The ongoing armed conflict between the military and pro-independence fighters in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon, has left many with amputated parts of the body. The burden has even multiplied on those who accommodated people living with disability before the crisis started.
These words and more, were echoed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Global Forum for the Defence of the Less Privileged (GFDLP), Mr. Akoh Baudouin Ngah, during a meeting with officials of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (UNCHRD).
The meeting that took place in Douala recently, brought together Rights Organisations in the two English speaking regions, face to face with the UNCHRD, to brainstorm on the human rights situation in the crisis hit regions and identification of possible areas of intervention.
According to the rights activist, the crisis has highly hit Persons Living with Disabilities. He urged the United Nations to act fast to salvage the situation, so that the vulnerable, including women and children, can be attended to
“Following the burning and destruction of more than 70 villages and the resettlement of the population in the bushes, the elderly and persons living with one form of disability or the other have either died or living in extremely difficult conditions due to the unavailability of basic health care services,” Mr. Akoh highlighted.
He further outlined that as a result of the ongoing crises a lot of women living with disabilities have been exploited sexually.
Corroborating the Rights Activist, the representative of the Denis Miki Foundation stressed the need for capacity building of human rights organizations on how to document and report abuses.
Meanwhile, officials of the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy for Central Africa emphasized the need for reports from the participating organisations in order to pressure the government of Cameroon to solve the ongoing conflict in the Northwest and Southwest Regions, through the special rapporteurs at the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland.
Persons Living with Disabilities and the elderly are often neglected or abandoned during conflicts, natural disasters and other forms of displacement. The Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action addresses the rights of persons living with disabilities during humanitarian response.
The Charter outlines five key concerns: equal access to humanitarian services, no discrimination, inclusion of organizations representing the interest of persons living with disabilities, data collection and monitoring of inclusion, developing global guidelines to improve strategies and promoting collaboration among local partners and humanitarian actors.
It should be noted that more than 160 countries have ratified the UN disability rights treaty.
By Evodia Ondaka