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The security crisis facing the country since around 2013, with the presence of Boko Haram, has been compounded by the so-called “Anglophone crisis” that started in late 2016. Both government security forces and non-State armed groups have been committing numerous violations of human rights. Torture and other ill-treatment are widely used to extract confessions during incommunicado detention and to repress civil society organisations as well as political activists during peaceful demonstrations. Many testimonies present the Secrétariat d’Etat à la défense (SED) as the main torture center. Extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances during counter-insurgency operations are frequent. The new Criminal Code of 2016 contains a definition of torture that is in conformity with article 1 of the Convention against Torture, but the punishment prescribed is below the gravity of the crime. The OMCT works with the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, a Cameroonian organisation, within the SOS-Torture Litigators Group in Africa to monitor, identify and litigate torture cases.
Intimidation and attacks against human rights defenders have escalated in recent years, particularly since the beginning of the socio-political crisis in the Anglophone regions, which has led to excessive use of force and arbitrary detention by security forces to repress peaceful demonstrations. The OMCT has also reported several cases of judicial harassment against defenders denouncing the government’s corruption and opposing land-grabbing in the country.