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Barrister Charles Taku, President of the International Criminal Court Bar Association says the Regime of Paul Biya, President of the Central African country of Cameroon has committed Genocide in the the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, National Telegraph has gathered.

Barrister Taku dished out this position on the sideline of statements from Cameroon’s Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Dion Ngute after he claimed at a point in his visit in Cameroon’s restive North West that dialogue has started.

Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions have been in war-mood since October 2016 after a disagreement in language and government’s mismanagement of the crisis turned it into a demand by majority of Anglophones for a separate state called Ambazonia.

Dr Dion Ngute is among many government officials to have been dispatched to the restive regions to bring peace messages to the affected populations but many have seen all of Biya’s envoys as hypocrites because they preach peace but move with heavy military presence and in most cases, the Cameroon military carry out killings in nearby precincts while they preach peace.

Provoked by a recent post from the Prime Minister in which as many say openly lied that dialogue has started while he was in Bamenda, capital of Cameroon’s restive North West, Barrister Taku penned down a well-written letter in which he openly called out the Biya Regime for committing Genocide. He writes;

“Dr Dione Ngute was the agent representing LRC at the hearing of the case brought on behalf of the Southern Cameroons by Dr Gwang Gumne and others in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Judgement in the case was rendered in Banjul, the Gambia during the 45th Ordinary Session that held from 13 – 27 May 2009. 

In the Judgment that was subsequently endorsed by the General Assembly of African leaders during the AU conference in Sirtre in Libya, the African Commission unequivocally called for dialogue to resolve the crisis and offered its services to facilitate the dialogue.

It gave LRC 180 days to comply with its Judgment. It is on the records of the African Commission that LRC asked for an extension of time to comply with the Judgment.

Mr Prime Minister, true to itself, LRC did not comply with that Judgment and did not respect the decision relating to dialogue facilitated by the African Commission, even after the expiration of the extended timeline it sought and obtained. What a reckless display of bad faith!

In its characteristic exercise of impunity, LRC intensified its systemic and widespread violations of the protections afforded Southern Cameroons in international law.

These violations have been ongoing since an unprecedented conspiracy facilitated the breach of the UN Charter and UN Resolutions paving the way to the annexation and colonisation of Southern Cameroons by the LRC.

The escalation of the violations has led to genocide, also called the mother of crimes on the watch of a slow to act civilized world. This is unacceptable.


The Government of Cameroon considers these atrocity crimes as its legitimate exercise of impunity with arrogant alacrity. Its civilian and military commanders have in publicly available and well documented statements taken responsibility for these crimes.

They have consistently praised the professionalism of its military for conducting a war of genocide in which more than 200 civilian settlements have been torched with shocking charred remains of vulnerable children, women, the old and the sick left in the debris.

The Prime Minister Dr Dione Ngute himself on this so-called dialogue with the dead, praised the professionalism of these soldiers. During his visit there perpetrated egregious violations even in the neighbourhood of Bambili which he visited.

There, they massacred in a cold blood, a mother and her baby. Mr Prime Minister, this is genocide and not dialogue. I did not hear you order the arrest and prosecution of the criminal soldiers who massacred that mother and her baby.

The massacre of that woman and her child a few metres from where you visited indeed symbolizes the fate of hundreds of thousands of Southern Cameroonians for no reasons other than that they are Southern Cameroonians. That again sir, is genocide.

I began this piece by making a reference to the Judgment of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights which LRC accepted and asked for time to comply with but reneged on.

LRC in contempt instead intensified its 58 year old campaign of intimidation, humiliation, dehumanisation, indignity and death.

As the representative of LRC during the entire proceedings and judgment, you were and are better placed to advise your government to the hard reality that international legality may be slow but effective.

When Justice catches up with the arrogant exercise of impunity and criminality, its impact may devastate the soul of conscienceless predators of human life.

Differently, stated, a time comes when the victims of atrocious crimes are given a voice from their unmarked lonely graves to seek justice on their own behalf. That time sir, will come, sooner or later, here or in the hereafter. This truth sir, is sacrosanct. 


Therefore, sir, I beg to ask. How do you feel conveying the concomitant message of conditional dialogue and genocide from your President to his victims?

Does the said message not greatly contradict the dialogue decided by a respectable continental justice mechanism the African Commission which was endorsed by continental leaders?

