Cameroon protect our rights
Protect our rights – they still count in the fight against terror!
27-year-old student Fomusoh Ivo Feh could face up to 20 years in prison for sending a text to his friends. In the message he joked that getting a good job in Cameroon was so hard, it was easier to get into the armed group Boko Haram. His message was read by a teacher, and Ivo and two of his friends were swiftly arrested and charged with “trying to organise a rebellion against the state.”
Ivo is just one of many whose basic rights are being abused in the context of the war on terror in Cameroon. The recently-passed Anti-Terrorism Law is so broad and vague in its definition of terrorism that it’s effectively opened the way for the authorities to treat anyone as a suspect, with devastating consequences. More than 1,000 people have been accused of supporting Boko Haram, mostly based on very little evidence. Whole villages have been destroyed and hundreds of men and boys have been rounded up, loaded into military trucks, and never seen again.
Conditions in jail for suspects are horrendous - torture, malnutrition, overcrowding and poor sanitation are all rife, and in Maroua prison, up to eight people are dying each month. Those who make it to trial have limited rights in court, raising concerns that a significant number of people – more than 100 - have been sentenced to death in unfair trials.
The fight against Boko Haram is the right cause. But the Cameroonian government is using the wrong means. Join us to call on the authorities to respect human rights while fighting terror.
Cameroonian authorities must:
- Ensure that arrests are made only on the basis of a reasonable suspicion of having committed a crime, and that anyone detained is allowed immediate access to a lawyer and to their family;
- End the practice of holding and interrogating people at unofficial detention sites;
- Establish a centralized register of all persons arrested and detained, and their whereabouts, accessible to family members;
- Improve prison conditions in Maroua;
- Open prompt, impartial and independent investigations into human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and unlawful killings;
- End the use of military courts and the death penalty, and provide a more precise definition of terrorism in accordance with international standards;