- International rights organisation has accused the government of Cameroon of gross violations, torture and killings spanning more than ten years.
In a new report released by Amnesty International, a recorded of a long list of abuses perpetrated by state security forces and ruling party supporters who it said almost always act with impunity, is given.
Amnesty International's Africa Deputy Programme Director Tawanda Hondora said political opposition is not tolerated in Cameroon, saying any dissent is suppressed through violence or abuse of the legal system to silence critics.
A 52-paged report said Cameroonian security forces habitually use excessive and unnecessary force and the perpetrators have almost always enjoyed impunity. "Unfair trials, intimidation and harassment, including death threats, are routinely used by the authorities to quash criticism from politicians, human rights defenders and journalists," said Mr Hondora.
Mr Hondora said media silencing was also worrying, stating that if journalists are deemed too critical of the government they face harassment, which has included shutting down of some radio and TV stations.
The report also cited an incidence when journalists covering street protests in February 2008 were assaulted by members of the security forces. "The victims included a cameraman from Canal 2 International television, who was beaten and arrested and had his camera destroyed. He was only freed after soldiers forced him to pay them," the report said.
In late February 2008, security forces killed as many as 100 civilians during demonstrations against the escalating cost of living, the report also reflected.
Cameroon, which is expecting the Papal visit around March, has been ruled by President Paul Biya since 1982. In April 2008, the nation's parliament amended the constitution to allow President Biya to run for a third seven-year term in office.
The move unleashed protests, according to the report, that were brutally crushed by security forces. The next presidential vote in Cameroon is due in 2011.
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