International Pen and Freemuse in joint appeal for singer Lapiro de Mbanga
African Human Rights organisations and monitoring systems are urged to act on behalf of singer Lapiro de Mbanga.
In a joint appeal letter International Pen and Freemuse ask for assistance in ensuring that Cameroon act in a manner consistent with its own legal obligations and those of international law and release the singer from unjust detention.
The letter adressed to The National Commission on Human Rights, Cameroon, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa and the African Commission on Human and Peoples rights is also informing about the recent petition filed to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.
Freemuse and International PEN have made numerous previous protests to the government of Cameroon on Mr Mbanga’s behalf since 2008. In collaboration with Mondomix and Vigier guitars, Freemuse handed over protests from more than 3,000 people concerned about Lapiro de Mbanga’s case to the Embassy of Cameroon in Paris, France, in March 2010.
The letter, which is also send to the President of Cameroon and various Ambassadors says:
“We believe that the Cameroonian government’s detention of Mr. Mbanga is in violation of his right to freedom of expression, association and to participate in government, as enshrined in Cameroon’s own constitution and in international treaties to which Cameroon is party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Further, Mr. Mbanga was not granted a fair trial as is required by these same legal instruments”
Safe cities Freemuse and International Pen are sister organisations. “International Pen promotes and protect writers. Freemuse protects musicians and composers. Lapiro is a (song)writer as well as a singer and composer so it is natural that we collaborate”, says Ole Reitov, Programme Manager, Freemuse.
“There is an increasing acknowledgement of songwriters role in society. Today Europe has an extensive system of ‘safe cities’ for writers and we are convinced that soon we will see a European city even hosting a songwriter”, says Reitov.
International Pen has through the The Writers in Prison Committee defended colleagues all over the world for more than 50 years.