Press Release: Mindless Killings of Children and Women by The Paul Biya Led Government In Cameroon: An Urgent Need for Action

CRS Child Protection Network

Ministry of Women Affairs
Secretariat, Hope Waddell
Avenue, Calabar, Cross River

October 3, 2018. We watched with dismay the recent BBC African Eye report (see on the ongoing crisis in Southwest Cameroon which clearly corroborates the narrative of some of the refuges we have interacted with in Cross River State, stating the complicity of the government-backed Rapid Response Battalion (BRI) in the burning of villages and killing of unarmed civilian populace – especially children and women – across the South Western region of the country.

As an organization, we are appalled by the very graphic images which capture the traumatizing effects of the ongoing conflict, showing government forces involved in acts which denigrate the person of the victims and are in clear violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations’Convention on the Rights of a Child which obligates states to act “in the best interest of the child” – an obligation which is currently being disregarded by President Paul Biya led government in Southwest Cameroon.

The images of children being shot at as they flee their burning villages are distressing, unconscionable and highly reprehensible. We are still in shock that a government will carry out such an appalling act against vulnerable groups.

We are greatly concerned about how quickly the situation has deteriorated in the last months and how the ongoing conflict affects children and women who are caught up in the crisis. We are startled by the lack of response to the quickly evolving refugee situation – with over 20,000 displaced persons having allegedly crossed into neighbouring Nigerian communities.

We are concerned that vulnerable groups (women and children) are being targeted and are the primary victims of the ongoing conflict.

We call on the International community to as a matter of urgency make concerted efforts to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the well-being of children and women who are unfortunately caught up in the crisis.

We condemn in strong terms the violence and abuses on both sides of the conflict and call for a cessation to the violence, especially against women and children. We call on the government of Cameroon to as a matter of urgency demonstrate to the entire world that it has gone beyond the mere rhetoric of taking action, by publicly bringing to book all members of her security forces who are involved in these atrocities.

We demand urgent action from the Nigerian Government, first to address the evolving refugee situation by providing urgently needed relief materials and safe quarters for the displaced individuals and families fleeing the conflict. We also call on the Nigerian government to exert pressure on her counterpart in Cameroon to put an end to the conflict and to sanction members of the security forces who have been found complicit in the ongoing atrocities.

We call on the African Union and the United Nations to immediately use their considerable influence to compel the Cameroonian government to discontinue this attack on innocent children and women, and to ensure that members of the security forces who are complicit in the attacks are made to face the law and the consequences of their actions.

James Ibor,
Child Protection Network, Cross River State,
Principal Counsel
Basic Right Counsel Initiative (BRCI)

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