Those who work with human rights are particularly targeted. The Network for Human Rights Defenders in Central Africa expresses its concern for Cameroonian associations in particular.
These foreign structures now have one month, until the end of September, to comply with the new directives. Namely, enter a complete dossier: the authorization dossier, the complete staff list, the annual activity program but also employment contracts for local staff.
For the Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, some foreign non-governmental organizations do not respect the law.
“When we discover that the voluntary organization works outside our laws, we do what is called a call to order. This is what is happening today. There is an NGO file. When I see that there are, for example, 30 or 40 and that we have reports of 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 at the end of each year, we think there is a problem. There are some who do good things, there are some who do very bad things. So it was a necessary alarm clock. Our logic is first and foremost awareness, education, then we move on to the repressive stage by telling them that we will publish a press release saying that such and such and such has no right to ” practice in Cameroon, and they will pack their bags and we will no longer talk about these NGOs. We sent them a press release. You know them, they give you reports on Cameroon, on human rights, on this or that. It’s time to find out if these people have the right to work here. We need to look at this issue. ”
Cameroon’s NGOs, for their part, are worried. Behind this announcement, fears Maximilienne Ngo Mbe, director of the Network of Human Rights Defenders in Central Africa, the authorities are in fact trying to restrict the activities of Cameroonian associations. “Our concern is that we are not, in fact, targeting international associations, but we are targeting leaders at the national level who represent the voices of the voiceless. Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and FIDH have no offices in Cameroon. I say this because these are associations we work with and Redhac and other associations are proud to work with these organizations to promote the protection of human rights. But they have no representation in Cameroon, so they are not the ones being targeted. ”
The activist indicates that she does not intend to lower her guard: “We will resist. If the associations start to scare them, it is because we are doing our job well and we will continue our work and we are convinced that what we are doing is what must be done for Cameroon, for respect for fundamental freedoms, for human rights and for peace. ”