27 June 2008

Cameroon: Govt Snubs UN Human Rights Commission

The government of Cameroon has scorned the ruling of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, calling on it to pay compensation to a torture victim, Philip Afuson Njaru.

The UN Committee found Cameroon guilty of violating the rights of Njaru, journalist cum human rights activist. The Committee ruled that the uniform officers who perpetrated the torture be punished and Njaru be compensated.

The UN Committee's judgment regretted that the State of Cameroon refused to fully cooperate with it during the hearing of the case. According to the UN Committee's judgment, the State of Cameroon is under an obligation to take effective measures to ensure that criminal proceedings are initiated seeking prompt prosecution and conviction of the persons responsible for Njaru's arrest and ill treatment.

It also compels government to make sure that Philip Njaru is protected from threats or intimidation from members of the security forces.But one year after that ruling, the government is yet to hearken to its provisions.

Njaru says the gendarmerie and police officers have continued to harass him.Njaru recently submitted a complaint to the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms that has also petitioned the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals, asking him to take necessary actions

The victim also wrote complaints to the Presidency and the Minister of External Relations about the non-payment of his damages. Government has not only flouted the UN Committee's provision that the judgment should be hearkened to in 90 days but also seems to be fully determined to ignore the matter.

Nonetheless, in April 2007, government sent a commission to the Southwest Province to investigate the case, but none of the perpetrators of the acts of violence on. Njaru, has been dragged to court as stipulated by article 8 of the UN Committee.

Njaru has thus threatened to take legal action against the State.It should be recalled that the victim was arrested without a warrant and tortured by the police in 1997 in Ekondo-Titi. The police accused him of writing critical articles that accused the police of being corrupt.

The police assaulted him, leaving him with wounds all over his body. He sought medical attention and filed a case against the government. The case went on for 10 years

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