Bamenda: Human Rights Commission Investigates Abuses

The Chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms Dr Chemuta Divine Banda encouraged dialogue towards resumption of education and judicial activities.

Allegations of human rights violations perpetrated during the current crisis rocking the North West and South West Regions was the subject of an investigation that took a mission of the National Chairman on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF) to Bamenda on February 1-4, 2017. On-the-spot they went visiting the burnt 3rd Police District, visited some neighbourhoods that were the subject of arrest. They also went finding out suspects detained at the National Gendarmerie and Public Security Station in Bamenda.

Summing up, the subject of their mission, leader and chairperson of the NCHRF, Dr  Banda said the commission was as a neutral referee, on the field to gather honest opinions to produce a credible report that could help matters by giving peace a chance towards the resumption of educational and judicial activities in the North West and South West regions because the crisis is compromising the development of the region and their inhabitants. It was against this backdrop that Dr Chemuta Divine Banda challenged stakeholders that the commission members met to speak out and help the process to move forward. The mission featured audiences with a cross-section of the population. Among the lot were administrative, traditional and religious authorities, civil society organizations, political leaders, businessmen, striking trade union leaders etc. Prominent among concerns raised by inhabitants of metropolitan Bamenda featured arbitrary arrest, harassments and intimidation by the forces of law and order, marginalization of Anglophones in the public sphere and efforts to gag Anglophones to express their concerns or opinions with the blackout on the internet.

It was also about the way forward with suggestions that the government should review actions and get back on the dialogue table to help end the teacher’s trade unions and lawyers strike actions. Others want the government to act on dialogue points agreed between teacher trade unions and the Ad hoc Inter ministerial Committee created to examine the concerns of teachers.

He said the commission has called for restrain, dialogue and investigation and said the problem was later compounded by the coming together of leaders of syndicates, the re-surfacing of the SCNC and ghost towns.

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