Was it not obvious from the Judgment of the African Commission that an international facilitator would be required to oversee the dialogue? And was it not for this reason that it offered to play that role?

In your so-called ongoing dialogue, sir, I did not hear you regret the massacres, the genocide, the crimes against humanity, the war crimes etc. Why?

I did not hear you talk about a transitional justice mechanism to prosecute civilian and military commanders responsible for these atrocity crimes in the Southern Cameroons.

I did not see you feel the pain and suffering of millions of civilian victims of the atrocity crimes. Rather, I heard the evocation and rendition of the typical and resentful CPDM sycophantic war cries and slogans praising the god-president for his promise of mercy for those who lay down arms.

Laying down arms to facilitate the atrocity crimes sir? Those you alleged laid down arms, have the locations from which they allegedly defected been spared the visit of your angels of death and the mayhem they bring to the civilian population? Have they sir? I bey to ask. 

There is a common and recurring position taken by the international community on this war that was declared by LRC. That position is that there should be an inclusive dialogue with no pre-conditions, to tackle to the root causes of this conflict.

From where then did you come about with the exclusion of the so-called secession or separation? Is this pre-condition not a distraction and an attempt to obviate the mandatory root causes of the conflict?

Are the root causes not the umbilical linked violations that eviscerated the Southern Cameroons right to external self determination under the UN Charter guaranteed by UN Resolutions which LRC opposed and opted for annexation and colonial rule? 

The right to resolve this conflict through an internationally organised dialogue in which negotiations will hold sway was obtained through a legal process before a Continental legal mechanism and endorsed by African Leaders.

The international community has overwhelmingly taken the same position with renewed vigour. That position is therefore, not subject to a unilateral modification by LRC.

That sir, is an unacceptable diktat. This unacceptable diktat tantamount once more to a disregard for the international rule of law on the basis on which international legality, peace and security are founded.

Mr Prime Minister, sir, as you pursue this futile adventure to insult the memory of victims, permit me to remind you that the informal meeting of the UNSC on this crisis on 13 May 2019, apart, the celebration on the 23 May 2019 at the UN of the 70 th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions which LRC is a state party, should be a shock reminder to LRC that the spirit of that multilateral treaty and many others is alive.

That LRC place on the radar of the Geneva Conventions will soon be guaranteed, not for the right reasons, but for its atrocity crimes in the Southern Cameroons against civilians who are protected by the convention.

The anniversary ceremony of the 23 May 2019 of the Geneva Conventions 1949 and the ten anniversary of the UN Resolutions for the protection of civilians in armed conflicts should be an opportunity for LRC to seriously consider, calling off this genocidal war and withdraw its soldiers for peace to prevail.

Its military misadventure and atrocity crimes have failed and will continue to fail to tame the spirit of Southern Cameroons freedom seekers who are inspired and emboldened by the justice of their cause, international legality and the pursuit of legitimate self-defense. 

History sir, provides you and the government you serve another opportunity to listen to the voice of humanity and the international community and get to the negotiating table while there is time. Stop the callous slaughter and the genocide now. Your present tour is a celebration of genocide and not dialogue”

Source: nationaltelegraph

Michelle Bachelete the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights after a four days official visit to Cameroon made an appraisal of the Human Rights situation of the country. 
Identifying responsibility in acts of human rights abuses in the North West and South West Regions, Michelle Bachelet said the security forces have been accused of committing serious violations, including extrajudicial killings and torture against civilians and captured fighters in both the North West and South West.

She said in the western (North West and South West) regions schools, hospitals and other key infrastructures have been targeted and destroyed by armed separatist groups. Government employees, including teachers who have dared to continue teaching, have also been targeted.

On a general note the UN Rights Chief welcomes the acceptance of the government of Cameroon to work with the UN Human Rights office and the rest of the UN, to seek effective solutions to the major human rights and humanitarian crisis caused by the serious unrest and violence taking place in North West, South West and the Far North Regions. 
She believes there are windows of opportunities to come out of the crisis which must be backed by substantial and sustained support from the international community including the UN.

Highlighting the fact that Cameroon faces disturbing insecurity in most parts, the UN Rights Chief underscored atrocities such as soldiers and civilians being mutilated and killed, entire villages burned down, and children abducted and forced to join armed groups especially in the context of Boko ha5ram.

