Human Rights


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 

An American missionary was shot dead on Tuesday in Cameroon during clashes between the separatists and government soldiers. Charles Wesco, 44, was traveling with his wife, son and a driver when they came under fire.

More than 400 civilians have already died in the conflict between the country’s French-speaking majority and its English-speaking minority. But perhaps the tragic death of a Westerner — one who had devoted his life to helping Cameroon — will now prompt the United States and Europe to stop looking away.

President Paul Biya, in power for 36 years, is set to be sworn in next week for another seven-year term after claiming victory Oct. 7 in elections marred by allegations of fraud. Despite ample evidence of vote tampering and insecurity on election day, Washington was quick to congratulate the people of Cameroon on what it called a “largely peaceful elections.”

Cameroonians, who have long been yearning for peace, can hardly be blamed for regarding that statement as a mockery. Most of them, not only the English-speakers who are fighting desperately for independence, had hoped that Biya would leave the palace. Those hopes are now dashed.

I spent voting day in Buea, the capital of the southwest Anglophone region. I didn’t see a single person voting after midday — apart from the governor, who showed with a bodyguard of heavily armed soldiers. Most of the locals stayed indoors for their safety. In this region, where people have taken up hunting guns to fight his regime, Biya shamelessly claimed he won the majority of votes. Villages around Buea are entirely deserted — people are living in the forests, from fear of the president’s soldiers. Some 500,000have been displaced by the fighting. I could hear gunfire before, during and after the election. More than a dozen people died in the Anglophone areas in the course of 24 hours. How could Washington give this farce a clean bill of health?

After the voting had closed, African Union observers said the ballot went well — despite the fact they couldn’t send any of their team to the far North, where the Boko Haram insurgency is wreaking havoc, or in the English-speaking regions, where the secessionists are fighting the regime. The AU verdict was not entirely surprising, because it routinely approves flawed elections; the U.S. statement in support of Biya was, however, a disaster.

If Biya, as expected, remains in office for the coming seven years, it is highly likely that the country will slide into a terrible civil war — one of which the world will take notice only when nobody is left to save. The worsening crisis is largely the result of the Biya regime’s refusal to address the grievances of the country’s English-speaking minority, who have long suffered from systematic discrimination. In silencing them, soldiers have killed about 4,000 Anglophone civilians, according to the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, a nongovernmental organization based in Buea.

Decaying bodies lie scattered on the streets of the capital. Sources tell me that hospital mortuaries in the city of Bamenda in the northwest are full, no place left for fresh bodies. The sights triggered memories of my own experience of Rwanda’s genocide against the Tutsis in 1994. The comparison is more apt than it might seem at first sight. France, Biya’s leading supporter in the West, is repeating the same mistakes it committed in Rwanda.

The killing of Anglophone Cameroonians is not only the problem that confronts the country. Corruption is also ubiquitous. Though I had valid documents to travel and work in Cameroon, I had to pay money to be allowed to pass through every police and military checkpoint. Even at the international airport in Douala, staffers there extort money from passengers. This is not fiction. It’s my personal experience.

Bribes are common in many African countries, but Cameroon has reached another level. The anti-corruption organization Transparency International ranks Cameroon among the most corrupt nations in the world, having it tied for the 153rd spot out of 180 countries.

Biya remains unconcerned. He has spent at least four and a half years in total on private trips in the 36 years he has been president, according to research conducted by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. He has made himself at home in Geneva’s five-star Intercontinental Hotel, spending an estimated $65 million on stays there since he came to power. Back home, most Cameroonians are struggling to make ends meet, and war-displaced women and children have no place to sleep. Meanwhile, critics are killed or locked away in maximum-security prisons; many others have gone in exile.

It’s high time for the West to reconsider its relationship with Biya — or at least to hold him accountable for the atrocities committed under his rule. Cameroonians, both English and French speakers, should stand up for their country and remove the leaders who are tearing them apart. Thirty-six years of pain is too much to endure. And they have nothing left to lose.

