INTERVIEW: Cameroon Conflict ‘One Of The Great Neglected Conflicts Of Our Times’

Cameroon Conflict 'One Of The Great Neglected Conflicts Of Our Times'

A group of Nobel Prize laureates in an interview with DW Television urged the government of Cameroon and separatist rebel forces to cease fighting and let health workers tackle the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

The Global Campaign for Peace and Justice in Cameroon on Monday asked the African Union, the Commonwealth and La Francophonie to urge the government of Cameroon to call for a “COVID-19 ceasefire.”

Seven of the group’s Nobel Prize laureates and former heads of states include 2018 laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege, former president of South Africa FW de Klerk and three former United States ambassadors to Cameroon.

The group describe the Cameroon conflict as ‘one of the great neglected conflicts of our times’

“I think there’s many people in the world right now who don’t know about Cameroon. It’s one of the great neglected conflicts, I think, of our times (…) I think it’s to the discredit of the UN Security Council that it has not formally addressed the conflict there,” Dr Simon Adams, director of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect told DW in an interview.

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“We want to see more international attention brought to what is one of the most devastating conflicts affecting Western Africa at the moment,” said Adams addressing why he had joined a number of former heads of state and Nobel Prize winners to sign a declaration demanding the Cameroonian government and separatists call a ceasefire in the country’s Anglophone regions.”

“Here is an identity based conflict happening in the Anglophone areas of Cameroon (…) Anglophone villages are being burnt down because they’re full of Anglophone speakers. We see definitely what I would consider to be mass atrocity crimes, including crimes that could rise the level of crimes against humanity under international law,” said Adams.

“I hope we’re not in a pre-genocidal situation,” he said, adding: “the targeting of anybody on the basis of their identity, of their language, of the community to which they belong is something we should be extremely concerned about. And that’s what we see in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon for years.”

Adams stressed the necessity of international pressure: “This is a government that does not feel the pressure of the international community at the moment, so it is able to fend off that international attention while making some statements about how it’s going to hold a dialogue but not actually change the situation on the ground.”

Adams: “I think what is lacking at the moment is the sense of seizing the moment and a sense of political vision about how to build a better Cameroon and to deal with the situation in the Anglophone region. At the moment, that only seems to be a question of bayonets and bullets. And that is not going to solve this problem.”

Watch the interview:

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