Allegra Baiocchi, The Humanitarian Coordinator alongside UNHCR and UNICEF Representatives stationed in Cameroun, together with the Director of Civil Protection at the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization was on a fact-finding mission to the Northern and Southern zones between the 7-9 of February 2017.
Following reports of dire humanitarian assistance within the civilian populace, as a result of the ongoing crisis affecting both zones of the Southern Cameroons, the mission was dispatched to the field to take stock and report back, especially on the prospect of the thousands who’ve fled to next-door Nigeria.
While visiting Bamenda and Mamfe, the UN-led entourage met with the civil society, religious, traditional leaders, the military personnel stationed in those places. They also met with some non-governmental organizations with operations around the area, exchanged notes and viewpoints concerning the humanitarian concerns and possible solution to bring aid/assistance to the needy population.
The UN has reported more than 14,000 people registered as asylum-seekers in neighbouring Nigeria. Not counting the several thousands of internally displaced persons who’ve fled their homes following the brutal crackdown of La Republique forces and counterattacks of pro-Independence fighters. Kouassi Etien, a UNHCR Representative accompanying the delegation said ”Favourable conditions must be put in place to ensure that all return is voluntary, durable and takes place in the fullest respect of the dignity and security of population”. Another member of the UNICEF delegation JacquesBoyer, showed concern for the vulnerable and younger ones bu weighing in that ”Children must be protected from all forms of violence and be allowed to enjoy their fundamental rights, including their right to education”.
In condemnation of all acts of violence and stressing the need for civilian lives to be protected, the Humanitarian Coordinator said ” Open and transparent communication is the key to building confidence between populations and the authorities. Lasting solutions can only be found through dialogue”.
Reassuring the willingness and strong humanitarian commitment by the international community through the UN organs, Ms. Baiocchi showed her gratitude and appreciation for the efforts in bringing assistance to those in need and the in finding a way forward to return to normalcy.
BaretaNews Foreign Correspondent/Analyst