Author: By Fred Muvunyi

Source: washingtonpost.com

Get all latest Ambazonia, Africa and World News, Click here to follow SCBC TV on Twitter

Elimu, Swahili for “imparting knowledge, skill, and judgment,” is the handle for the alternative education project of the Ambazonia grassroots media project the Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation TV (SCBC TV). SCBC TV was born out of the 2017 Cameroon government imposed internet blackout in the occupied territories of Ambazonia also known as the Southern Cameroons.

To start with, SCBC supports without reservation the General Strike (Ghost town action) of the peoples of Ambazonia both as an Ambazonian grassroots movement project but also because the General Strike in itself is a legitimate form of nonviolent resistance.  Thus we would like to categorically state from the getgo that Project Elimu while hoping to help our children learn from home, is NOT in anyway intended to nor will it in anyway undermine the ongoing General Strike.  It is out of our awareness of the importance of education in building a strong foundation for the life of every child, that Project Elimu is being put in place to help our children learn from home in the wake of Cameroon’s refusal to sign the Safe School Declaration, and Cameroon’s sustained attacks on our children and youth in and out of schools. We are hoping project ELIMU will also reduced chances of contact with solders, which has too often than needed turned deadly causing enormous heartache for several Ambazonian families and communities.

We equally look forward to fill the education gaps inherent in the substandard educational system that the neocolonial regime has been so determined to impose on our communities.

SCBC Background

Ambazonia is an English-speaking territory located between Cameroon and Nigeria in West Africa. Ambazonia has been under military occupation by the French neo-colonial regime in Cameroon since an ill-fated UN plebiscite on a confederacy between the two countries in 1961. Immediately before that, Ambazonia had been a UN Trust Territory under British administration— which is why the region’s primary colonial language is English, in contrast to Cameroon in which the primary colonial language is French.

For years there have been waves of protest over the second-class status that is forced on the people of Ambazonia. Despite agreement that Ambazonians get to keep their language and autonomous institutions, Cameroon has systematically eliminated these structures over the years. In the fall of 2016, protests erupted across the territory once more, this time in response to a strike by legal workers called to defend the Ambazonian common law–based judicial system. Though British colonial control was hurtful to Ambazonia in many ways, set in historical context, it was by far the lesser of the evils and left a legacy of respect for a personal-liberties based legal system that has been utilized by legal workers to protect the dignity of the people.

In response to this mass nonviolent demonstration of popular sentiment, the Cameroon military used excessive and unnecessary force to silence the protests. They used helicopter gunships to shoot live ammunition at demonstrations, they chased down and executed hundreds of unarmed protesters, and they detained more than a thousand summarily and without charge. In direct response to these atrocities, for the first time in the history of our struggle, some fractions have chosen to defend their communities with force.

To prevent the people from communicating and reporting these crimes to the outside world, the Cameroon regime cut internet access to the entire territory. In response, community media makers at home and in the diaspora came together to create SCBC TV, which broadcasts remotely from around the world to communities in the occupied territories of Ambazonia––the first community-owned and operated TV station in Africa with global reach.

SCBC TV has been the most prominent tool for mobilizing nonviolent resistance in the occupied territories in this violence-filled time.

Unfortunately, it is clear that the ongoing violence will prevent Ambazonian children from returning to school for the September 2018 academic year. It was in this light that SCBC TV decided to launch an alternative Education TV School which will air lessons into Ambazonian communities under military occupation.

Project ELIMU

September 2018 will be the start of the second academic year in which children in our communities will not be able to go to class as usual because of a conflict that escalated in 2016. To mitigate the damage being done to their education during this time of conflict and the importance of education to the future of our children and society, SCBC decided to start a TV School to provide Ambazonian children the opportunity to learn from home.

The mission of Project ELIMU is to provide a free, world-class education to every child in conflict zones where regular classes are not possible.  We are committed to ensuring that children in conflict zones, starting with Ambazonia can learn from wherever they find themselves just by having access to a TV set and a cellphone. In the medium term, we are looking to extend the program to children in bushes and refugee camps through Project Elimu Learning Centers (PELC).

The Tagline of the Project is: Each One Teach One, making learning a community commitment.

Project Background

The history of TV in the classroom in the US goes as far back as the 1950s. There is a wealth of literature and well-developed sample curricula for TV school projects. That work was further developed by the homeschooling movement of the last 30 years.

