By NOELA EBOB BISONG
Allegra Baiocchi, United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator in Cameroon has expressed concern over the challenges being faced by humanitarian actors in the delivery of assistance in the troubled North West and South West regions of the country.
In a statement released recently, the UN representative stated that: “I welcome the humanitarian dialogue held on July, 4th with the Prime Minister, representatives of the Government of Cameroon, Diplomatic Heads of Missions and humanitarian actors in relation to the humanitarian situation in the North West and South West regions and the engagement demonstrated in ensuring that humanitarian assistance is supported and reaches the people in need”.
According to Baiocchi, “The utmost priority for the United Nations and the humanitarian community operating in the country is to ensure that protection and assistance is provided to people in need, whoever and wherever they are”.
The statement reads that in the North West and South West regions, the immediate priority is to reach people in rural communities, who have been cut off from basic services. “This cannot be achieved without the respect and acceptance of our work”, she states.
The statement further reads that “The United Nations will continue to engage with all actors to ensure that the delivery of humanitarian aid will always comply with the humanitarian principles, including in particular neutrality and impartiality”.
Emphasizing their role, the UN representative tells that “Humanitarian action is meant to complement national efforts and we are committed to the coordination, transparency and efficiency of efforts while maintaining an operational distinction in the delivery of assistance”.
Concerning the newly constructed humanitarian centres recently inaugurated by the Minister of Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji, Baiocchi states: “I welcome the establishment of Coordination Centres in Buea and Bamenda, under the National Civil Protection. It is incumbent that these centres fulfill their intended role of supporting and enabling humanitarian action”.
She also expressed concerns over reports of delays imposed on humanitarian aid delivery and said he has stressed to the Government the need to ensure that the Centres receive the delegated authority required to serve as the single point of entry for information-sharing and coordination.
“It is also important to recall that attacks on civilians, civilian infrastructures, such as schools and health centres and attacks on humanitarian workers constitute a grave violation of international humanitarian law. All actors are encouraged to comply fully with international human rights and humanitarian laws and ensure safe and secure access to humanitarian assistance”.