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Cameroon: Human Rights

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 13th March 2020.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Cameroon; and whether he has made representations to his Cameroonian counterpart on reports of the killing of civilians in Ngarbuh village on 14 February 2020.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The British Government remains deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon. These regions suffer from high levels of violence, which have driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes. We have consistently called for an end to the violence, and for investigations into all reports of human rights violations. On 19 February, I issued a statement about the appalling attacks on 14 February in Ngarbuh and called for an urgent and transparent investigation so that the perpetrators can be held accountable.

We welcomed the passing of legislation concerning bilingualism and special status for the North-West and South-West regions in December 2019. This was a welcome initial step forward. Commitments and legislation now need to be implemented in a timely manner to support genuine decentralisation of power and to tackle the root causes of the conflict. We continue to shine a spotlight on the crisis and raise our concerns on human rights at the highest levels, including with the Government of Cameroon, in multinational fora and with international partners. At the UN Security Council on 12 February, the UK highlighted the significant impact of the crisis on children. At the UN Human Rights Council on 27 February, the UK raised concerns about the protection of civilians in Cameroon.

The UK continues to support all credible peacebuilding initiatives and urges the Government of Cameroon to engage with all international partners, to bring peace and stability to the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions.

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