We look to build on that research, the developments in the alternative education community including online schools, lectures, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), M-learning, and others to provide our children with high-quality education along with certificates from international accreditation institutions to go with it.

Project ELIMU material is packaged to maximize learning via TV School and optimize learners feedback mostly via cellphone.

Standardized Testing

Project ELIMU is looking to use a multitude of tests based primarily from the best international accreditation and certification institutions. That way when our students following the program they can take the appropriate test for them. We will elaborate on the tests and certification in another document. Project ELIMU will be making an effort to fundraising to cover the cost of some of these international certification tests.

Project Elimu Learning Centers (PELC)

Project Elimu also understands that there are now over 400,000 displaced Ambazonians hiding in bushes and over 60,000 who have sort refuge in Nigeria. For this reason, the project will also include the following elements:

  • Making same study materials readily available online in downloadable format in an app developed by the team called Udemia (https://wudemia.com/). This will enable people to learn from any smartphone or download the material and share with children in other accessible ways on the ground as part of the efforts to reach who might not have access to TV.
  • The project team intends to deploy learning centers across all refugee centers in neighboring Nigeria where all those of school age can also take time to study in the center’s ones they are set up.
  • The team continues engagement with various alternative educators around the world in a bit to continue the research process to make the alternative education not only accessible but worth it for the children who can access it.

To Volunteer, Contact or support the Project Team:

Write to The SCBC Education foundation

Project Elimu Team

Contact by email:  projectelimu@scbctv.com


Silva Munuza was describing the deadly conflict back home in Cameroon to Cliff Jones, his pastor in Laurel Springs.

A 38-year-old accountant who lives in Clementon and has a young daughter, Munuza talked about the brutality of the security forces, the burning of villages, and of the dead. And then his voice broke.

“Silva couldn’t keep on speaking,” Jones recalled. “He knows people who have been killed.”

The effect on the pastor was profound.

“When I saw a brother in Christ break down four times in the space of five minutes,”  he said,  “I realized that we need to do something.”

That’s why St. Paul’s Presbyterian, a cozy church on a pretty street in small-town Camden County, is praying for Cameroon, a West African nation where six complicated decades of tension between the English-speaking minority and the French-speaking majority threaten to erupt into civil war.

The pastor, Munuza, and others in the church hope to educate the congregation and the public about the situation in that riven, faraway land, and are exploring other ways to help. A good number of the 200 people in the English-speaking Cameroonian community that has taken root in South Jersey during the last 20 years are Presbyterian, and belong to St. Paul’s.

Silva Munuza, center, who emigrated from Cameroon to the United States 10 years ago, prays during Sunday services at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Laurel Springs. Munuza is an elder at the church and is working to educate the congregation about the increasingly deadly political violence in his homeland.

JOSE F. MORENO: Silva Munuza, center, who emigrated from Cameroon to the United States 10 years ago, prays during Sunday services at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Laurel Springs. Munuza is an elder at the church and is working to educate the congregation about the increasingly deadly political violence in his homeland.

I met Munuza there during services on a recent Sunday, and later sat down with him and five other Cameroonians in Fellowship Hall at the church.

Until I started working on this column, pretty much all I’d known about Cameroon was that the Sixers’ amazing Joel Embiid is from there.  I’ve since been reading news stories online and watching YouTube clips about the turmoil, and I’ve seen some of the awful images — a man on his knees being beaten, a charred body in a ruined, roofless house, entire villages reduced to cinders — that have been widely disseminated on social media. I’ve also visited the website of the self-described “interim government” of an envisioned English-speaking, independent Cameroonian state to be called the Federal Republic of Ambazonia.

But nothing prepared me for the conversation around the table.

“My brother died on the spot, and a neighbor who was like a father to me had just left his home and also was killed,” said Ernest Awa, 40, a health-care worker who lives in Lindenwold. “I lost those two people,” he said softly.

Awa was describing the events of Sept. 1 in Pinyin, a village in the northwestern portion of the English-speaking part of the country, where many of the Cameroonians in South Jersey have family. Witnesses posted videos charging security forces the government claims are seeking to quell a separatist rebellion with shooting civilians at will.

