The Humanitarian Coordinator, Allegra Baiocchi, accompanied by the Representatives of UNHCR and UNICEF in Cameroon and the Director of Civil Protection of the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Decentralization led a fact-finding mission in the NorthWest and South-West Regions from 7-9 February 2017.
The mission was fielded following reports of the deteriorating humanitarian situation of civilian populations due to the socio-political crisis affecting the regions and of the displacement of several thousand, including to neighboring Nigeria.
The mission visited Bamenda and Mamfe and was able to meet with civil, military, religious and traditional leaders, as well as with a number of civil society and non-government organizations operating in the area. The different stake-holders exchanged points of view on the current situation, the humanitarian impact and potential solutions to assist populations in need.
More than 14,000 Cameroonian asylum-seekers have been registered in Nigeria. In addition, the mission was informed of several thousand internally displaced persons who fled following attacks and retaliation measures. “Favorable conditions must be put in place to ensure that all return is voluntary, durable and takes place in the full respect of the dignity and security of populations”, noted Kouassi Etien, UNHCR Representative. “Children must be protected from all forms of violence and be allowed to enjoy their fundamental rights, including their right to education”, added Jacques Boyer, UNICEF Representative.
The Humanitarian Coordinator condemned all acts of violence and reminded of the imperative to protect civilian population caught in the middle. “Open and transparent communication is key to building confidence between populations and the authorities. Lasting solutions can only be found through dialogue”, she reiterated.
Thanking all counterparts, the Humanitarian Coordinator assured of the willingness and commitment of the humanitarian community, and of the UN system, to work towards bringing assistance and finding solutions for populations in need.