Updated: February 27, 2021
At least one thousand people, mostly civilians, have died since Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis started in 2016, a statement by the United Kingdom’s mission to the United Nations estimated on Thursday.
The statement, submitted to UN and published on the website of the UK government on Thursday March 21, described the situation as worsening.
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“The humanitarian impact is worsening, and has led to over 1,000, mostly civilian, deaths, since September 2016. It has displaced 437,000 people from their homes and forced over 32,000 to seek refuge in neighboring countries. We call on all sides to ensure safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access to the affected population,” it said.
Highlighting dialogue as a way out of the current deadlock, the UK government in its statement said to have been delivered with backing from 38 countries, called on the government of Cameroon to investigate human rights abuses.
“We are deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon, marked by human rights abuses and violations and high levels of violence including a recent attack on a hospital. There are concerning reports of armed separatists committing kidnaps for ransom, killing non-collaborators, burning schools and committing acts of sexual violence. There are concerning reports of security forces burning villages, shooting unarmed civilians and committing acts of sexual violence.”
“Taking note of Cameroon’s previous positive engagement with the UN, regional and multilateral organizations, and as a member of the Human Rights Council, we urge Cameroon to work alongside the international community, including with regional partners, to ensure prompt and thorough investigation of all violations and abuses.”
The government of UK reaffirmed their commitment to assist Cameroon in investigating human rights abuses and help in coordinated offers of international technical assistance and cooperation. They also requested to be granted permission to conduct an assessment mission in the North-West and South-West regions, and engaging with any future regional led initiatives to find a path towards peace and reconciliation.
“We remain committed to dialogue and look forward to bilateral, regional and international cooperation in this regard…we encourage the Government to accept offers of assistance from regional and international partners to prevent further erosion of the human rights of those living in the North-West and South-West of Cameroon, resulting from the conflict between armed separatists and the Government of Cameroon.”