“My cousin was killed the same day,” Munuza said. “He had special needs, and when everybody was running, he didn’t know what was happening. He was standing in front of his house, and they shot him.”

At the table, a young Cameroonian woman who lives in Camden County and asked not to be identified because she feared for her family’s safety said she hasn’t been able to reach her father back home for the last two weeks. He’s in his 70s and escaped an attack near Pinyin by hiding in the wilderness, she said.

“I don’t know when I will be able to go back there,” said Valerie Mouthchia, 45, a project manager who lives in Clementon. She has become an American citizen and said the U.S. should not support the government in Cameroon, which she said is responsible for human rights violations there.

The people around the table described the conflict as a colonial legacy made worse by the authoritarian rule of longtime francophone President Paul Biya. The results of a contentious Oct. 7 presidential election are expected to be made public Oct. 22, with some media in the country predicting Biya will win.

Despite the rising numbers of casualties, displaced persons, and refugees — thousands of Cameroonians have fled across the border into Nigeria — Americans generally know little about Cameroon or its escalating crisis.

Pastor Cliff Jones, right, greets Marcel Njighe, who’s originally from Cameroon, at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Laurel Springs. The congregation prays for Cameroon, which some observers describe as on the verge of civil war. Jones said the people in his flock also want to learn more about the situation, and to do more to help.JOSE F. MORENO: Pastor Cliff Jones, right, greets Marcel Njighe, who’s originally from Cameroon, at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Laurel Springs. The congregation prays for Cameroon, which some observers describe as on the verge of civil war. Jones said the people in his flock also want to learn more about the situation, and to do more to help.

Nevertheless, “Americans can become more aware,” Munuza said. “They can call their representatives. They can tweet. They can call for an end to the genocide.”

I asked the pastor of St. Paul’s how even a faith-filled, 360-member-strong congregation could realistically expect to have an impact on a complicated human tragedy so far away.

“For us, prayer is important,” Jones said. “Knowing people who are going through this, whose immediate family members have been killed, brings this to a much more personal level. We need to do something, and not just in words.”

Author: Kevin Riordan 

Source: www2.philly.com

With a seminarian killed in Cameroon, the Bishop of Mamfe Diocese has called on the government to stop wiping out its young people and seek dialogue to end the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.

“This is the cream of the country you are wiping out like that. It is not some foreign country you are fighting or some foreign enemy. These are children of the house. Instead of taking guns and wiping them out, look for a way to dialogue because only dialogue will lead us onto the way of peace,” says Cameroon’s Bishop of Mamfe Diocese, Andrew Nkea. The Bishop of Mamfe spoke earlier to Vatican News on the crisis in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions. Bishop Nkea is attending the Synod of Bishops on Young People currently happening in the Vatican.

Bishop also urges young people to embrace dialogue

The Bishop has also urged young people in the Anglophone regions to embrace dialogue. “My message to the young people who are in the bush fighting and attacking soldiers is that they should also look for a means to dialogue,” he said.

This week, Agenzia Fides reporting from Yaoundé carried the story of a seminarian killed in one of the two English-speaking regions of Cameroon. According to a statement signed by Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua of the Archdiocese of Bamenda, the young seminarian called Gérard Anjiangwe, 19 years old, was killed by a group of soldiers on 4 October in front of the parish Church of Saint Theresa of Bamessing, a village near Ndop in Ngo-Ketunjia.

Eyewitnesses said soldiers arrived at the parish and started shooting and in the process sent parishioners scampering into the Sacristy where they barricaded themselves. Gérard remained praying the rosary outside as soldiers approached him. He was then shot three times in the neck.

The United Nations says the situation is worsening

Last month, September, the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expressed worry over the worsening security situation in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.

According to the UN, there is now a pressing humanitarian situation in the regions.

Source: Vaticannews
The election of Cameroon, in particular, irks local activists who cite that nation’s violence against its own people.

UNITED NATIONS — The UN General Assembly voted in 18 new members to its Human Rights Council on Friday, but several of the nations, critics said, have well-documented records of violating human rights themselves.

The countries voted in are Argentina, Austria, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, India, Italy, the Philippines, Somalia, Togo, and Uruguay.

