PUBLISHED ON November 16, 2019
Since 2016, Cameroon has been going through a serious crisis in its English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions which risks escalating into a full-fledged civil war. Born from the reunion in 1961 of two colonies that were earlier separated by the first world war, Cameroon is composed of eight regions from the former “République du Cameroun” and two regions from the former Southern Cameroons. Initially reunited as a federal republic made-up of two states with equal rights, this arrangement was arbitrarily dissolved by a single party dictatorship that changed the form of the state into a one and indivisible unitary system against the constitutional dispositions in place. It is this situation and many more that has led the English speaking minority to undertake public manifestations against systematic marginalisation. A crack down on these manifestations and the imprisonment of some civil society leaders by the regime brought about a violent reaction by secessionist groups from these regions that has now transformed civil disobedience into a civil war with horrible exactions and violations of basic human rights. Today, there are more than 3.500 casualties, 7.000 injured persons, 60.000 refugees fleeing the regions to neighbouring Nigeria and 450.000 internally displaced persons with many more than have found refuge with family and friends within Cameroon.
In view of this ongoing crisis in Cameroon, notably in the North West and South West regions, the Progressive Alliance:
- Deplores the violence facing the Anglophone communities in this crisis and expresses particular concern over allegations that Government forces are responsible for killings, the burning down of more than 170 villages, excessive use of force and torture.
- Calls on the government of Cameroon to urgently take all necessary measures to bring to an end the civil war in these regions and to all the parties concerned to put an immediate end to all forms of violence and to cease all harassment and intimidation of political activists and citizens, including the ban on peaceful political gatherings, demonstrations and protests, and to take action to clamp down on instances of hate speech.
- Welcomes the holding of the Major National Dialogue as called up by the government and asks it to implement without further delay the agreements obtained during this dialogue as a first necessary step to restore peace and national social cohesion.
- Recognizes the release of some prisoners related to this crisis, calls on the Cameroonian authorities to immediately release all of the prisoners related to this crisis, especially the leadership of the secessionist movements and drop all politically-motivated charges in the context of ensuring fruitful dialogue and lasting peace.
- Demands on the government of Cameroon to put in place without any delays, respectful and independent democratic institutions that can usher the way for democracy and democratic alternance.
- Supports calls from the international community for the Government to launch independent investigations into reports of human rights abuses by state forces; urges the Government to cooperate closely with the UN in this regard.
- Respects the territorial integrity of Cameroon and demands that the government of Cameroon immediately takes significant measures that will put an end to the marginalisation of any of its people.
- Calls on all the parties in the conflict to respect fundamental human rights and on the forces of law and order to exercise restraint.
- Calls on the governments across the world, solidarity movements and the international community to implement the necessary measures to contribute to the restoration of lasting peace with justice and democracy in Cameroon.