Cameroonians have been urged to shun hate speech and avoiding spreading fake news while respcting human right values and freedom of speech.
The call was made by panelists while opening the one-week training in International law of the Human Rights at the International Relations Institute in Yaounde on Monday April 29.
Organised by the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, the International Institute of Human Rights-Rene Cassin Foundation and the International Relations Institute in Cameroon, the training is holding under the theme; ” Freedom of Speech and International Law” and brings together paticipants from Cameroon, Africa and the rest of the world.
Opening the training on Monday, the Minister of External Relations Lejeune Mbella Mbella said the current socio-political climate in the country warrants Cameroonians to support government’s drive to promote freedom of speech and promote human right values for a peaceful nation.
He called on participants to make use of the knowledge acquired from the seminar in order to foster human rights values in the country.
On her part, the representative of the Rene Cassin Foundation, Muriel Sognigbe said democracy and freedom of speech are inseparable thus governments must guarantee their application in strict respect of the laws.
Freedom of speech should however not be an opportunity to spread hate and division but an avenue to promote better democratic practices, she said.
In a democratic setting where freedom of speech is promoted, journalists, bloggers and experts in information and communication must be protected from intimidation from those attemmpting to silence them, Louise-Marie Bouaka, head of the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said but warned them against defamation and spreading hate speech.
This was equally echoed by the Director of the International Relations Institute of Cameroon-IRIC, Dr. Salomon Eheth who said “wrongly applied freedom of speech, can cause problems to a society. He said the training adds to his institution’s contribution to the teaching and creation of awareness in human rights.
Thus for one week, participants will take advantage to acquire skills on how to reinforce the country’s democracy through the respect of human rights.