SERAP Wants Cameroon Suspended From AU For Alleged Torture Of 47 Political Activists

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project(SERAP) has written an open letter to the African Union(AU) to suspend Cameroon’s membership rights of the organization.

The letter addressed to AU Chairperson and President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, requested an urgent extraordinary session for the Assembly to put pressure on the Cameroon government to end the torture of the 47 Political activists and others arrested as a result of the Anglophone crisis.

SERAP asked the AU to “maintain targeted travel sanctions and asset freezes against the authorities untill they meet specific human rights and good governance benchmarks”.

The letter also cautioned the AU, noting that “despite the massive violations of citizen’s human rights and the continued absence of accountability in Cameroon, the AU has largely remained on the sidelines. Failure to act in the face of the gross and systematic violations by the authorities would seriously undermine the credibility of the AU and the legitimacy of it’s constitutive act, including it’s commitment to fight impunity as expressed in articles 4(h) and (o) of the Act”.

Part of the letter also read:

“SERAP urges the AU to intervene effectively to end Cameroon’s long-standing human rights and humanitarian crisis. Only strong and concerted pressure on the government can end the country’s human rights and humanitarian emergency. The government’s longstanding assault on political freedoms and human rights lies at the heart of Cameroon’s political crisis. Enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions and torture of political detainees have continued for many years, as the authorities routinely arrest and harass political activists, and violently break up peaceful protests.” “According to our information, 47 refugees and asylum seekers, mostly leaders of the people of Southern Cameroon and who were recently forcibly returned to Cameroon have continued to face torture, ill-treatment, politically motivated trial and other human rights abuses by the government. The AU should publicly condemn ongoing torture and ill-treatment of the 47 political activists facing persecution and abuses by authorities and call for their immediate and unconditional release. The situation in Cameroon is characterized by widespread and massive violations of human rights and humanitarian law with growing numbers of victims lacking access to an effective remedy. The authorities continue to use state institutions such as the police and the justice system as a weapon against political activists, opposition leaders, civil society activists, and human rights defenders. Arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and unlawful detentions, as well as reports of torture and abuse by the Cameroon authorities violate Cameroon’s regional and international human rights obligations and commitments including under the AU Constitutive Act and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”

In all, SERAP wants the AU to hold an Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly to suspend the government of Cameroon from the organization if within a specific time frame she (Cameroon government) does not release the 47 political activists and put an end to enforced disappearances and torture to meet specific human rights principles set by the AU.

The letter dated 9 March 2018 is signed by SERAP deputy director, Timothy Adewale and brings a wake-up call both to the Cameroon government and the African Union.

Africans wait to see a reaction to this letter from both ends especially with the urge to give full accountability for the perpetrators of human rights abuses as stated in the letter. ————————————-



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