Michele Bachelet indicated that she met with opposition party leaders, civil society, church leaders and about eight different Ministers of the Biya regime and President Paul Biya himself. She also confered with some institutions like the National Commission for Human Rights and Freedoms and the National Commission for the Promotion of Bilingualism and Multiculturalism.

In all Bachelet offered to provide advice and assistance to Cameroon – similar to the G5 forces in the Sahel – to help ensure that military operations are in compliance with International Human Rights standards and that violations are prevented in their operations.

Michele Bachelot stressed that members of the security forces who commit serious violations should be held accountable.

She condemned the targeting of civilians and the difficulties to access the conflict-hit areas by humanitarian aid and said the solution to the conflict in the North West and South West Regions is dialogue with an in-depth look at the root causes of the problem.

Source: Mimi Mefo Info 

A separatist conflict in Cameroon that has forced half a million people from their homes is in danger of worsening, the head of a major aid agency has warned, condemning what he called the “international silence” over the crisis.

Jan Egeland, secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), said the world had underestimated the impact on civilians of the violence that has gripped Cameroon, where entire villages had been burned to the ground.

“I’ve been all over the world, dealing with humanitarian work for many years and I was really shocked by the unbelievable extent of this emergency that is underestimated, underreported and neglected by the international community,” said Egeland.

“There are atrocities every single day against civilians … and the world doesn’t seem to know or want to know about it,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone during a visit to Cameroon.

Long-running tensions in the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon erupted into conflict in late 2016, prompting crackdowns by security forces and leaving 1.3 million people in need of aid, according to the United Nations.

Egeland said the violence had pushed tens of thousands into hiding in the bush without access to food or medical help, and meant nearly a million children could no longer go to school.

But he said there was a danger the situation could worsen.

“I really, really hope there will be mediation efforts, that there will be an outreach and an interest in dialogue on both sides that will lead to talks which can end this before it is too late,” he said on Thursday.

“I’ve seen too many places which started with a smaller conflict … and ended up in a war that no one could stop.”

Cameroon’s English speakers have felt increasingly marginalized by the French-speaking government in the capital Yaounde and in 2017 thousands took to the streets to demand a breakaway state.

The military stepped in and thousands of Anglophones fled the ensuing crackdown, which Cameroon authorities described as an anti-terrorist operation.

In a statement Egeland, whose organization is distributing survival kits to victims including food, tools and materials for temporary shelters, said there had been little pressure on the parties to stop attacking civilians.

“The international silence surrounding atrocities is as shocking as the untold stories are heart-breaking,” he said. 

A U.N. human rights committee in February criticized the “heavy-handed approach” of the security forces to the crisis, which saw medical facilities, schools and entire villages destroyed.

Allegra Baiocchi, the U.N.’s humanitarian coordinator in Cameroon, said the violence was hampering relief efforts, and also blamed a lack of funding from other countries.

“The violence has been characterized by massive human rights violations. Attacks against schools and health providers have reached an alarming scale,” she said.

“Negotiating safe humanitarian access is extremely complicated and it is slowing us down.”

Source: reuters

Parliamentarians for Global Action, PGA have welcome the adoption of the European Parliament Resolution on Cameroon and are now calling for the immediate release of opposition leader Prof. Maurice Kamto and all political prisoners.

In a statement over the weekend, the PGA observed that the European Parliament adopted on 18 April 2019, in its last plenary of the 2014-19 legislature, a pivotal resolution condemning the gross human rights violations perpetrated in Cameroon against opponents and dissidents. They say the resolution that condemns “the politically motivated arrest of members of the opposition, starting with former presidential candidate Prof. Maurice Kamto, an eminent jurist who served as Judge at the International Court of Justice and member of The Hague Academy of International Law”, came upon the proposal of all political groups,.

“The text of the resolution reects language tabled by PGA Members Ms. Judith Sargentini (MEP, The Netherlands), Ms. Barbara Lochbihler (MEP, Germany), and Heidi Hautala (MEP, Finland) on behalf of the Greens group, and by Ms. Marietje Schaake (MEP, The Netherlands) on behalf of the ALDE group. European Parliament Vice-President, Mr. Fabio Massimo Castaldo (MEP, Italy; PGA member), co-tabled the nal text on behalf of the EFDD group,” the PGA said in a release.

