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Group Condemns Travel Restriction Imposed by Cameroonian Government 



By Eric Ojo, Abuja

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) has strongly condemned the Cameroonian government over its decision to introduce travel permits requirement and restrictions in the Anglophones regions of the country.

The CHRDA, the leading human rights organization working to realize human rights in Cameroon, said the introduction of the travel restriction policy by the administration of President Paul Biya through its Regional Delegate of Transport in the Northwest Region, portends grave implications for the country.

The group noted that the action will not only harm the future prospects of individuals and peace, but also diminishes the people’s reputation and performance as an outward-looking community.

This policy, according to the Centre, amounts to nothing less than a xenophobic and counterproductive action by the government, adding that  it should be repealed immediately.

“This tragic decision by the government violates the best traditions of Cameroon’s constitution as well as in direct contravention of international humanitarian and human rights laws.

“We implore President Paul Biya, and those around him, to consider the ramifications of the travel restrictions on Anglophones”, the group said in a statement made available to African Examiner.

The Centre further noted that in a time when the country is faced with its worst crisis since independence many citizens and law enforcement personal losing their life’s, Cameroonians are looking to their government for many things including leadership, all-inclusive dialogue, guaranteeing their rights and ending the violence.

“In the midst of an escalating war in the country, this is a significant setback for those who are obviously in need of protection and those who are finding peaceful solution to the crisis”, the statement added.

The group further observed that the policy does not make Anglophone and Francophones safe, rather, it makes them less safe by breeding negative sentiments around the country, stifling opportunities, escalating violence and interfering with cross-cultural relationship building.

The statement also pointed out that policy is making it more difficult to provide assistance and protection to those who need it most especially the refugees in Nigeria and Internally Displace Persons (IDPs) who the CHRDA tries to assist on a daily basis.

It further noted that the Cameroon government must live up to its international obligations and provide protection for those fleeing persecution and conflicts in the Anglophone region and not restrict travel.

“We call on all Anglophones and Francophones in Cameroon and the international community to join us in speaking out against this hateful policy, which sends an official message of intolerance, undermines the Cameroonian people, and threatens the lives of thousands of people who desperately and urgently need sanctuary in our country—while doing nothing to bring peace to the Anglophone region”, the group stated.

 

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