The US State Department has issued a call for restraint amid concerns over human rights abuses as Cameroon security forces crack down on violent protests that have rocked the Anglophone cities in recent weeks.
John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affair, has issued the following statement:
“The United States is deeply concerned by the loss of life, injuries and damage as a result of protests that turned violent in Bamenda and Buea, the respective capitals of Cameroon’s Northwestern and Southwestern regions. We call on all parties to exercise restraint, refrain from further violence, and engage in dialogue for a peaceful resolution to the current protests.
“The United States urges the Government of Cameroon to protect and defend human rights and fundamental freedoms, ensure that all voices are heard and respected, and preserve the guarantees enshrined in its constitution and international obligations. Apart from the events in Bamenda and Buea, we are also concerned over recent Cameroonian government actions to restrict free expression and peaceful assembly, including ten-year prison sentences for men who exchanged texts referencing Boko Haram and the arrest of 54 members of the opposition Cameroon People’s Party while they were peacefully conducting a party meeting.
“The constitution of Cameroon guarantees freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and we believe that non-threatening rhetoric and activities – especially private conversations and gatherings – warrant neither prosecution nor government censure.”