The global PGA network calls all relevant bodies of the International Community “to take action to restore democracy and human rights under the Rule of Law in Cameroon”. In particular, PGA calls upon the African Union, the United Nations and all partners of Cameroon, including the European Union within the framework of the revised Cotonou Agreement between the Africa-Caribbean-Pacic (ACP) and the EU, to request the Government of Cameroon “to refrain from interfering with the independence and autonomy of Judges and Prosecutors”.

“The authority of Judges and Prosecutors shall not be abused for the purpose of eliminating political opponents of the Government and conning them in detention,” they said.

In respect of all political actors within Cameroon, the President of PGA, Ms. Margareta Cederfelt of Sweden, stated:

“I urge the Presidency of the Republic and all the constitutional actors in the Republic of Cameroon to open a new phase of peaceful dialogue with the political opposition and minority-groups with the view of bringing about democratic renewal for the benet of all peoples, communities and individuals living in Cameroon. The immediate liberation of Prof. Maurice Kamto would be a clear demonstration that the Republic of Cameroon is ready to be a peaceful and trusted partner of the International Community in the joint struggle for peace, democracy, sustainable development and human rights under the Rule of Law.”

Cameroon gives clarifications

In a media outing, Monday, Cameroon’s Communication Minister and Government Spokesman gave clarifications on the arrest and detention of opposition leader Maurice Kamto, President of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (CRM), apparently justifying why he would not be freed.

“…The Government recalls that it was on January 26, 2019, that these people, in small groups, took to the streets in the cities of Yaoundé, Douala, Bafoussam, Bafang, Bangangté and Dschang, to carry out marches there, in violation of the ban on public demonstrations which had nevertheless been formally notied to them by the competent administrative authorities.

“At the same time, on that January 26, 2019, hordes of demonstrators claiming to belong to the CRM invaded and ransacked Cameroon’s Embassies abroad, particularly in Paris and Berlin. It is in this regard that 151 people were arrested in the hours and days following these events and taken to security units in Douala and then in Yaoundé.

“14 These persons were taken into police custody, in accordance with the charges brought against them. Brought before the Investigating Judge, the 151 persons arrested were charged with insurgency, hostility against the homeland, rebellion, degradation of public property, public demonstration, crowding and contempt of the President of the Republic.

“These acts are provided for and punished by the Cameroonian Penal Code. Should I say it again, the charges on which Maurice Kamto and his supporters were arrested and remanded in custody are therefore clear and in accordance with Cameroon’s laws and regulations, as well as with the international conventions that our country has freely endorsed,” Sadi said.

Responding to allegations that the Cameroonian authorities systematically oppose the freedom to demonstrate publicly, he said the Government wishes to make it clear that “the regime of public demonstrations is set by law, and any person or group of persons wishing to hold a public demonstration must make a prior declaration to that effect. As in all countries, it may happen that, for reasons of threat to public order, a demonstration is not authorized. In this case, the organizers of the said demonstration must refrain from going against the law.”

Source: cameroon-info.net

Humanitarian needs in Cameroon are at their highest level ever following an upsurge in violence and insecurity in several regions of the country. Around 4.3 million people need emergency assistance, marking a 30 per cent increase compared to 2018.
The violence and forced displacement have dramatically affected the lives of women and children. Gender based violence is on a sharp increase. In some regions up to 80% of children are out of school.

Funding for the response is however at an all-time low.

In February, the Government and the humanitarian community launched the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan, requesting for US$299 million to assist 2.3 million people. As of 22 April, 11 per cent of the funds has been received.

Some 437,000 people have been forced from their homes in the violence-hit North-West and South-West regions, adding to the devastation by the protracted Lake Chad Basin conflict that continues to force civilians from neighbouring Nigeria to seek safety into Cameroon’s Far North region. Cameroon also hosts 275,000 Central African Republic refugees in Adamaoua, East and North region. Cameroon. Cameroon today has the 6th largest displaced population in the world.

“The people of Cameroon deserve a chance. Communities hosting the displaced are sharing the little they have. Their generosity is exemplary”, said UN Humanitarian Coordinator Allegra Baiocchi. “We need to show them the same level of generosity. We need to show them that we care. Funding remains critically low and we simply cannot sustain our activities without donors’ support. It is time to close the funding gap.”

