Hélène Laverdiere, MP and spokesperson for the NDP for Foreign Affairs, fears the rise of violence between Francophone and Anglophone communities in Cameroon as the next presidential election is scheduled for 2018.
The crisis that has plagued Cameroon’s English-speaking regions for several months now is a concern for Canadians. In a letter to Chrystia Freeland, her country’s Foreign Minister, Canadian MP Hélène Laverdiere, spokesperson for the New Democratic Party (NDP) for Foreign Affairs, asked for an update on Canada’s position on this issue. She speaks to the voices of many Canadians who have expressed concern about the violation of human rights in Cameroon.
“In addition to the humanitarian crisis and refugees in the Lake Chad region, combined with the fight against Boko Haram, Cameroon is struggling with a complex internal political crisis. In recent months, Paul Biya‘s government in power since 1982 has restricted the rights of Anglophone Cameroonians. Reports indicate that freedom of the press is reduced, civil society organizations have been dismantled, schools have been closed and electronic communications are interrupted in the English-speaking regions, “the parliamentarian said in his correspondence.
Hélène Laverdiere fears the rise of violence between Francophone and Anglophone communities as the Cameroonian presidential elections are due to take place in 2018. When she adds to this picture, poverty and unemployment “very widespread” in Cameroon, she considers that The stability of the country is threatened. Hence the need for an intervention by Canada, which, like Cameroon, has English and French as its official languages.
“As a country with two official languages, Canada is well positioned to play a positive and constructive role in encouraging respect for people, including those related to language, in Cameroon. Canada also has some expertise in conflict prevention and mediation that could be crucial to a political solution to this crisis, “she noted.
She calls Chrystia Freeland to communicate with her Cameroon counterparts to offer Canada’s support to end the crisis.