Cameroon authorities must end the use of force against the political opposition, say Members of the European Parliament in a resolution adopted on April 17 in Strasbourg plenary.
As this year, Cameroon’s security forces violently supressed opposition protests and arrested around 200 opposition supporters, including political leader Maurice Kamto,
MEPs condemn the use of such force, call for an independent and transparent investigation into the conduct of the police and security forces against protesters and the immediate release of all detainees held on politically motivated charges. They also want the country’s government to confirm that it will not seek the death penalty for political activists and protesters, while recalling that such punishment has not been used in Cameroon since 1997.
Parliament also urges the government in Cameroon to initiate a consensual review of the country’s electoral system, with the aim of ensuring a free, transparent and credible electoral process. Cameroon’s current President Paul Biya has been in power since 1982, which makes him one of the longest ruling presidents in the world. Since the last presidential elections in 2018 were marked by suspicions of fraud and the reporting of irregularities, MEPs insist that a review of the electoral system takes place before any further elections are held, in order to promote peace and avoid post-electoral crisis
“Following the announcement of the results of the presidential election in Cameroon by the Constitutional Council, the European Union expects the President-elect to bring together all stakeholders to overcome the challenges facing the country, to the benefit of all Cameroonians” says the European External Actions Service statement on the presidential elections in Cameroon.
“While elections were generally held in a peaceful manner, some parts of the population were unable to take part in the vote. The EU reiterates its concern about the situation in the North-West and South-West regions of the country. It is crucial that the authorities are open to the proposals of civil society and religious authorities for a peaceful and lasting resolution of the crisis, and that a process of dialogue be launched as soon as possible with all actors in favour of peace.”
“The preliminary statement of the African Union Election Observation Mission recommends strengthening the legal and institutional framework for elections in Cameroon, which could increase voter confidence in the electoral process and make it more inclusive. Such reforms are crucial and the EU stands ready to accompany such a process. The EU takes note that all appeals lodged by the opposition candidates have been rejected”.
“The European Union, as a major partner of Cameroon, will continue to work for the development and stability of the country for the benefit of all Cameroonians.”
Cameroon’s Constitutional Council rejected the last of 18 petitions demanding for a re-run of an October 7 election that the opposition said was marred by fraud, leading to the expected result to extend President Paul Biya (85) uninterrupted rule to four decades.
President Biya is currently the longest ruling elected leader of Africa, and the oldest ruler in Sub-Saharan Africa, ascending power 36 years ago.
Under Biya rule Cameroon became an absolute ‘champion’ of Human rights violations:
Already this year hundreds of civilians have been killed in a violent conflict between the Cameroonian military and in separatists. Ongoing clashes between insurgents fighting for a breakaway republic in Cameroon’s English-speaking region and troops took away lives of many, but also caused a displacement tens of thousands more since the conflict intensified late last year. In return for military violence insurgents have abducted and killed soldiers and policemen in guerrilla raids.