The Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, is deeply concerned about news that school children and other people have been abducted in Bamenda, in the English-speaking region of Cameroon. Initial news reports state that around 70 students, their principal and some teachers have been kidnapped by armed men.
The Secretary-General said: “I am aware that the details of this troubling development are still emerging. However, I wish to categorically condemn the abduction of children, or any other persons for that matter. The rights, welfare and wellbeing of children everywhere must be protected. Every single child is precious.
The Commonwealth calls for the immediate and safe return of the children and all other persons abducted. I urge the Government of Cameroon, and all relevant actors, to expedite and prioritise efforts in this regard, including obligations under international human rights law and other commitments such as the Safe Schools Declaration. Violence is not the answer. I reiterate my call for inclusive, home-grown dialogue to resolve issues in Cameroon.”