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Understanding The Un Security Council Meeting On The Humanitarian Crisis In Cameroon

New York (National Natimes)-The attention of the international community on Cameroon at the United Nations should not come as a surprise for anyone following the on-going crisis in Cameroon.

It is important to note that the United Nations Security Council is the most powerful organ of the United Nations Organisation with the main responsibility to maintain international peace and security in the world.

Therefore, when violent conflicts arise, posing threats to international security leading to a humanitarian crisis, it is the responsibility of the Security Council to make sure that the crisis ends and peace is restored in the region or country. It is important to recall that international organisation, both Governmental and non-Governmental, including the Cameroonian civil society continue to report about the deteriorating situation in the North West and South West and the incapability of the Government to resolve the conflict.  In such circumstances, it becomes difficult for the Security Council to remain indifferent to the humanitarian effects of the on-going war in the Anglophone Regions.

For several weeks now, we have observed how these concerns have been raised about the armed conflict in Cameroon by members states of the Security Council and even discussed in the national parliaments of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, and including that of the European Union. However, the response of the Government of Cameroon by every indication has failed to be reassuring, remaining obstinate in its position of refusing to dialogue and always claiming that Cameroon is a sovereign state and needs no outside intervention in its internal affair.

The reaction of the regime of Paul Biya seems to portray that it undermines the fact that the concept of national sovereignty has evolved in International Relations. Today, the sovereignty of the State is more perceived from the perspective of the Government’s responsibility to protect its citizens than protecting the national emblems and its territorial integrity. International Relations have evolved today as it considers human security more important than national security.

This development in International Relations comes from the fact that since we live in a global village today, the world has become fed up of witnessing horrible scenes like the genocide and war crimes in Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur, etc, where the international community failed to intervene and witnessed the killing of millions of people. These tragic episodes of mass killings brought the international community to say that never again should these atrocities happen without the intervention of the international community.

It is for this reason that in 2005, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the responsibility to protect doctrine, also known as R2P, which first compels individual states and then the international community to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

Given that the United Nation Security Council is directly responsible to ‘take collective action’ if the national authority ‘manifestly fails’ to protect its population from atrocities as stipulated in paragraph 139 of the document of R2P, it, therefore, becomes natural for the Security Council, given the various warnings to the Cameroonian Government to resolve this conflict without the use of arms through it members states, to be concern about the increasing number of deaths and the more than 500,000 people who have been displaced from their home among which more than 32,000 are refugees in Nigeria.

However, it is worth mentioning that this is an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council, which implies that these are just the preliminary stages to evaluate whether it is necessary for the United Nations Security Council to take measures to solve the humanitarian crisis going on in Cameroon.

Therefore, as expected with an informal meeting, no decisions or resolution are taken. Also, it is important to note that most often in such meetings, no records or press releases are issued. However, the Security Council may deem it necessary to open serious investigation on the situation in Cameroon in order to look at the case more closely. It is still possible for a participant in the informal meeting to give an informal media stakeout to the press.

There is no doubt that this meeting of the Security Council will have a significant impact on the turn of events as the international community will pay more attention to everything going on in Cameroon, considering that it is the United States of America that seems to have initiated the meeting and the influence that it has on the world. This shows us that the response of the Government to the international community concerning the humanitarian crisis in the Anglophone Regions has not been satisfactory. As the situation continues to worsen, the international community is sending a warning that it is not ready to stay silent to the humanitarian crisis in Cameroon. Let us not forget that in April, apart from the resolution of the European Parliament on the Anglophone Crisis, we also saw the reaction of Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), an organisation acting on the ground.

Mr. Egeland, former Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affair and Emergency Relief Coordinator calling the international committee to act now or face disaster in Cameroon.


Wanah Immanuel Bumakor

Specialist In International Relations

Consultant In Peace And Development



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