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Cameroon

    October 13, 2017
    More than 500 people detained in towns including Bamenda and Buea Wounded protestors flee hospitals for fear of arrest Arrested protestors forced to pay 60 USD bribe to be released

    At least 500 people remain detained in overcrowded detention facilities following mass arbitrary arrests in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, and many wounded protestors fled hospitals to avoid arrest, Amnesty International said today.

    Those detained were arrested following protests in dozens of towns in North-West and South-West Cameroon on 1 October, in which more than 20 people were unlawfully shot dead by security forces.

    “This mass arrest of protestors, most of whom were acting peacefully, is not only a violation of human rights, but is also likely to be counter-productive,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher.

    “The Cameroonian authorities should release anyone detained only for exercising their right to peaceful protest.”

    October 02, 2017

    Amnesty International can confirm that at least 17 people have been killed by the security forces following yesterday’s protests in several towns of the Anglophone regions in Cameroon. Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher said:

    “The worrying escalation witnessed over the weekend has now reached a crisis point. The use of excessive force to silence protests in the West and South-West regions of Cameroon is not the solution.

    “All deaths related to these protests must be promptly and effectively investigated.”

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    Media contact: Jacob Kuehn, Media Relations at (613) 744-7667 ext 236 or jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

    October 02, 2017

    Following worrying reports that several people have been shot dead by security forces in massive protests- some of which turned violent- in the Cameroon’s Anglophone regions, Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International Lake Chad researcher said.

    “The reported unlawful killing of several people in the Anglophone regions by the security forces coupled with the blocks on Facebook and WhatsApp represent an extremely worrying escalation of the government’s on-going campaign to silence any form of dissent in the West and South-West regions of Cameroon.

    “In order to avoid further bloodshed, the security forces must cease unnecessary and excessive use of force, and protesters should be peaceful if they want to make their voices heard. The government should investigate these killings.

    “The arbitrary decision to ban meetings and movement is totally unacceptable. The authorities must respect people’s right to freedom of assembly and movement.”

    Background

    August 30, 2017

    In response to today’s presidential decision to drop all charges against civil society leaders and several others arrested in connection with the unrest in recent months in the Anglophone region in Cameroon, Samira Daoud, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for West and Central Africa said:

    “Today’s decision to drop all charges and release of Anglophone civil society leaders, including Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla and Dr Fontem Aforteka’a Neba, and several others who spent over six months in jail is an enormous relief and welcome news for everyone who has been campaigning for this outcome. They should never have been arrested and prosecuted in the first place for simply helping to organize peaceful, non-violent protests.

    “However, we should not forget that the Cameroonian authorities are detaining many other individuals on spurious charges related to national security.

    July 20, 2017
    Detainees subjected to severe beatings, agonising stress positions and drownings, with some tortured to death Widespread torture at 20 sites, including four military bases, two facilities run by intelligence services, a private residence and a school Calls for US and other international partners to investigate their military personnel’s possible knowledge of torture at one base

    Hundreds of people in Cameroon accused of supporting Boko Haram, often without evidence, are being brutally tortured by security forces, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    Using dozens of testimonies, corroborated with satellite imagery, photographic and video evidence, the report ‘Cameroon’s secret torture chambers: human rights violations and war crimes in the fight against Boko Haram’ documents 101 cases of incommunicado detention and torture between 2013 and 2017, at over 20 different sites.

    April 24, 2017

    The conviction and sentencing of a journalist by a military court in Cameroon to 10 years in prison after an unfair trial is a travesty of justice, Amnesty International said today.

    Ahmed Abba, a journalist for Radio France Internationale's Hausa service was handed down 10 years of imprisonment after having been convicted on 20 April on charges of "non-denunciation of terrorism" and "laundering of the proceeds of terrorist acts”. He was also fined 84,000 euro. The journalist was acquitted of the charge of "glorifying acts of terrorism."

    “Ahmed Abba’s conviction, after torture and an unfair trial, is clear evidence that Cameroon’s military courts are not competent to try civilians and should not have jurisdiction in these cases,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi Amnesty International’s Lake Chad researcher.

    January 20, 2017

    The Cameroonian authorities must immediately and unconditionally release two civil society leaders arrested in the English-speaking part of the country, and lift the ban imposed on their organization, Amnesty International said today.

    On 17 January the Minister of Territorial Administration banned the activities of the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC) and the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC). The president of the CACSC, Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor-Balla, and its Secretary General, Dr. Fontem Aforteka’a Neba, were arrested, sparking protests in the southwest city of Buea. 

    On the same day both Agbor-Balla and Dr. Fontem Neba had signed a statement calling for protest activities to be carried out without violence.

    “These two men have been arrested solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression. This flagrant disregard for basic rights risks inflaming an already tense situation in the English-speaking region of the country and is clearly an attempt to muzzle dissent,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International Central Africa Researcher.

    December 09, 2016

    Authorities in Cameroon must investigate the use of excessive and unnecessary force that led to the deaths of between two and four people during a protest in the north western city of Bamenda yesterday, Amnesty International said today.

    Eye witnesses recounted that security forces fired live rounds and teargas in reaction to people throwing stones, describing how they saw the bodies of two men who had been shot dead. Media reports quoting police sources have reported that at least four people were killed.

    Security forces were also seen launching teargas into an area apparently unrelated to the protests, as well as firing live ammunition in the air.

