The United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Denis Balibouse, has warned that Cameroon risks sliding further into violence if the government does not take necessary steps to put an end to hate speech by politicians and the “heavy-handed” tactics by security forces.
In a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, Balibouse said “it is essential that steps be taken now to de-escalate the increasing crisis in the country and prevent a further descent into violence”.
Urging Cameroon security forces to implement approaches adopted by other states in the sahel region to protect civilians during counter-terrorism operations, the U.N. scribe according to Reuters, called on the government of Paul Biya to “adopt a similar approach.
Last month, a U.N. rights committee reported that “the heavy-handed approach of the security forces to the crisis … including the destruction of medical facilities, schools, essential infrastructure and entire villages” further fuels unrest in the country.
She said: “I am also concerned by alarming instances of hate speech, including by political leaders, as well as serious restrictions on the political space, with prosecutions in a military court of a number of members of opposition parties.”
Her report comes barely hours after the European Union High representative, Federica Mogherini, cautioned that the “arrest and prolonged detention of opposition party, leader Maurice Kamto, and a large number of protesters and supporters, as well as the opening of disproportionate proceedings” further increases the political malaise in Cameroon.”
The United States, European Union, United Nation, and the African Union among other international humanitarian organizations have all called on the government of Cameroon to take necessary steps to address the social unrest that threatens the unity of the country.