Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
Date: 27 October 2020
The population continues to pay a heavy price in the ongoing crisis in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon. Serious human rights violations and abuses continue to be reported, involving both security and defense forces and armed separatist groups amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest vile, merciless attack on a school on Saturday perpetrated by a group of men armed with guns and machetes resulted in the killing of at least six children between the ages of 9 and 12. The attack on Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in Kumba, in the South-West, left another 13 children injured, of whom seven are reportedly in critical condition.
We strongly condemn the attack. The killing and maiming of children as well as attacks on educational facilities constitute serious violations of international law and the perpetrators must be held accountable with due regard for international human rights standards. We remind the authorities of their obligation to protect access to education.
We have also received numerous other reports of serious human rights violations and abuses by separatist groups and security forces. Difficulties in accessing the affected areas makes it very hard to verify the reports, including reports of extrajudicial executions, torture, sexual and gender-based violence and abductions. We have urged the Cameroonian authorities to ensure independent and impartial investigations and prosecution of all serious violations and abuses, including acts of gender-based violence, by State and non-State actors, and to ensure the right to a remedy for victims including by guaranteeing their access to justice and reparations.
We stress the urgent need for an inclusive dialogue to carve out a durable resolution to this crisis.