The violence-affected people are struggling to survive difficult conditions, with little food, shelter, water, healthcare or protection from violation and abuse. Aid organizations are striving to deliver assistance notwithstanding access restrictions and lack of funding.

Rising food insecurity

Today, 3 million people are severely food insecurity in Cameroon, 1.5 million in North-West and South-West regions alone. Among them are 222,000 children.

In Far North region, one in two people does not have enough to eat. In 2018, 78,000 children under 5 years were treated for severe malnutrition. Malnutrition is likely to remain high this year or worsen if funding for prevention and treatment programmes is not forthcoming.

Humanitarian organizations have provided food to more than 42,000 displaced people. Around 26,000 people have received emergency food in the South-West region. But more needs to be done.

No health services and clean water for thousands of people

Since the beginning of the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions, local aid organizations have been at the forefront of the relief response, working hard to provide assistance to people forced to flee their homes.

Clashes, shut-down of activities in towns and insecurity have hampered operations in clinics and hospitals, and medical staff have been repeatedly targeted. Humanitarian organizations were able to provide basic health services to 3,700. 14,000 people received potable water and hygiene kits.

A generation at risk

Tens of thousands of boys and girls are deprived of education due to schools’ closure. They are in many cases being exploited and abused, forced to work or recruited. Tens of thousands of people affected by the violence need protection from abuse and violations.

“Cameroon has not witnessed a humanitarian emergency at such a scale, and the causes of the different crises are but intensifying,” said Ms. Baiocchi. “While we may not be able to quickly alter the underlying drivers, we must shift our approach to be able to make a difference in the life of the girl who is missing school due to violence, the displaced mother struggling to feed her children, or the father who has lost all source of income and livelihood.”

The Plight of Internal Displacement

https://www.invisiblecitizens.org/

Tens of millions of people around the world have been driven out of their homes by war, hunger, earthquakes and other perils. Among the most vulnerable, are 40 million people who have been forced to flee, but never crossed a border. Lacking special protection in their darkest hour of need, these largely unnoticed women, men and children may have fled their homes with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. They often urgently need essential necessities such as shelter, food and clean water, while stripped of their rights and basic protections.

To draw the world’s attention to the Plight of World’s 40 Million Internally Displaced People, OCHA has launched an innovative YouTube campaign, ‘Unavailable Content’, in collaboration with Ogilvy. The campaign is at the heart of OCHA’s Invisible Citizens Week, which is dedicated to shining a spotlight on this resilient yet vulnerable group of people.
 

Source: unocha.org

PRETORIA – Activists fighting for the independent state of Ambazonia (Anglophone Cameroon) have vowed to continue their quest for freedom and the right to self-determination in the face of reprisals from President Pau Biya’s government, which has respondent with heavy-handedness and killed thousands since 2017.

The activists said this Friday, as they staged a protest at the Nigerian Embassy in Pretoria, where they called on the West African nation to – partly, intervene to stop a genocide being meted on their fellow activists by Biya’s security forces, which have so far killed an estimated more than 5,000, displaced more than 800,000 and destroyed infrastructure since 2017, when Anglophone Cameroon declared its independence and announced an interim government.

Estimates are that more than 300,000 people from Cameroon’s troubled Anglophone region now live as refugees in Nigeria and the activists wanted guarantees for the safety of those refugees.


Patrick Ayuk addresses protestors

Safety for Cameroonian political refugees was breached on January 5 2019, when 10 Ambazonian leaders, including their leader, Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, were seized at gunpoint by Nigerian Security officials and eventually deported back to Cameroon, in utter disregard for the international law and principles guiding political prisoners and other asylum seekers.

The leaders were held incommunicado between the Nigerian and Cameroon government for six months, allegedly in deplorable conditions where they were denied access to family or legal representatives, in violation of the international Human Rights Law of the 1951 United Nations Convention (Article 33) on refugees and 1967 protocol, as well as the African Charter for Human Rights to which both Nigeria and Cameroon are signatories.

The 10 were charged with 10 counts under Cameroon’s anti-terrorism law and if convicted, they could face the death penalty over what they argue is their struggle for an independent state they call Ambazonia.

