Lawyers, Teachers Concerns: Human Rights Commission Encourages Dialogue
The Commission’s chairperson gave a press briefing in Yaounde on December 28, 2016, on the situation of detained suspects brought from Bamenda and Kumba.
The Chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms, Dr Chemuta Divine Banda says the commission, «appreciates and encourages the on-going efforts at dialogue concerning the Anglophone sub system of education and common law legal practice which we hope will be productive with each side demonstrating a high sense of understanding and cooperation. This will ensure a normal resumption of school and judicial activities in the North West and South West Regions.”
He was speaking at the Commission’s head office in Yaounde on December 28, 2016 during a press briefing he granted on allegations of human rights violations in the North West and South West Regions. He said after discussions on December 20, 2016 with the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie, Jean Baptiste Bokam and visit to detention cells, the commission members found out that, “34 persons from Bamenda (including 1 juvenile) and four others arrested in Kumba were found in the cells of the SCRJ at Secretariat of State for Defence in charge of the National Gendarmerie (SED); of these, 9 were taken to hospital for various forms of treatment; 16 persons (including 3 juveniles) were found at the Military Tribunal in Yaounde while being transferred from the police.”
He said the 38 detainees at the Secretariat of State for Defence in charge of the Gendarmerie were tidy, testified they were well treated (2 meals per day and 2 compulsory baths; they were dressed and wore shoes. Some had been visited by family members and others had not contacted their families since their arrests.” However, he said, “the 16 detained at the Police appeared untidy. They received 2 meals per day but had just had a single bath since their arrest (14 days). They were bare-feeted on arrival at the Military Tribunal and had not been in contact with their families.”
The commission set out for the inquiry following allegations that 62 persons of which 58 were arrested in Bamenda during the violent protests of December 8, 2016 and four others in Kumba had disappeared. He disclosed that 13 persons including three minors were liberated on December 24, 2016 and hoped that more will be liberated including those arrested on December 6-7, 2016 who did not take part in the December 8, 2016 manifestations in Bamenda. Dr Banda said the commission was still pre-occupied with eight persons still missing and for which it has had no information.