Cameroonian authorities have allegedly tortured civilians at a facility housing protesters demonstrating against alleged marginalization by the government. Victims are from the English-speaking regions of the Central African country.
Human rights groups bemoaned that security forces at the State Defense Secretariat had severely beaten and used near-drowning to extract confessions from detainees suspected of ties to armed separatist groups.
“Over the past year the security forces in Cameroon have used torture without fear of repercussion,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“The United Nations’ Security Council should send a clear message that ending torture in detention is critical to addressing the crisis in the Anglophone regions.” HRW has documented 26 cases of illegal detention and enforced disappearances between 2018 and 2019.
The violations include 14 cases of torture. It is believed the total numbers are likely much higher, because abuses are committed in secret and many former detainees are reluctant to speak citing fear of reprisals.
Cameroon is enduring protests by English-speaking communities that allege marginalization by the government dominated by French speakers. Nearly 1 000 people have been arrested since late 2016.
Torture has long been prevalent in Cameroon’s law enforcement and military system, especially against people suspected of being members of or supporting the armed group Boko Haram or armed separatist groups.