched a massive voter registration campaign where they distributed some 4,000 posters in five regions of Cameroon. CHRAPA is a human rights and civil society actor in Cameroon and is said to have special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
(UB Journalism Student On Internship), The Cameroon Post Newspaper