They overpowered mental imprisonment, mustered courage and broke loose the “gates of freedom”. In their dozens and surrounded by armed prison warders, they sang freedom songs, the Ambazonia anthem and even wore the colors of the flag. The Kondengui central prison vibrated to the rhythms of inmates whose faces had little signs of fear. How they managed to smuggle mobile phones, remains a mystery.
The inmates, some arrested since 2016, denounced alleged France’s political manipulation machinery in Cameroon.The dozens of Prisoners held placards calling on the UN, US and European Union to intervene in the armed conflict ongoing in Southern Cameroons. They also said only a ceasefire will make a suitable environment for an effective resumption of school.
A letter sent to CNA purportedly coming from the prisoners to the Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute has given a number of recommendations to end the 3-year-old conflict.
Among others, the demanded the total ceasefire, release of all political prisoners, grant amnesty to all those in exile, prepare a suitable condition for back to school and organized a dialogue that will have big institutions and Countries as guarantors.
THE ANGLOPHONE DETAINEES
Yaoundé Prisons July 20, 2019,
The Prime Minister, The Republic of Cameroun.
-Mindful of the 2016 decision calling for a general strike by Anglo Saxon Teachers Trade Unions to shut down Anglo Saxon schools as from November 21, 2016
– Mindful of the reasons advanced to the Cameroon Government by Anglo Saxon teachers Trade unions for the restructuring and reorganization of the Anglo Saxon system of education
– Mindful of the decision by Common Law Lawyers calling for a general strike against the adulteration of the Common Law system in Cameroun and Southern Cameroons in particular
– Mindful of the General grievances of the former United Nations Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration since October 1961
– Mindful of the awareness and acknowledgment of the Cameroun Government about the existence of the Anglophone Problem – Mindful of the fact that the Cameroun Government opted for a military solution as opposed to a political solution to the Anglophone Crisis on November 30, 2017
– Mindful of the dispositions in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the Freedom of speech, the International covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Commission for People’s and Human Rights which contravenes the trial of Civilians by Military Tribunals
– Mindful of Communication 266/2003 in Kelvin Gunme et Al vs LA Republique du Cameroun which stops the transfer of accused persons from the Anglophone Provinces for trial in the Francophone Provinces
– Mindful of the numerous calls from the National organs and International Community for the need of an Inclusive Dialogue on the Root Causes of the Anglophone Problem
– Mindful of the interest shown by Switzerland, Germany, Canada, and the USA to mediate in the ongoing crisis turned conflict
– Mindful of the tour made by The Prime Minister in the former United Nations Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration calling for an Inclusive Dialogue
– Mindful of the call for a UN-mandated Independent International Fact-Finding Mission to the ongoing conflict in the so-called Anglophone Cameroon region by multiple international Human Rights and civil society organizations including Human Rights Watch, the International Fellowship of Reconciliation (IFOR), CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation Denis Hurley Peace Institute (DHPI) — South Africa, Rev. Dr. J Herbert Nelson, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (USA).
We the Prisoners of conscience from the former United Nations Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons under United Kingdom Administration also referred to as Anglophone Cameroon arrested and detained in the various detention Centers and prisons across Cameroun in connection with the Anglophone Crisis wish to make our position known.
We recognize the importance of education as spelled out by Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, however, children have not been spared from the patterns of violence, they have often been deliberately targeted or insufficiently protected or both.
As such, the resulting Human Rights violations in the Anglophone Regions by the Cameroun Military have very direct consequences for education because the children subject to trauma, insecurity, and displacement that come with arm conflict are unlikely to achieve their potential for learning. The very places that should provide a safe haven for education are viewed as prime targets.
When we think of war, we think of soldiers but they are not the only ones facing violations and death. Children, women, and schools are often on the frontline as well.
The parties in the conflict have to recognize that education is part of the vicious cycle that can reinforce the grievances that fueled the armed conflict in the first place.
In this light, education should be put at the center of a peacebuilding and conflict resolution measure rather than using it for political gains and interests. No defenses are more secure than public attitudes grounded intolerance, mutual respect and committed to dialogue.
In as much as we the prisoners of conscience are not against school resumption for the 2019/2020 Academic year in the conflict Zones, we hereby propose the following measures to be taken;
1- An immediate ceasefire to the hostilities plaguing the Anglophone Regions so as to preserve Human lives being wasted on a daily basis. The right to life is, for the most part, an inalienable right granted to every human upon the planet. It is the responsibility of the state to take drastic action, which can stop civilians from being killed on a daily basis.
2- The demilitarization of the conflict zones which will serve as a constructive tool for cooperation and peace.
3- Assist in the safe return of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Refugees scattered all over Africa and the reconstruction of burnt down homes and villages.
4- Reconstruction and rehabilitation of destroyed educational infrastructures.
5- The release of all Political Prisoners jailed in the various detention centers in Cameroun amongst which are teachers, students, and parents so that they can partake in the school resumption 2019/2020 Academic year.
6- The granting of amnesty to all Anglophones scattered around the world due to the Anglophone Crisis.
7- Set up an immediate program for an inclusive dialogue mediated by Germany, USA, Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), Switzerland, the U.N and the A.U. Putting millions of children that should be in school on the street due to inertia to call for an Inclusive Dialogue exposes them to violence, including sexual violence, gender violence, abduction, and other forms of exploitation and violence against children, and implicitly amounts to enslavement, trafficking of children, and ill-treatment, three of the eleven acts that may amount to a crime against humanity under the Rome Statute. “Since war begins in the mind of men (and women), it is in the mind of men (and women) that the defenses of peace must be constructed”
U. N. E. S. C. O CC
– United Nations Office for Central Africa
– The American Embassy Yaoundé
– The African Union
– The European Union
– The Canadian Embassy Yaoundé
-The Switzerland Embassy Yaounde
– The German Embassy Yaoundé