    “Authorities in Cameroon must shed light on the circumstances of these killings and injuries by immediately conducting thorough, impartial and effective investigations. Those reasonably suspected of criminal responsibility for these deaths must be brought to justice,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International’s Central Africa Researcher.

    July 14, 2016
    Up to eight people dying each month as a result of desperately overcrowded conditions in Maroua Prison More than 100 people, including women, sentenced to death before military courts Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon killed nearly 500 people in the last year

    More than 1,000 people, many arrested arbitrarily, are being held in horrific conditions and dozens are dying from disease and malnutrition or have been tortured to death, as part of the Cameroonian government and security forces crackdown on Boko Haram, Amnesty International revealed in a new report published today.

    The report Right cause, wrong means: Human rights violated and justice denied in Cameroon’s fight against Boko Haram details how the military offensive against Boko Haram has resulted in widespread human rights violations against civilians in the Far North region of the country.

    December 27, 2015

     

    The Cameroonian authorities must come clean over the fate of 130 people rounded up and detained by Cameroonian forces a year ago following security operations against Boko Haram, said Amnesty International on the anniversary of their enforced disappearance.

    On 27 December 2014, more than 200 boys and men were arrested by security forces in the villages of Magdeme and Doublé. The government claims that 70 suspected Boko Haram members were arrested and that 25 of them had died that night in custody. However, the whereabouts of at least 130 remaining people are still unknown. In the same operation, at least eight people, including a child, were killed, more than 70 buildings were burnt down and many possessions were stolen or destroyed by security forces.

    October 30, 2015

    Cameroon's authorities must urgently reveal the whereabouts of a journalist who has been held in secret detention since his arrest three months ago and give him access to lawyer and his family, Amnesty International said today.

    Journalist Ahmed Abba, a Hausa language correspondent for French radio Radio France Internationale (RFI) was arrested on 28 July in the city of Maroua while investigating the Boko Haram conflict in the north of the country. Despite repeated attempts by his lawyer, RFI and his family, he has been refused any contact with the outside world and subject to secret detention - prohibited under international law. In addition, Ahmed Abba has been deprived of his right to be brought promptly before an ordinary civilian court, as well as the right to challenge the lawfulness of his detention. It is unclear if any charges have been brought against him.  

    September 16, 2015
    War crimes: Boko Haram shoots, burns and slits throats of hundreds of people Authorities detain more than 1,000 people - dozens die in inhumane conditions More than 130 men and boys disappeared at hands of security forces New satellite images show destruction of civilian property by security forces

    Boko Haram has slaughtered nearly 400 civilians in northern Cameroon, while a heavy-handed response by security forces and inhumane prison conditions have led to dozens more deaths, Amnesty International said in a report launched today.

    Based on three research missions in 2015, the report, Human rights under fire: attacks and violations in Cameroon's struggle with Boko Haram, documents how Boko Haram has killed at least 380 civilians since January 2014.

    July 23, 2015

    Twin suicide bombings in Maroua, northern Cameroon, yesterday, are part of a growing pattern of armed groups such as Boko Haram targeting civilians as the regional conflict grows ever more dangerous, said Amnesty International today.

    The attacks, in which at least 13 people were killed and 30 injured, is the third large-scale attack against Cameroonian civilians this month. More than 50 civilians have been killed in the last three weeks, following months of relative calm in the region.

    "It is deeply worrying that we are now seeing such a sharp increase in attacks, and the use of tactics such as suicide bombs deliberately and indiscriminately targeting civilians shows a total disregard for human life,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, Amnesty International Central Africa Researcher, who recently returned from a research mission in Maroua.

    “Those behind these recent attacks should be identified and brought to justice, and the Cameroonian security forces should use all lawful and necessary means to protect the civilian population from Boko Haram, while upholding human rights standards.”

    June 18, 2015

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  19 June 2015

    Cameroonian authorities must immediately end the six-month illegal detention of 84 children – some as young as five years-old - who were rounded up during a raid on Quranic schools in the far north of the country, Amnesty International said today.

    On 20 December 2014, Cameroonian security forces raided a series of schools in a town called Guirvidig, arresting 84 children and 43 men – including many teachers. All but three of the children are under 15 years old and 47 are under 10. The authorities claim the schools were being used as fronts for ‘Boko Haram training camps’.

    Six months on, the children remain detained in a children’s centre in Maroua, the main city of the northern region, despite having been charged with no crimes. In the absence of provisions from local authorities, Unicef provided mattresses for the centre while the World Food Program has been providing food stocks, which are now running low.

    March 17, 2015

    The Cameroonian authorities must ensure humane treatment for detained journalist Gerard Kuissu, Amnesty International said today. His treatment must comply with international human rights law and Cameroon must ensure that he enjoys all fair trial rights and guarantees against ill-treatment.

    Gerard Kuissu, an online journalist and coordinator of human rights group ‘Tribunal Article 53’ was arrested with three of his colleagues in the night of Saturday, 14 March, in Douala after meeting Amnesty International delegates visiting the country. His three colleagues were released the same night after two and a half hours of questioning, while Gerard Kuissu was transferred to a detention facility in the capital Yaoundé managed by the Ministry of Defence. He should either be charged with a recognizably criminal offence or released. He has been held without charge for three days.

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