Aid workers and humanitarian groups in Cameroon are increasingly coming under attack by both the country’s English-speaking separatists and the government forces.
Aid workers have been victims of unlawful killings, abductions, harassment, extortion, and other abuses as supplies and property have been looted and destroyed.
Humanitarian access has been severely hindered by the violence, as well as by deliberate actions carried out by the separatists and government forces and authorities.
The latest attacks occurred just days before the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon, Allegra Baiocchi, expressed grave concern over the interruption of aid delivery to hundreds of thousands of people in need.
Attacks against aid workers disrupt the provision of life-saving assistance and services to people in need.
Cameroon’s Anglophone regions face a serious humanitarian crisis, with over 650,000 internally displaced, and 1.8 million relying on humanitarian aid including 1.4 million people who lack reliable access to food.
Despite the call for a COVID-19 ceasefire by one of the separatist groups, Southern Cameroons Defence Forces (SOCADEF) in March – a move welcomed by UN secretary-general’s spokesperson – fighting in the Anglophone regions has not subsided.
As humanitarian workers play a vital role, often operating in difficult conditions to alleviate suffering, government forces and all separatist armed groups should immediately end all attacks against humanitarians and other civilians, hold those who commit them to account, and allow unhindered humanitarian access, said Human Rights Watch. (Source: HRW)