The election of Cameroon irked local activists who said the central African country of about 25 million people has a long history of marginalizing and committing violence against its own people — and is right now embroiled in an escalating humanitarian crisis bordering on civil war.

“The day that a country where a genocide is actually happening as we speak is elected to the Human Rights Council is a very sad day,” said Patrice Nganang, a Stony Brook University literature professor who was detained in his native Cameroon for three weeks in December after he wrote articles critical of the country’s president, Paul Biya.

The 85-year-old Biya has been in power since 1982 and ran in the last election Oct. 7 for another seven-year term. Election results probably will not be available until later this month.

John Chichester of Northport, who is raising money for refugees from the two-year crisis in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, said it is hypocritical for Cameroon to serve on a panel that will monitor the human rights records of others.

“In my estimation, they have no right being on the Human Rights Council,” said Chichester, who runs the Ambas Bay Refugee Foundation, adding “but neither do so many other really bad actors.”

The vote was open to all 193 member states of the United Nations. India was the top vote-getter, with 188 votes cast in its favor. The countries ran unopposed for the three-year slots, so each member that sought a seat was successful.

One vote was cast for the United States — a write-in, though the United States withdrew from the council this year citing the incongruity in the fact that some members of the council are deemed violators of human rights themselves, and the stated mandate of the body is to monitor human rights.

Monica Grayley, the spokeswoman for UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garces, said the members vote by secret ballot, so she could not say which country cast a vote for the United States.

“Yet again, countries with poor human rights records ran uncontested,” said Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN. “This lack of standards continues to undermine the organization and demonstrates again why the United States was right to withdraw from it earlier this year. The United States will continue to support reforms that would make the Human Rights Council credible. More importantly, the United States will continue to be the world’s human rights leader regardless of the suspect composition and poor decisions of the Human Rights Council.”

The UN General Assembly itself acknowledges the glaring contradiction on its website, where it spells out the council’s duties including “launching fact-finding missions and establishing commissions of inquiry into specific situations.”

The group “meets three times a year to review the human rights records of all UN Member States, in a special process designed to give countries the chance to present the actions they have taken, and what they’ve done, to advance human rights.”

Author: Zachary R. Dowdy

Source: Newsday

The United Nations has caused controversy by appointing countries including Bahrain, Cameroon and the Philippines onto their Human Rights Council.

Bahrain, Cameroon, and the Philippines were among a number of nations controversially elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday, sparking sharp criticism from rights groups and the United States.

Around a third of seats on the 47-member council, based in Geneva, were open for slots lasting from 2019-2022. A 97-vote majority from the 193 nations that make up the UN’s General Assembly is needed for approval.

For the first time since the council was created in 2006, each voting region agreed in advance on 18 candidates to be in the running for 18 seats – removing any competition.

New members Bahrain, Cameroon, the Philippines, Somalia, Bangladesh and Eritrea were elected with between 160 and 178 votes – and immediately drew criticism from activists in Europe and North America dismissing them as “unqualified” due to their human rights records.

“By putting forward serious rights violators and presenting only as many candidates as seats available, the regional groups risk undermining the council’s credibility and effectiveness,” said New York-based Human Rights Watch.

Louis Charbonneau, the group’s UN director, called the vote “ridiculous” and said on Twitter it “makes mockery of (the) word ‘election.’”

At the start of the voting session, the General Assembly’s president, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, noted that every member state is allowed to apply for a seat.

Her spokesman later declined to directly address the criticism, but instead noted: “It’s clear that the world expects that members of international bodies will abide to a certain set of standards of behavior consistent with the bodies they have been elected to.”

Five of the new members were from Africa, five from Asia, two from eastern Europe, three from Latin America and the Caribbean, and three from western Europe.

The United States pulled out of the council in June, calling the organization a “hypocritical” body that “makes a mockery of human rights,” in particular in regard to its stance on Israel.

Nikki Haley, who this week announced her resignation as US ambassador to the UN, said Friday’s vote demonstrates why the US was right to withdraw.

“Yet again, countries with poor human rights records ran uncontested. This lack of standards continues to undermine the organization,” she said.

“The United States will continue to support reforms that would make the Human Rights Council credible.”

Source: citizen.co.za

error: Access Denied!