The Cameroon Association of English-speaking Journalists CAMASEJ, is outraged by the use of force against unarmed lawyers protesting peacefully in the country.
For some time now, the Cameroon common Law lawyers association has been staging peaceful marches in Bamenda, Limbe, Muyuka and Buea to protest against the government`s lackluster attitude to look into their grievances triggered by the nonavailability of the English version of the OHADA Law.
The well renowned Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights, in a publication “Facilitating Peaceful Protests” revealed that “everyone must be able to express their grievances or aspirations in a peaceful manner, including through public protests without fear of reprisals or of being intimidated, harassed, injured, sexually assaulted, beaten, arbitrarily arrested and detained, tortured, killed or subjected to enforced disappearance’. Specifically, the ‘right’ to protest depends on and exercises several rights that are at the heart of a democratic society, including to freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom of association.
The Cameroon Common Law Lawyers are therefore no exceptions to that. Unfortunately, they have met with stiff opposition from the country`s law enforcement officers who are using every available means, including beatings and other forms of intimidation to stop them from making their voices heard and worries known.
As journalists, we do not condone this kind of lawlessness from those who are called upon to maintain peace and order in the country and the perpetrators should not be allowed to evade justice.
We are calling on the various stakeholders; the government, security officials and the lawyers to respect each others’ rights. We appeal to authorities to carry out prompt and reliable investigations and prosecute perpetrators of these abuses. These barbaric methods against citizens must not be allowed to prosper and must stop forthwith.
At a time when President Paul Biya’s is touting personal freedoms as one of his achievements, these armed tactics only go to negate those achievements and rewind the hands of the clock.
The national President