Dated November 12. 2019, some 50 Cameroonian human rights defenders, lawyers, professors and activists across the world have teamed up to address an open letter to French president Emmanuel Macron.
They decry cases of human rights abuse in Cameroon and call on the French government to act urgently to prevent more killings on the Anglophone crisis
[ Published as addressed to Mr Macron]
Dear President Emmanuel Macron,
We, the intellectuals, writers, and human rights lawyers undersigned, write to implore France to strengthen its commitment to the resolution of the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, described by some analysts as “Rwanda in slow motion”.
Specifically, we respectfully urge France to use its considerable influence on the government of President Paul Biya to encourage Cameroon to openly join the peace talks led by Switzerland, which would make it possible to stop the murders and atrocities perpetrated in the country. North West and South West regions of the country. A durable solution must come from a mediation process that includes English-speaking armed separatist groups and non-violent civil society leaders.
It’s urgent; the dehumanizing violence in Cameroon must not reach the same extent as that which occurred in Rwanda in 1994. On the one hand, non-state armed groups and bandits use machetes to maim, torture and decapitate, on the other hand. Government forces commit crimes against humanity such as extrajudicial executions and burnt villages.
Journalists, opposition politicians and other civilians are wrongly detained. More than half a million Anglophones are displaced while fleeing violence. Hundreds of thousands of children have missed school for more than three years, and according to recent United Nations reports, 1.4 million people are at risk of starvation.
France and the international community are no doubt aware that the recent Grand National Dialogue organized by Cameroon did not adequately address the Anglophone crisis. As a result, violence has persisted in English-speaking areas since the end of the dialogue on October 4.
The Great National Dialogue and the release of political prisoners have been a step in the right direction. However, the dialogue does not address the root causes of the conflict; it excluded any discussion of other forms of governance and did not offer sufficient security guarantees to diaspora and separatist leaders. In other words, it did not put an end to the atrocities or produced an acceptable or viable political solution for the English-speaking regions. The talks led by Switzerland now seem to be the only way to reach an appropriate political solution, through an inclusive negotiating table.
Mr. President, we hope that you personally and your country, France, value your historical relations and your ties with Cameroon, and wish for the return of peace in this country. We believe that France does not want to be complicit in another genocide in Africa after Rwanda and that it take all possible measures now. Please strongly promote the Swiss talks so that villainous violence can cease immediately, that human rights are respected and that normalcy returns to English-speaking and French-speaking Cameroon.
Cameroonians and Cameroonians, brothers, sisters and friends of Cameroon in France as well as the whole world are waiting for you.
Signatories of open letter to Emmanuel Macron
- Alphonsus BM Gbanie, Executive Secretary, Human Rights Defenders Network – SL, Sierra Leone
- Awada Ali Yakhoub, National President of AECPEM, Association for Koranic Education and Protection of Mouhadjirine Children, Chad
- Center for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa
- CLEEN Foundation, Nigeria
- Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations – CEHRO, Ethiopia
- Cory Williams, Co-Founder, Darfur and Beyond, USA
- Kenya Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, Kenya
- Dr. Al Sutton, Africa Freedom Coalition, USA
- Dr. Charlotte Walker-Said, John Jay College, City University of New York, USA
- Dr. Elisa von Joeden-Forgey, Dr. Marsha Raticoff Grossman Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Stockton University; Former President, Genocide Watch; Former First Vice President, International Association of Genocide Scholars, USA
- Dr. Gerald Bareebe, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto – Scarborough, Canada
- Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, Founding President, Genocide Watch, USA
- Dr. James Angove, Lecturer in Moral and Political Philosophy, University of Oxford, UK
- Dr. Lynn Cockburn, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Canada
- Dr. Manjeet Ramgotra, Lecturer in Law, SOAS, University of London, UK
- Dr. Michael Minch, Peace and Justice Studies, Utah Valley University, USA
- Dr. Piet Konings, Honorary Fellow, African Studies Center, University of Leiden, The Netherlands
- Dr. Robert K. Hitchcock, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, USA
- Dr. Roxana Willis, Researcher in Law and Criminology, University of Oxford, UK
- Dr. Samuel Totten, Professor Emeritus, University of Arkansas, USA
- Eric Cohen, Chairperson and Co-Founder, Investors Against Genocide, USA
- Esther Sprague, Director, Sudan Unlimited, USA
- Francis Kpatindé, Associate Professor, Sciences Po Paris, France
- Fred Muvunyi, Editor, Germany’s International Broadcaster DW; Consultant, Freedom House; Op-Ed contributor, The Washington Post, Germany
- Gabriel Stauring, Stop Genocide Now, USA
- George Shirinian, Executive Director, Zoryan Institute, Canada
- Jeffrey Smith, Executive Director, Vanguard Africa, USA
- Jonathan Osei Owusu, Executive Director, POS Foundation; Vice Chairman, Ghana Human Rights NGOs Forum; Convener, West African Human Rights Defenders Network – Ghana chapter and UN UPR, Ghana
- Kim Klett, Educators’ Institute for Human Rights, USA
- Kyle Matthews, Executive Director, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Canada
- Lauren Fortgang, Director and Co-Founder, Never Again Coalition, USA
- Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada
- Linda Melvern, Author: A Betrayed People – The role of the west in Rwanda’s genocide; Conspiracy to Murder – The Rwandan genocide, UK
- Ms. Mama Koité Doumbia, President of the MUSONET / Mali Network; Africa Representative to Trust Funds for Victims of the International Criminal Court / ICC; Member of FemWise Africa / African Union; President of the Platform of Women Leaders of Mali; Member of the UN Women West and Central Africa Advisory Group; Member of the Francophone Network Equality Women Men / OIF, Mali
- Martha Boshnick, Co-chair, Darfur Interfaith Network, USA
- Ndifuna Mohammed, Executive Director, Justice Access Point – Uganda (JAP), Uganda
- Pearl Eliadis, Human Rights Lawyer and Adjunct Professor of Law, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Canada
- Professor Adam Jones, Political Science, University of British Columbia, Canada
- Professor Amanda Hammar, Director, Center for African Studies, University of Copenhagen; President, Africa-Europe Group for International Studies (AEGIS), Denmark
- Professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddin, SOAS, University of London, UK
- Professor David Livingstone Smith, University of New England, USA
- Professor Elisabeth Weber, University of California – Santa Barbara, USA
- Professor Gareth Austin, Professor of Economic History, University of Cambridge, UK
- Professor Ian Taylor, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews, UK
- Professor Alton of Liverpool, Liverpool Hope University, UK
- Professor William Felstiner, Cardiff University, UK
- Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights, Canada
- Rebecca Tinsley, Founder, Waging Peace, UK
- Sam Weller, Canadians for Peace in Cameroon, Canada
- Terry Nickelson, Executive Director, Our Humanity in the Balance, USA