Members of Common Wealth Journalist Association in Cameroon have condemned the use of forces on striking Lawyers and Anglophone teachers by Government forces while meeting in Limbe on Saturday December 17,2016 ,CJA- Cameroon frowns at the use of excessive force against striking Cameroon Common Law Lawyers and Anglophone Teachers.
During the 2016 Extra Ordinary session the journalists noted:
CJA- Cameroon notes that what has become known today as the Anglophone problem has lingered, but what led to the escalation of the situation on the ground is a strike action started by Cameroon Common Law Lawyers on the 8th of November and Anglophone Teachers on the 21st of November, 2016, demanding the respect of the bi-jural nature of Cameroon as well as the protection of the values enshrined in the Anglophone sub system of education; which industrial actions were and are still being brutally repressed by security and defense forces. Worse still, the Regional Delegate of Communication in Buea and the Senior Divisional Officer for Meme has signed anti-constitutional decisions aimed at stifling press freedom and the free speech in the region.
While acknowledging efforts being made by the government to address these issues through dialogue, CJA- Cameroon points out with dismay that the approach taken by the authorities in arresting protests in the South West and North West Regions resulted in torture, maiming, degrading treatment, looting and wanton destruction of both public and private property in total disrespect of the principles democracy and human rights as stipulated in international instruments to which Cameroon is a signatory. CJA- Cameroon strongly condemns the use of violence in all its forms by whosoever as a way of either presenting or resolving problems.
CJA- Cameroon’s Position
Faced with the prevailing situation in Cameroon at this point in time, CJA- Cameroon considers that bi-cultural concerns can be better handled within a federal system of government. That is why CJA- Cameroon is calling on Cameroonians in general and the government in particular to understand that federalism is not and should never be misconstrued as secession; rather it should be perceived rightly as an alternative approach to governance.
CJA- Cameroon calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all students of the University of Buea still in detention and all charges brought against them dropped. Members of the security and defense forces who carried out the unacceptable exactions on the students should be identified and brought to justice.
– Mindful of the fact that Cameroon is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations,
– Cognizant of the fact that the Commonwealth works to promote democracy, good governance, accountability and respect for human rights and the rule of law,
– Aware of the fact Cameroon is a signatory to the 1971 Declaration of the Commonwealth Principles and the 1991 Harare Commonwealth Declaration,
CJA- Cameroon recommends as follows;
1) That the government engages into concrete, constructive dialogue devoid of threats of all forms with Anglophone advocacy groups.
2) That all parties go to the negotiating table as partners; no party should patronize the other.
3) That the Head of State, His Excellency President Paul Biya directly address the Anglophone problem as a matter of urgency.