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@ Nfor Hanson Nchanji

country ishr defender

region ishr defender

  • Sub-Saharan Africa

date ishr defender

Last updated: 2 Jul

Human rights defender's story: Nfor Hanson Nchanji

Story behind

Nfor Hanson Nchanji is an award-winning Human Rights Journalist from Cameroon. He has worked for Douala-based Equinoxe Television and is the founder of the online news outlet Cameroon News Agency.

He has reported on the tensions in Cameroon's English-speaking regions, becoming a staunch advocate for the rights of the country's English-speaking communities since the outset of the Anglophone crisis, in 2016, during which he documented and denounced abuses committed both by government and separatists forces.

As a result of his reporting and activism, Hanson Nchanji has faced threats and harassment campaigns seemingly orchestrated by supporters of the Francophone government. He is currently in exile.

What happened

Hanson Nchanji and his close relatives suffered reprisals following his participation in the 10th session of the Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva, from 30 November to 1 December 2017. Harassment and vilification of Hanson Nchanji began in December 2017, only days after his participation at the Forum, and has continued.

This included online attacks by some pro-government social media users portraying him as a terrorist. One post called him ‘a traitor to the republic of Cameroon’ and stated: ‘You went to the UN to sell us, but God punished you.’

Upon his return from the Forum on Minority Issues, on 2 December 2017, Hanson Nchanji’s brother received a letter with death threats that explicitly mentioned his engagement with the UN to discuss the Anglophone crisis. This caused Hanson Nchanji to go into hiding. In March 2019, his family’s home was burned down by soldiers and his close relatives were forced to relocate.

These incidents were reported to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) at the time, but could not be publicly reported due to protection concerns.

In a 2019 interview with ISHR, he described his concerns following his participation in the 2017 UN Forum on Minority Issues: ‘When I took part in the Minorities Forum, I had to tell the UN that, as I am going back to Cameroon, I don’t know what would be my fate.’

Nfor Hanson Nchanji's case was included in the SG's 2020 report on reprisals. However, it was not followed up on in subsequent reports, despite the case not being resolved. The status of the case remains the same.

What do we want

ISHR calls on the government of Cameroon to take specific actions to resolve this case, to publicly commit to protecting human rights defenders and the communities they represent, and to condemn any intimidation or reprisals against them.

What do we want

ISHR calls on the government of Cameroon to take specific actions to resolve this case, to publicly commit to protecting human rights defenders and the communities they represent, and to condemn any intimidation or reprisals against them.

How you can take action

Look through our 2021 campaign to learn more about ISHR's work to #EndReprisals against human rights defenders and how you can help us ensure they are able to work safely and effectively wherever they are, including unhindered engagement with the UN and other major international human rights bodies.