UN rights chief urges end to Cameroon crises

The UN has warned Cameroon’s government it needs to act fast if it is to deal with a crisis of violence in various parts of the country, calling violations by security forces “unlawful” and “counter-productive”.

It “plays into the hands of the extremist groups, by feeding local resentment and aiding recruitment,” Michelle Bachelet said at the end of her four-day visit.

During that time, the UN Human Rights High Commissioner held talks with President Paul Biya, government officials, political parties and civil society leaders over the Anglophone crisis.

Also of concern were the Islamist insurgency in the Far North region, and the violence that has spilled over Cameroon’s borders from Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic.

Ms Bachelet said the lack of access for international and humanitarian agencies to crisis regions was a concern. She also appealed for an end to civilians being tried in military courts, and urged the authorities to re-think their approach to dissenting politicians.

“I believe there is a clear – if possibly short – window of opportunity to arrest the crises that have led to hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people, as well as the killings and brutal human rights violations and abuses,” Ms Bachelet said in a statement.

It comes a day after Human Rights Watch accused the Cameroonian government of using .

The government has yet to formally respond to allegations, but on Tuesday morning President Biya addressed Cameroonians in a tweet stressing the need to forgive and forget and “work towards a common goal”:

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