Statement by the NCHRF Chairperson
16 January, 2017
Following the declarations issued by the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF) on 2 and 28 December 2016 on the current crisis in the North-West and South-West regions and with regard to further investigations,
A total of 67 people were arrested following demonstrations in the North-west and South-west. According to the Governor of the North-west Region, 62 persons were arrested on 8 December, 2016 and the Military Court added that 5 others were arrested on 11 January 2017 and transferred to Yaoundé.
During its field visit on 20, 21, 22 and 23 December, the Commission counted 38 people at SED and 16 at the Judicial Police that is 54 people. If we add the 5 people transferred on 11 January, we have a total of 59 people.
Following the NCHRF intervention, 34 persons, including 4 minors were released and 25 remain in Yaounde as of 13 January 2017, date of our visit to places of detention.
On the basis of these findings, the NCHRF again pleads with the Government Commissioner to the Military Court in Yaounde to speed up judicial proceedings so that innocent persons are released.
The Commission remains concerned about the 8 other persons alleged to have disappeared as the Governor of the North West reported the arrest of 62 people following the violent demonstrations of 8 December 2016. When we add the other 5 people who arrived from Bamenda on 11 January, we have a total of 67 people. Out of these 67 people, 34 were released, 25 are still in custody and 8 are missing.
Finally, the Commission hopes that dialogue between stakeholders on the demands of lawyers associations and teacher unions will continue in a spirit of frank collaboration, understanding and cooperation for an early resumption of school in the North-West and South-West regions.
Done in Yaounde on 16 January, 2017
The NCHRF Chairperson, Dr Chemuta Divine BANDA.