The Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights presents:
Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Anglophone Cameroon: How Can Canada Help?
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
4 to 6 p.m.
Human Rights Research and Education Centre
Fauteux Hall, FTX570
(57 Louis-Pasteur Private, uOttawa)
All are welcome. | Event in English.
Cameroon is a bilingual and bi-jural country as a consequence of its colonial past. In reality, the Anglophone system is confined to two regions out of ten in the North West and South West of Cameroon. Concerns have increasingly been expressed by the public and professionals in these regions, in particular, barristers, teachers and journalists that the Anglophone system and English language is receding due to the increasing appointment of public officials in local administration that speak only French and are not familiar with the Anglophone legal or educational systems.
Since late October 2016, Cameroon’s English-speaking regions have experienced continued unrest in protest of the predominance of French language and its influence in key sectors such as secondary education or legal practice. The protesters have been calling for an end of the use of the French language in courts and schools, among other demands. The protests began after an indefinite strike by school teachers in the city of Bamenda, and by youth protesting against alleged neglect of the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. The reaction of Cameroonian authorities was immediate: soon the Internet was shut down in the whole region and the military was sent to silence protestors by any means, including by firing live bullets at protestors.
Barrister Felix Agbor Balla and Dr. Fontem Aforteka’a Neba, respectively president and secretary-general of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC) were both arrested on 17 January despite having just co-signed a statement calling for demonstrations to be held without violence. The CASC was immediately banned. Other barristers went into hiding in fear of arrest. Multiple people were arrested, including journalist Mancho Bibixy and 25 other teachers and members of the public that stand trial in this same case.
Felix Nkongho was released in August 2017. He is invited to give a talk to the Human Rights Research and Education Centre of the University of Ottawa on the 29th October 2018 where he will discuss the root causes and the triggers of October unrest in the Anglophone Cameroon, as well as the overall human rights and humanitarian situation in that region. He will also elaborate on how Canada can help to resolve the crisis peacefully.
- Felix NKONGHO | Human Rights Lawyer, Founder and Executive Director, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa & President, Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC)
Felix Nkongho is a Cameroonian human rights lawyer with a long history of human rights work both domestically and at the international level. He is the founder and executive director of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, and president of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium (CACSC), an organization which works to promote anglophone rights in primarily French-speaking Cameroon.
In January 2017, he was arbitrarily arrested; held in incommunicado detention; and charged by a military court with a number of offenses involving terrorism; rebellion against the State; incitement of civil unrest and breach of the Constitution. He was released in August 2017, and all the charged were dropped.