On March 1 this year, the Federal High Court of Nigeria ruled in Abuja that the abduction and subsequent deportation of 10 leaders and 39 youths from the former British colony of South Cameroon, who had sought refuge in the West African country, was illegal.

The activists said Friday’s protest was partly meant to request the Nigerian government to adhere to and fully implement the court judgment.

“The Judgment of the Federal High Court of Abuja was testimony of the fairness of the Nigerian Judiciary system,” said Patrick Ayuk, Director of the Sam Soya Centre for Democracy and Human Rights.

“While we greatly appreciate it, we are now calling on the executive arm of the Nigerian Government to heed the Judgment and ensure that all the 51 persons listed are freed and compensated as indicated in the ruling.”

The activists solicited the urgent intervention of the Nigerian government to prove to the world that it respected the rulings of its own courts and thereby immediately engage French Cameroon to have all 51 detainees, including members of the Ambazonian Interim Government and other asylum seekers abducted in Nigeria and unlawfully deported back to Cameroon to be sent back to Nigeria and compensated as stipulated in the Court Ruling of March 1.

Other demands were that Nigeria should call on the government of Cameroon to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its “armed terrorist forces of occupation and colonial administrators from the territory of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia (the Southern Cameroons) by respecting the Section 40 and Article 20 of the Africa Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) which give a people their unquestionable and inalienable right to Self Determination, an Act violated by the Nigerian Government when it deported our people back to French Cameroun as cited in the Abuja Court Ruling of 1st March 2019.”

Nigeria should create an opportunity for constructive dialogue

”Nigeria should also create the opportunity for constructive dialogue in the presence of credible third parties, including the UK, the United Nations and the African Union to address the root cause of the problems, intervene to stop the Genocide currently meted on the Ambazonian people, continue to assist refugees from Southern Cameroons, by providing them with a safe haven and other much needed assistance in Nigeria and honour its vote of Independence that it accorded British Southern Cameroons on 30th April 1960,” read a statement from the protestors.

Source: africanvoiceglobal

A global human rights organisation said on Thursday that at least 170 civilians have been killed since October in fighting in English-speaking western Cameroon between separatists and government forces.

“Government forces in Cameroon’s anglophone regions have killed scores of civilians, used indiscriminate force, and torched hundreds of homes over the past six months,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report.

The group based its findings on interviews with 140 victims, family members and witnesses between December and March, it said.

Government forces in Cameroon’s anglophone regions have killed scores of civilians.

“Since October, at least 170 civilians have been killed in over 220 incidents… according to media reports and Human Rights Watch research,” it said.

Security forces killed

Another 31 members of the security forces were killed in operations between October and February, it said.

“Given the ongoing clashes and the difficulty of collecting information from remote areas, the number of civilian deaths is most likely higher,” it added.

Who is to blame?

HRW did not explicitly blame government forces for all 170 civilian deaths.

It said armed separatists assaulted and kidnapped dozens of people during the same period, executing at least two men.

The government sent a letter to HRW denying “extortion” by the army described in the report, the group said.

The International Crisis Group has said the death toll since the start of the fighting has topped 500 for civilians and more than 200 for members of the security forces.

Anglophone crisis

The conflict broke out in October 2017 when the anglophone separatists launched an armed campaign.

English speakers, who account for about a fifth of Cameroon’s population of 24 million, have complained for years at perceived discrimination in education, law and economic opportunities at the hands of the francophone majority.

The anglophone movement radicalised in 2017 as the authorities refused demands for greater autonomy for the Northwest and Southwest Regions.

On October 1 that year, separatists declared the creation of the “Republic of Ambazonia” in the two regions, named after the local Ambas Bay. The declaration has not been recognised internationally.

“Cameroon’s authorities have an obligation to respond lawfully and to protect people’s rights during periods of violence,” said Lewis Mudge, HRW’s Central Africa director. “The government’s heavy-handed response targeting civilians is counterproductive and risks igniting more violence.”

Some 437,000 people have fled the fighting, according to the United Nations, which called Tuesday for $184 million to help the displaced.

Source: Africanews

The Social Democratic Front, SDF says some members of the Biya regime are sponsoring armed groups in the North West and South West regions of the country.

