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Human Rights Commission Faults Gov’t For Anglophone Crisis 

By Sylvester Atemnkeng

The National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, NCHRF, in its 2016 report has blamed Government for the deteriorating Anglophone Crisis.

According to the report, administrative sluggishness in resolving the various strike actions within definite time periods is responsible for the present stalemate in the country.

Presenting the 175 page report, the Commission’s Chairperson, Dr. Divine Chemuta Banda, condemned the killings of civilians and military.

Going by the report, millions of Cameroonians are now caught between secessionists and security forces.
Banda said in order to preserve peace and unity in Cameroon, the passion demonstrated in sports should be replicated in decentralisation.

The report equally indicted Cameroon’s non- ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture as well as Government’s constant prohibition of public meetings on grounds of threat to public order.

Dr. Banda revealed that their reports published annually are always submitted to the President of the Republic, Senate and National Assembly Presidents in compliance with Law creating NCHRF.

He, however, rejoiced that responses to NCHRF’s summons improved significantly. Out of 131 summons in 2015, 117 persons reacted and in 2016, out of 303 summons, 241persons reacted positively.

The 2016 human rights situation in Cameroon was characterised by the adoption of Law No. 2016/007 of 12 July 2016 on the Penal Code and the progressive appropriation of the SDGs.

The situation of civil and political rights during the year was marked by the extension of the base of the perpetrators of acts of torture to include traditional authorities in the provisions of law no ° 2016/007 of 12 July 2016 on the Penal Code.

However, NCHRF noted that Cameroon has still not deposited its instrument of ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, with a view to setting up the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture.

The Commission also noticed the recurrence of kidnapping and hostage-taking, especially in the northern part of the country.

It equally witnessed a considerable increase in the rate of accidents and the number of deaths on roads and railways, as well as the persistence of jungle justice.

As part of analysing the situation of civil and political rights in 2016, the Commission observed a sluggish public response to registering on voters’ list, especially youth of voting age and the ban on public meetings.

The economic, social and cultural situation show an intensification in the fight against unemployment, but the job market is still characterised by small businesses, micro-activity, persistent underemployment and precarious working conditions.

In the economic, social and cultural domains, NCHRF appreciated the criminalisation of the illegal sale of medication provided for in the provisions of the Penal Code.

Nevertheless, it observed a continuous recourse of people to the informal pharmaceutical and hospital supply, and disparities in accessibility to health care according to the zones of residence.
The situation of economic, social and cultural rights was marked by an upsurge in land disputes and difficulties in access to land ownership, despite measures aimed at easing the procedure for obtaining land title.

The Commission also noticed a recurrence of water shortages, persistent power failure and adulterated food supply.

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