Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon express the joint concern with the renewed protests in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. On Friday 22 September, we observed massive demonstrations in towns and villages of the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon. As always, we support the right of everyone to freely protest injustice, marginalization or abuse. We note that the recent protests were relatively peaceful in most places especially those in villages. Majority of the protesters were seen carrying tree branches as a symbol of peace and non-violence. We salute the protesters who conducted themselves peacefully, and those calling for non-violence and helping to control the crowds. We equally salute the efforts of some security forces who were restrained and conducted themselves professionally.
We however regret the violence that marred the protests in certain towns and cities, and the use of tear gas and live ammunition leading to the death of protesters in Buea, Santa and Mamfe. We condemn the use of lethal force to control the protests and call on the government to apply better crowd controlling methods. There is no legitimate role for firearms in the policing of peaceful protests. We urge the government to respect and guarantee the right to life for every Cameroonian and to do more to end the frequent use of deadly force during protests. We equally condemn the use of violence by protesters, the destruction of public and private property, and the interference with the rights and freedoms of others. We caution that attacks on private persons could lead to reprisal attacks and fuel the conflict even more.
Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon condemn any restriction of freedom of movement in any form, as was the case in the Northwest region where movement of persons between Divisions was banned on the day of the protest. We consider such actions as not only an infringement upon peoples’ fundamental right to free movement, but also as counter-productive, as it could fuel the conflict even further. We therefore call on all sides to be circumspect in order to maintain peace.