London Political Summit 2017
“Nationalistic Tendencies: What Future For Global Citizenship?”
Sisiku Julius Ayuk Tabe
Interim Government of UN-Recognized Southern Cameroons
or Self-Proclaimed Republic of Ambazonia, West Africa
London, United Kingdom
October 23, 2017
Identified people with defined territories seeking nationalism towards recognition in the international community of states in rising throughout the world including in Africa. Four recent independence events confirm this trend. On June 23, 2016, the British people voted “yes” in the Brexit referendum to leave the European Union. Two recent referendums — one held in the Iraqi Kurdistan region on September 25 and the other in Spain’s Catalonia on October 1 — resulted in overwhelming victories for “yes” voters calling for secession. And in Africa — the independence proclamation and celebration in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions on October 1, resulted in at least 300 dead, 500+ maimed, 2000+ missing and 40000+ refugees. Southern Cameroon movements seeking secession from La Republic du Cameroun was already underway since 1961 and many of the political developments and non-violent protests emerging since October 2016 are direct manifestations of its resurgence.
However, when Southern Cameroons independence is discussed, it is usually understood to mean, disgruntlement of young Anglophone Cameroonians abroad who do not sympathize with the Government of La Republic du Cameroun and had been prevailing since the Foncha era. And it is also understood to characterize what is exactly opposite to state unity, democracy and globalization. Worst, it is branded a “terrorist group.” If explicitly expressed in such statement, it is obviously wrong. There have been, are still and will be popular feelings towards national consciousness in Southern Cameroons: attachment to “Southern Cameroons”, loyalty to the state of Southern Cameroons, desire to have pride of being Southern Cameroons, fondness of Southern Cameroons culture and life-style and love of native-land. Those phenomena, often taken for granted and suppressed by existing Cameroon’s Paul Biyagovernment, characterize basic features of a modern independent-democratic-sovereign Southern Cameroons. A rare perspective and understanding of Southern Cameroons’ complete and unconditional independence rest in the answers to questions: What is the nature of Southern Cameroons nationalistic tendency, how does it differ from other secessionist movements, and what impact does it has on British foreign policy attitudes?
For Southern Cameroonians, more than seven-million indigenes at home and in the diaspora, have decided they cannot secure their rights within the framework of the Cameroon’s Paul Biya government, and must separate from it. The people recognize they live in an occupied territory called Southern Cameroon and the occupying power La Republic du Cameroun has no intention of extending the full rights of citizenship to them or of complying with constitutional principles. Although we favored enforcing constitutional compliance within the existing union with La Republic du Cameroun Government for over half a century unsuccessfully, independence is the only way.
Good morning.Thank you to the organizers and sponsors of this meeting. A special thanks to the chair of this session.
As we’ve already heard this morning, we come together in London at a remarkable time. We live in a world of constant and at times turbulent change.
So let me start by explaining the background. As you may know, UN-recognized former British Trusteeship Territory Southern Cameroons (and self-proclaimed Federal Republic of Ambazonia) is a unique case of recognized people and territory seeking recognition of its sovereignty, independence and democratic state in the international community of nations using legal and diplomatic frameworks and institutions with the ultimate goal of urging Mr. Paul Biya, President of La Republic du Cameroun, together with his appointed officials and defence forces station in our territory, to seize all activities and depart our homeland that they have illegally occupied and in turn enslaved our citizens for more than 56 years.
And when we think of the non-negotiable resolve and resilience of the over 8-million people of Southern Cameroons in the homeland and more than 3-million who have acquired refuge in scores of democratic-peace loving countries across the world including the United Kingdom, we are clearly dealing with a growing problem – a problem in need of urgent and new solutions.
I would like to take a few minutes this morning to ground ourselves in the problem and then talk together about some of the solutions I believe we have the opportunity to pursue together.
But let’s start with the problem. The problem is clear. We see them everywhere. We see them in the actions of the President, Government and people of LRC toward the territory, resources and people of Southern Cameroons. We see this in the enslavement, abuse and violation of the rights of the people of Southern Cameroons.
But more than anything, if you think about what has happened over the 56 years, if you think about the recent massacre and destruction of property of the people of Southern Cameroons by the armed security and defense forces of LRC following the largest peaceful protest staged by the citizens of Southern Cameroons globally on September 22 and the independence self-declaration by the people of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia on October 1, I think we should come together and reflect on one thing, one thing that has clearly made the situation even more challenging – that is the drive for people to seek unorthodox means like North Korea and Iran to create their statehood and ensure their survival. We’ve seen my people use only their voice and bare hands to seek freedom and they have been killed in return, injured, kidnapped and dehumanized by LRC army. This is unacceptable, unsustainable and cannot be tolerated any longer.
And think about these facts. First,the pioneer President of La Republique du Cameroun Mr. Amadou Ahidjo proclaimed independence of La Republique du Cameroun from France on 1 January 1960 and Southern Cameroons was not a part of his territory. Second, international law provides the international boundary that separates Southern Cameroons from La Republic du Cameroun. Third, despite a UN-sponsored referendum in 1961 in which Southern Cameroons voted to join La Republic as equal partners, neither the parliament of Southern Cameroons and La Republic ratified and deposited the instruments with the UN. Therefore,no agreement or treaty or convention establishes and binds a union between Southern Cameroons and La Republique du Cameroun, per Article 102(1) of the UN Charter. To that end, LRC illegally and forcefully annexed Southern Cameroons. Yet, we’ve seen these issues burst into the news in terms of geopolitical controversies. We’ve seen them become even more pronounced. And the world powers must stand up and lead the world toward global citizenship, peace and stability.
I think there are three things that we should consider enhancing Southern Cameroon achieve statehood and become a global citizen, and I’d like to talk about each of these three this morning.
First, for the sake of world peace and the respect of the value of human life, the international community must urge Mr. Paul Biya of LRC to seize all military campaigns in the territory of Southern Cameroons and withdraw all forces to its internationally recognized boundaries, which are the boundaries LRC inherited from colonization.
Second, the international community using appropriate forums such as United Nations, European Union and African Union have to apply the principles of international law to its case. This should include a UN sponsored referendum for Southern Cameroonians to fully restore their independence and statehood under international law and institutions.
Third, the international community have to initiate an investigation into the unlawful killings, injure and disappearances of thousands of family members and loved ones of Southern Cameroons and hold Mr. Paul Biya and his government and defence forces accountable for all crimes committed against humanity under international law.
As we think about Nationalistic tendencies: What future for global citizenship, achieving global peace and security as we think about addressing theillegal annexation of the territory and people of Southern Cameroons by LRC, this forum is a powerful force that should inspire us, and on which we can build to use international laws and instructions to build on my recommendations.Let’s use that inspiration. Let’s use what we have learned. Let’s build on what we share with each other. And let’s go forward and show the world that it needs us to be what we can be when we’re at our best – free nationals and democratic states with working for global peace. A global society that earns everyone’s trust every day. A world that even in an age of nationalism, is a peace loving community of states on which everyonedepend and rely for peace and security.
Thank you very much.