At UN human rights meeting: UK urges Cameroon to amend anti-terrorism law By Mua Patrick.

Minister Mbella Mbella at UN gathering

The United Kingdom, UK, has urged Cameroon to amend the country’s ‘obnoxious’ 2014 Law on the Suppression of Acts of Terrorism, to align it with international human rights standards. The call was made, following the review of Cameroon’s human rights record by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

This was during the Universal Periodic Review of the human rights records of several countries, including Cameroon. The session was held Tuesday November 14. 

It was Cameroon’s External Relations Minister, Mbella Mbella, who held briefs for his country, during the high-level UN meeting.

In a statement issued following the meeting, the United Kingdom said it had welcomed Cameroon’s publication on an annual human rights report but quickly added that much still needs to be done.

She said it was encouraging “the government to further strengthen this reporting, including by providing more details on efforts taken to hold perpetrators to account”. 

“We recommend that Cameroon develops effective measures to prevent and address acts of violence, including attacks and threats against civilians, medical personnel or patients; particularly in the North West and Southwest Regions, in accordance with the Security Council Resolution 2286,” the UK official pressed further.

It has also urges Cameroon to introduce stronger legal protections for persons in marginalised and vulnerable situations, including by reinforcing legislation to ensure accountability for acts of violence against persons belonging to ethnic minority groups.

 

Mbella Mbella boasts country making strides 

Meanwhile, speaking during the session, External Relations Minister, Mbella Mbella, boasted that Cameroon was making giant strides in the direction of promoting human rights.

He told the UN that Cameroon has strengthened its human rights commission to ensure the protection of rights of the country’s citizens.

He also stated that Cameroon organised a Major National Dialogue, with all the populations of the country as well as established a national mechanism for the prevention of torture.

Mbella Mbella disclosed that Cameroon has adopted a national development strategy, a general code of decentralisation as well as reconstruction and development plan for the restive North West and South West Regions.

The foreign affairs boss revealed at the UN meeting that Cameroon has enrolled more than one million people in a universal health coverage system as well as increased the registration rate of children under five years old.

He said Cameroon has taken steps to ensure increased access to drinking water and electricity.

Meanwhile, attendees at the meeting commended Cameroon for its ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, on the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa.

Cameroon was also praised for its ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

The Optional Protocol is a supplement to the UN Convention on the Rights of the child and obliges all signatory parties to prohibit the sale of children, child prostitution and depiction of sexual abuse of children.

It draws particular attention to the said serious violations of children's rights and stresses the importance of international cooperation and greater public awareness.

 

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