Norwegian Refugee Council Urges World To Pay Attention To Humanitarian Outfall Of Southern Cameroons War
The Norwegian Refugee Council humanitarian organization expressed worries on Thursday about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon caused by violent conflict between the government and non-state armed groups and called upon international community to pay attention to the situation.
“We need to scale up the humanitarian response, and there is a need for independent reporting from the international media. But most of all, we urgently need stronger international diplomatic engagement to help solve the conflict,” Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland said.
He pointed out that hundreds of villages in the English-speaking regions had been burnt during the conflict. Moreover, almost a million children did not attend school with tens of thousands of them “hiding in the bushes without any support.” According to Egeland, the locals felt abandoned by the UN and international organizations. In addition, they expected support from their former colonial leadership such as Britain and France.
Egeland urged the international community to help the warring parties to come to terms and to agree on such vital issues as reopening of schools.
Cameroon has been facing separatism in southern regions for decades. The German territory of Cameroon was partitioned between France and Britain under the 1919 League of Nations mandates. The French authorities administered the largest part of the country, while the British mandate comprised two geographically separate territories, Northern Cameroons and Southern Cameroons, which are currently part of Cameroon, called the Southern region.
The separatist crisis in the English-speaking parts of Cameroon sharply deteriorated in late 2016 with an appointment of Francophone judges in the areas. Later, it escalated to a violent conflict between the government and the militants. More than half a million people have fled their homes, according to UN figures. On October 1, 2017, activists from Cameroon’s English-speaking regions proclaimed their independence from country’s French-speaking areas. The declaration came on the anniversary of South Cameroon’s independence from Britain in 1961.