Meeting at the weekend in Yaounde, the National Executive Committee of the party condemned the recent wave of violence in the Anglophone regions.

The attack on the convoys of the Governors of the North West and South West regions, the burning of the Kumba Hospital, as well as attacks on students and kidnap of civilians were some of the atrocities in the past months that drew the attention of the party as they condemned such acts.

However, the party said such acts carried out by armed groups which might be sponsored by some members of the Biya regime, for their selfish interests.

The SDF criticised the authorities, who are protected by security forces,  for forcing civilians without protection to risk their lives to carry out civic duties like voting despite the insecurity in these regions.

The party condemned all forms of violence no matter its origin and once again called for a ceasefire and dialogue as the only way out of the crisis.

Source: journalducameroun

After years of skirmishing, the English-speaking minority scarcely trusts the government.

For the past three years, civil strife has been tearing Cameroon apart. New public opinion data from Afrobarometer suggest serious — and widening — rifts in fundamental perceptions and attitudes between the country’s Anglophone and Francophone regions.

A snapshot of Cameroon’s turmoil

For more than half a century after independence in 1960, Cameroon’s Francophone majority (formerly ruled by the French) and Anglophone minority (ex-British colonial subjects) lived in uneasy, but largely peaceful, union.

In 2016, occasional protests against what many English-speaking citizens see as discrimination and exclusion intensified and turned violent. Now, militant Anglophone separatists skirmish with government forces almost daily. Human Rights Watch and other observers have accused both sides of killings, kidnappings and other abuses.

According to the United Nations, the violence has displaced hundreds of thousands of people, including thousands who have fled to neighboring Nigeria. In October, English-speaking Cameroon boycotted the presidential election en masse; Paul Biya, who has held that position since 1982, won — but many observers declared the election marred by irregularities and violence.

How deep is the divide between English- and French-speaking Cameroon?

Pulling farther apart on fundamental questions

Public-opinion data show that the Anglophone and Francophone regions have moved quite far from each other since 2016 on fundamental questions of democracy, trust in the state and national identity.

Afrobarometer has interviewed nationally representative samples of 1,200 adult Cameroonians in 2013, 2015, and May-June 2018, producing results with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level. We did our analysis based on region, rather than primary language.

Here’s what we found. Most Cameroonians living in Anglophone regions no longer view their country as a functioning democracy. That’s a drastic shift from four years ago — and contrasts sharply with the views of their compatriots in Francophone regions. The proportion of Anglophone residents who consider Cameroon “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems” dropped from more than half (52 percent) in 2015 to just 1 in 8 (12 percent) in 2018. Among those living in Francophone regions, the proportion of those who agree has slowly increased from 36 percent in 2013 to 45 percent, as you can see in the figure below.

Cameroon is a democracy | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: In your opinion, how much of a democracy is Cameroon today? The graph shows the percentage who say “a full democracy” or “a democracy with minor problems.” (Mircea Lazar /Mircea Lazar)

Similarly, as you can see in the figure below, satisfaction with the way democracy is working in Cameroon has plummeted among Anglophone citizens, from 43 percent who said they were “fairly” or “very” satisfied in 2015 to just 7 percent in 2018. Among Francophones, meanwhile, satisfaction remains low but fairly steady, at 33 percent.

Satisfied with democracy | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: Overall, how satisfied are you with the way democracy works in Cameroon? The graph shows the percentage who say “fairly satisfied” or “very satisfied.” (Mircea Lazar/Mircea Lazar)

Fewer than half (45 percent) of Anglophone Cameroonians now say they prefer democracy to any other political system, a sharp drop from 64 percent in 2015. Among Francophones, support for democracy has remained steady at two-thirds, or 66 percent. Popular support for elections as the best way to choose leaders shows a similar pattern.

Political scientists often consider popular trust in the police and the army to be a core indicator of broader support for the state — and so here, too, our survey findings may trouble policymakers. As you can see in the figure below, almost 6 in 10 Anglophone citizens, or 58 percent, say they do not trust the police “at all,” up from 39 percent in 2015 and more than double the proportion of absolute distrust among Francophones, at 24 percent. The divide is even greater when it comes to the army: The proportion of Anglophones who say they don’t trust the military “at all” has nearly tripled since 2015, from 22 percent to 62 percent, compared to just 13 percent of Francophones who say the same thing.

