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Anglophone crisis: Great Britain acknowledges 1961 referendum in Cameroon and dismisses SCNC request for independence

Anglophone crisis: Great Britain acknowledges 1961 referendum in Cameroon and dismisses SCNC request for independence
  • Comments   -   Friday, 15 September 2017 02:43

(Business in Cameroon) - We know a bit more about the reasons for the flat refusal handed, on 8 September 2017, by the Queen Elisabeth II of England, to representatives of the secession movement demanding the partition of Cameroon. Indeed, they were not received at the Buckingham palace, as desired.

The fact is that, since the social protest movements started, later leading to secessionist demands in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon in 2016, Great Britain has taken a stance on this situation, after several discussions with the Cameroonian authorities.

This is at least what revealed an official correspondence from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, signed on 2 May 2017 by Tobias Ellwood, in charge of relations with Africa and the Middle East. The letter is addressed to a member of the House of Commons (J. Cunningham), the lower house in the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

 “With regard to the initiative from Mr. Sam Egbe on the independence, it is important to highlight that, firstly, the United Kingdom recognises the results of the referendum organised in 1961 by the United Nations in territories under British rule in Africa. The two regions which make up Southern Cameroon agreed to become a part of francophone Cameroon”, recalls Tobias Ellwood.

He continues: “in 2003, the Southern Cameroon National Council (SCNC) failed in its claims for independence, in front of the African Commission on Human and People’s rights. This petition was rejected in 2009 by the Commission, who called for positive dialogue between the parties. The United Kingdom encourages all parties to accept and work from this recommendation, to build a stable and prosperous future for all Cameroonians”.

But, before this rather sententious conclusion, Tobias Ellwood recalled the steps taken by the British High Commission in Yaoundé, before adopting his position. “Our High Commissioner in Yaoundé is following the situation closely in the North-West and South-West regions of Cameroon. We will continue to do so with the Cameroonian government. The British High Commissioner met with the President of the Republic on 7 March, and I have discussed with the Minister of Foreign Relations, Mr. Mbella, on 19 April 2017, to talk about the tensions in the South-West and North-West regions”.

During these different discussions with the Cameroonian authorities, highlights Tobias Ellwood, “we called for the end of the use of force by the different protagonists, the obligation of respecting human rights standards, and the use of legal means to solve this crisis. We also called for a return to normal in the dialogue in the two regions”.

Brice R. Mbodiam   

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