31 Aug 2018
Joint NGO Letter Calling for Mediation in Cameroon
August 31, 2018
To All UN Security Council Members and UN Member States
We, the undersigned organisations, urge your government to call for mediated dialogue between the parties to the crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon in advance of the October 7, 2018 Presidential Elections.
Over the past two years, the risks of atrocity and violence in Cameroon have escalated rapidly. What began in 2016 as an Anglophone protest movement led by lawyers, teachers, and civil society representatives in response to their perceived marginalization has escalated into a political, humanitarian, and human rights crisis. Government forces have arrested, tortured, and killed civilians, imposed internet blackouts, and burned hundreds of homes in several villages, while some Anglophone groups have declared secession in the northwest and southwest regions, taken up arms against the government, and used violence and intimidation in an effort to block students from attending school.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has estimated that the Anglophone crisis has displaced at least 160,000 people since December 2017, while more than 21,000 others have been forced to seek refuge across the border in Nigeria.
This week, at the UN Security Council's Open Debate on Mediation and Settlement of Disputes, countries took the opportunity to encourage the use of mediation before situations become a threat to international peace and security. Cameroon was highlighted as one such situation.
In response to these calls and within the context of the Secretary-General's Prevention Agenda, the UN Security Council and UN stakeholders should take urgent action to facilitate a mediated solution to this conflict. In order to prevent the crisis in Cameroon from worsening, it is vital that UN member states urgently call for and support mediation between the parties.
Furthermore, UN member states and the Security Council should call upon the Government to uphold its obligations to respect and protect the human rights of civilians and to publicly agree to facilitate an OHCHR investigation into human rights abuses. In addition, the Government should charge or release all people detained in connection with the crisis. It should also fully respect the freedom of the press and ensure that the internet and main broadcast and mobile communications networks remain functional.
We look forward to working with you to encourage the parties in Cameroon to start talking and to work towards a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
1. Access Now
2. Cameroon Humanitarian Relief Initiative
3. Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa
4. Denis Hurley Peace Institute
5. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
6. Nouveaux Droits de l'Homme Cameroun
7. USC International Human Rights Clinic