UN Human Rights Commission Report: Government Decries Subjective Position
Below is q statement by the Government Spokesperson and Minister of Communication at a press briefing yesterday 14 October 2020 in Yaounde.
“The Press Release issued on October 12, 2020, by the Special Expert-Rapporteurs and by the Working Groups on Arbitrary Detention and Enforced or Voluntary Disappearances, of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, relating to the legal proceedings regularly initiated against certain officials and supporters of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM), is a one- sided, subjective and distorted position.
The untruths widely relayed and amplified by the aforementioned Experts, through certain international media, like RFI, and this, either by a mere misunderstanding of the veracity of facts, or just simple exploitation of the flow of false information, speculations, and other false allegations distilled by supporters of the MRC, call for unequivocal clarification.
First, the charges that motivated the arrest of certain officials and supporters, as well as their pre-trial detention, are clear and comply with Cameroonian laws and regulations, as well as with international conventions to which our country has freely subscribed.
In any way, and contrary to the same allegations, the fellow citizens arrested were not subjected to any inhumane degrading treatment whatsoever.
In addition, it is definitely necessary to clarify national and international opinion on the fact that the march planned by Mr. Maurice Kamto and his accomplices, on September 22, 2020, was in no way a "peaceful march", when judging by the statement made on August 24, 2020, by Mr. Kamto, in his capacity as President of the political party called, "Cameroon Renaissance Movement", the CRM, vehemently addressed a formal notice to State authorities while calling on his supporters to carry out clear insurrectionary activities, in these terms, and I quote:
"I am announcing that any convening of the electoral college by the illegal and illegitimate government of Yaoundé, before the taking into account and effective implementation of the two requirements recalled above, will AUTOMATICALLY lead to the launch of a gigantic national campaign “TO CALL FOR THE OUTRIGHT DEPARTURE OF Mr. PAUL BIYA FROM POWER, without there being any need to wait for a new communication in this regard”. End of quote.
Likewise, in an audio post and a video broadcast on social media, the spokesperson of Mr. KAMTO, Mr. BIBOU NISSACK, solemnly announced "the organization of popular marches by the CRM, on September 22, 2020, throughout the national territory and abroad, captioned: ''CAMEROON REVOLUTION/PAUL BIYA MUST GO”.
In addition, despite the warnings from administrative authorities and the kinetic forces of the Nation, and in defiance of condemnations from the entire national community, particularly with regard to the illegal nature of the said demonstrations, which were unauthorized by virtue of their insurrectionary nature, because they aimed at overthrowing the institutions of the Republic, including the Highest Authority of the State, the leader of the CRM and his cronies took it upon themselves to defy the laws and regulations of the Republic, by violating the ban on public demonstrations formally issued by the competent administrative authorities.?Faced with such threats to public order, it was naturally incumbent on the public authorities to take the necessary measures to handle the situation. That is exactly what was done. As you are all aware, the respect for laws and regulations is the foundation of any organized democratic society.
Furthermore, with regard to the number of people arrested, and contrary to the figures published here and there, or voluntarily increased by CRM supporters and their sympathizers, and unfortunately taken as they stand and amplified by the experts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Government of the Republic wishes to indicate that during the events of 22 September 2020, a total of 294 CRM supporters were arrested, broken down as follows:
- 46 people in the Centre Region; ?
- 63 people in the West Region; ?
- 185 people in the Littoral Region.
As initially indicated by the Government, the legal proceedings immediately initiated made it possible to establish the responsibilities of each party.
Thus, out of the 294 arrests carried out on 22 September 2020, to date:
- 176 people have been released. While:
- 09 people, who, after hearings and cross- investigations, have been formally identified as leaders, planners or organizers of the insurrectionary demonstrations, are now before the courts. Their files have been forwarded to the Government Commissioner at the Yaounde Military Court.
The same is true of CRM supporters under legal proceedings in the Littoral and West Regions, a total of:
- 109 persons referred to the Public Government Commissioner’s Office at the Military Courts of Douala and Bafoussam.
Finally, I would like to reaffirm here that Cameroon is a Rule of Law where public meetings and demonstrations are governed by laws under which the marches scheduled for September 22, 2020 by the CRM were banned on the grounds that they had nothing “peaceful” and that they were likely to seriously disturb public order.
The experts of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, whose outpouring of solidarity towards a colleague in escheat can be understood, must change their mind, because it clearly appears that they have been misled as to the veracity of facts.
In any case, I would like to say it clear that neither the Government of the Republic, nor the Cameroonian people in its great majority, would not want to indefinitely remain accustomed to the actions of an ill-advised political leader and his party in perdition, opting to voluntarily sidelined the political field and game, due to false calculations as well as senseless and risky decisions.
Moreover, no one is above the law and all citizens must be held accountable for their actions before the law.
By any standard, a political party can set conditions for its participation in an election, but not conditions for the organization of that election.
With regard mainly to the reasons cited to justify the marches of the CRM, it should be noted first, that the Electoral Code in force made it possible for the organization of several previous polls in which all the political parties took part, including the CRM, and that, secondly, the situation in the North-West and South-West Regions is experiencing a real positive evolution and that everything is being done by the Government, under the Very High Impulse of THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC, HIS EXCELLENCY PAUL BIYA, to achieve a lasting return to peace and normalcy in these two regions./.”
Minsister Rene Emmanuel Sadi; “I would like to reaffirm here that Cameroon is a Rule of Law where public meetings and demonstrations are governed by laws.”
The Minister of Communication,
(S) René Emmanuel SADI
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