RtoP Weekly: 26 October – 1 November 2018


This week in focus: Concerns in Post-Election Cameroon

Human rights violations and other indicators of atrocities continue to persist in Cameroon following the announcement of President Biya’s reelection. Over the past several months, complaints of state and societal discrimination against the English-speaking population has grown, as has violence against them, particularly in the Anglophone regions of the country. The presidential election was of particular concern, as state forces began to clamp down on political dissidents and members of the Anglophone community leading up to Election Day.

Since the election, that concern has not abated. Opposition groups tried, and failed, to petition electoral results on the basis of voter suppression and ballot manipulation. This past week, Cameroonians who fled prior to the election returned to find their homes and villages razed by government forces instructed to target separatist strongholds.

The government also issued a statement in which they cautioned that attempts to “disrupt public order will be handled with all firmness.” Such firmness, manifested itself in reported arrests and beatings of singing protesters, who have taken to schools and churches in order to find safe spaces of dissent. The Cameroonian government stated that the election was conducted according to international standards, and encouraged its people to refrain from “giving ear” to dissidents and their calls to “destabilize” the country.

With protests likely to continue, as well as Biya’s intent to continue his tenure, the situation in Cameroon remains of concern. The ICRtoP continues to monitor the developments on the ground and engage with members of our coalition, international actors, and other stakeholders with the aims of preventing an atrocity situation.

What to Watch:

Burma: Bangladesh, Myanmar to Start Returning Rohingya in November (Al Jazeera)
Last Tuesday, Burma and Bangladesh agreed to start the repatriation of Rohingya refugees in mid-November after developing a “concrete plan.” Many, however, fear that the Burmese government will not guarantee minimum rights to the returnees, including “citizenship, access to healthcare, and freedom of movement.” The United Nations continues to warn about the “ongoing genocide,” and urges the return of refugees to be “voluntary, and conducted with dignity and security.”

Burundi: Burundi Talks Leave Many Questions (The Citizen)
The inter-Burundi dialogs scheduled to take place in Arusha, Tanzania this past week encountered an obstacle when government officials to decide to boycott the discussions. The government delegation failed to appear on the basis of the mediating body not ensuring or meeting their demands that the failed 2015 coup and its actors not be on the agenda or represented in the talks. Opposition groups, however, viewed the discussions positively, though Former Tanzanian President and Moderator, Benjamin Mkapa, stressed that government participation was needed to end the crisis. The goal of the dialogs was to establish a pathway to free and fair elections in 2020.

Liberia: Liberians against Amnesty for War, New Survey on Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Shows (Front Page Africa)
A new study on social cohesion and reconciliation shows that most Liberians are opposed to giving amnesty to perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity, with 69% believing that it would be “unfair to the victims of the civil war.” This adds to the mounting pressure for the government to address reconciliation, ensure truth, and provide compensations. Moreover, the survey offers a new push for the Liberian government to implement the TRC (Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission) recommendations, which included the establishment of a war crimes court, and have not been considered a priority for the government so far.

But Also Don’t Miss:

DRC: DR Congo opposition parties agree to name unity candidate by mid-November
Opposition parties in the DRC agreed to select a single candidate with the hope of strengthening their chances for victory in December’s election.

DRC: Hundreds of thousands of Congolese forced to flee Angola in need of aid
Oxfam warned of the growing humanitarian crisis due to continued expulsions from Angola, saying that returnees reported suffering for multiple forms of abuse and risk malnutrition and disease.

Gaza/West Bank: Palestine demands ICC investigate occupation’s killing of three children The Palestine Liberation Organization appealed to the International Criminal Court to conduct an investigation of the killing of three children on the border of the Gaza Strip, calling the Israeli attacks “intentional and deliberate.”

Nigeria: Clashes in Nigeria Between Security Forces and Shia Protesters
Clashes between security forces and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) erupted in the capital amidst allegations by rights groups that Nigeria’s military has murdered over 300 IMN members, burying them in mass graves.

Syria: Syrian Government’s ‘different understanding’ of UN role, a ‘very serious challenge’ – Special Envoy 
Staffan de Mistura, UN’s Special Envoy for Syria, stated in a UN Security Council briefing that different understandings of the UN’s role pose a “serious challenge” to the peace process in Syria.

Syria: Syria – Jordan: relief convoy fails to reach “desperate” border camp 
A relief convoy with aid supplies for the 45,000 Syrians trapped on the Jordanian border failed to reach the Rukban refugee camp; according to activists the blockade is orchestrated by the Syrian government.

Yemen: US defence chief demands Yemen ceasefire; peace talks in 30 days
The United States Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, asked for a ceasefire in Yemen following the Saudi-led coalition’s deployment of more than 10,000 new troops toward Hodeidah.

Yemen: Yemen death toll five times higher than previous estimate, researchers say 
New data shows that the number of combatant and civilian casualties as the result of armed violence in Yemen is five times higher than previously estimated.


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