Don’t trust police and army ‘at all’ | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: How much do you trust each of the following, or haven’t you heard enough about them to say: The police? The army? The graph shows the percentage who say “not at all.”

Another key indicator of a growing chasm is identity: Do citizens identify more with their nation or with their ethnic group? If it’s the former, a fundamental national unity may exist that can help prevent civil conflict. Until recently, in Cameroon only small minorities — between 6 percent and 12 percent — of both Anglophone and Francophone citizens identified more closely with their ethnic group than with their nation. But as you can see below, since 2015, the proportion of Anglophones who identify more strongly with their ethnic group than their nationality has quadrupled, to almost one-third (31 percent). Among Francophones, the increase was from 7 percent to 13 percent.

Ethnic over national identity | Anglophone vs. Francophone | Cameroon | 2013-2018

Respondents were asked: Let us suppose that you had to choose between being a Cameroonian and being a ________[respondent’s ethnic group]. Which of the following statements best expresses your feelings: I feel only [ethnic group]? I feel more [ethnic group] than Cameroonian? I feel equally Cameroonian and [ethnic group]? I feel more Cameroonian than [ethnic group]? I feel only Cameroonian? The graph shows the percentage who say they feel “only [ethnic group]” or “more [ethnic group] than Cameroonian.. (Mircea Lazar/Mircea Lazar)

The results reveal that Cameroon’s national unity is fragmenting

These growing divides between Anglophone and Francophone Cameroonians suggest that beyond the headlines, some citizens may be starting to abandon a belief in the country’s unity. Despite Cameroon’s long history of individual English and French speakers living peacefully as friends and compatriots, these tears in the national fabric will take both time and skilled and inclusive political leadership to mend.

Author: Mircea Lazar

Source: washingtonpost

Falana promised to institute a legal case of contempt proceeding against the NSA and Nigerian government if they failed to return the deported refugees within the stipulated time.

Femi Falana (SAN), foremost human rights lawyer, has given the Nigerian government two weeks to bring back refugees and asylum seekers deported to their countries by the National Security Adviser (NSA).

In a letter dated March 20, 2019, Falana informed Abubakar Malami (SAN), Attorney-General of the Federation, of the court judgments against the NSA.

Judgments were given in two suits; FHC/ABJ/CS/147/2018 by Wilfred Tassang and 50 others against the NSA and FHC/ABJ/CS/85/2018 by Mr. Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and 10 others against the NSA.

Falana stated that refugees and asylum seekers are guaranteed legal protections according to 1999 Constitution, the National Commission for Refugees (Establishment Etc) Act, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the United Nations on Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees Commission. 

Falana wrote: “In view of the foregoing, we are compelled to request you to use your good offices to advise the Federal Government to comply with the aforesaid judgments of the Federal High Court without any further delay.

“In particular, you may wish to draw the attention of the relevant authorities to the case of the Minister of Internal Affairs v. Alhaji Shugaba Darman (1982) 3 NCLR 915 where the respondent who had been illegally deported to the Republic of Chad by the Federal Government was brought back to Nigeria in compliance with the orders of the Borno State High Court presided over by the Honourable Justice Oye Adefila of blessed memory.”

Falana promised to institute a legal case of contempt proceeding against the NSA and Nigerian government if they failed to return the deported refugees within the stipulated time.

Falana had on March 1, won a case he instituted against the government when Justice Anwali Chinkere of the Federal High Court ordered that deportation of refugees and asylum seekers is illegal and unconstitutional.

A key Cameroonian separatist leader, Julius Ayuk Tabe, and 46 others were deported from Nigeria after their arrest in Abuja.

Ayuk, President of a self-declared breakaway state made up of the Anglophone regions of majority-Francophone Cameroon, was one of 15 people whom Cameroon issued an international arrest warrant for in November 2017.

Cameroonian Communications Minister Issa Tchiroma Bakary approved the move, saying “a group of 47 terrorists, among them Mr. Ayuk Tabe, has for some hours been in the hands of Cameroonian justice, before which they will answer for their crimes.”

He also praised Nigeria for joining Cameroon in “never tolerating their respective territories serving as a base for activities that destabilise one or the other”.

Source: saharareporters

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