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Honourable Chairperson,

For almost three years now, the North West and South West Anglophone Regions of Cameroon have been experiencing serious and massive human rights violations occasioned by their own government and separatist groups.

According to the Cameroon based, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, there are reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed since the beginning of the crisis in October 2016. More than 200 villages have been partly or completely destroyed, forcing thousands to flee. Between 450,000 and 550,000 people have been displaced as a result of the crisis, representing about 10 percent of the regions’ population; more than 2,000 people have been killed and about 1.3 million people need humanitarian assistance. An additional 30,000 to 35,000 people have sought asylum in neighboring countries, notably Nigeria.

There is evidence that much of the violence in the Anglophone regions is intentional and planned, including retaliatory attacks on villages by government security forces, often followed by indiscriminate civilian killings.

While we welcome the recent steps taken by the government through the organization of the Grand National Dialogue and the subsequent release of some political prisoners, we believe that these measures still fall far short of a sustainable solution to the crisis.

We remain very concerned that the government has not taken any serious steps to genuinely investigate and prosecute all persons responsible for the violations occasioned during this crisis;

We urge the government of Cameroon to continue seeking a negotiated and sustainable solution to the crisis through genuine and meaningful dialogue with all the relevant stakeholders including the innocent civilians who have been gravely affected by this crisis;

We call on the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to undertake a human rights monitoring visit to Cameroon, refer the situation in the country to the AU Peace and Security Council and adopt a resolution condemning the human rights violations in Cameroon and urging the government to abide by its obligations under the African Charter on human and peoples’ rights.