Europe must show more effort to promote peace and human rights in Cameroon

Increasing violence must finally be taken seriously (Press Release)

The head of state, Paul Biya, is whitewashing the dramatic situation. The European Union must consider targeted sanctions to force the aging head of state. Picture: UN Photo/Marco Castro via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

According to the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), Germany should show more commitment towards the peace process in Cameroon. “If the aim is to reduce flight and migration from Africa, Germany must not just stand by and watch while Cameroon sinks into civil war. Germany and the European Union must no longer close their eyes to the escalating refugee crisis in West Africa,” emphasized Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Wednesday. There are already 276,000 people on the run from the violence in Cameroon. If Cameroon’s leadership is not willing or able to find a political solution to the dispute over the future of the Anglophone parts of the country, the European Union (EU) must consider targeted sanctions to force the aging head of state, Paul Biya, not to whitewash the dramatic situation any longer. This Thursday, the German Bundestag will discuss the situation in the West African country – at the request of the FDP and the Green party (Bündnis 90 / die Grünen).

Last Thursday, the Catholic seminarian Gérard Anjiangwe was shot dead by soldiers in front of a church in the city of Ndop. Another three members of the Anglophone population got killed last Sunday in the city of Bamenda. In total, more than 400 civilians and 176 members of the security forces got killed since the conflict broke out in 2016.

The human rights advocate strongly criticized the ignorance with which Cameroon’s government reacted to the increasing violence in Anglophone regions. President Paul Biya, who has been in office for 36 years, had praised the presidential election on Sunday, stating that the elections had been carried out in “calm and serenity”, even in the Anglophone regions. Three people had been shot dead on that day, and the people in the English-speaking areas were afraid to go out on the streets for fear of further violence. “Due to violence, only 79 of the planned 2,343 election offices were opened. Thus, it is absolutely cynical to speak of normality in the English-speaking regions,” Delius emphasized.

The independence movement in the Anglophone regions is strong – which is also due to the failure of the colonial powers. While focusing on access to oil reserves, they had largely ignored the interests of the English-speaking minority in the former German colony. There must be initiatives to find a political solution to the escalating conflict in order to curb violence effectively.

Header picture: UN Photo/Marco Castro via Flickr