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Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance Kofler on the attack on a camp for internally displaced persons in Cameroon

06.08.2020 - Press release

Dr Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance, issued the following statement today (6 August) on the attack on a camp for internally displaced persons in Cameroon on 2 August:

I was appalled to hear the news of an attack on an emergency shelter in northern Cameroon, where 800 internally displaced persons were seeking refuge. The attack claimed 18 lives and 1500 people fled from further violence.

When IDPs, especially women and children, and their host communities are attacked in such a cruel way, the international community cannot remain silent.

I condemn this act in the strongest possible terms. I call on all parties in the region to implement the UN’s Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and to ensure the protection and safety of IDPs.

Internally displaced persons are particularly hard hit by armed conflict. They often have to flee evolving conflict situations several times. Protecting them in the places where they seek refuge must be a priority.

We are supporting these efforts with concrete projects on the ground, through political contacts in the country and in the bodies of the United Nations.

Background information:

People are displaced within their national borders every year. This exacerbates already existing internal displacement in long-lasting crises, leading this year to the highest number of IDPs ever recorded with 50.8 million people currently considered to be internally displaced (IDMC 2020). There is no international convention for the protection of IDPs, nor is there a binding definition of the term under international law. IDPs therefore often enjoy neither legal nor physical protection. However, the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement contain 30 principles that provide a legally non‑binding definition of how IDPs should be protected in line with respect for human rights.

The respective country of origin is responsible for their protection and care. These countries are often unable or unwilling to provide such support, however.

More than 320,000 people who have been displaced from their communities live in northern Cameroon. In 2020, Germany has so far contributed over 65 million euro for humanitarian assistance in the Lake Chad region, which also includes northern Cameroon.

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