New York (National Times)-History would recall that for the first time since the conflict in Anglophone Cameroon erupted in 2016, the most powerful institution in the world, the UN Security Council (UNSC) met to discuss the prevailing situation in country.
Contrary to many reports, it was an Arria Council meeting and not a formal UNSC meeting which falls in the official agenda of the Council.
The meeting was organised at the behest of the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Dominican Republic.
It would be noted that it was another major diplomatic push as members of the European Union do not regularly contradict each other diplomatically especially in terms of their respective interest.
But in the case of Cameroon, while France vehemently opposed to the deal, Germany and the United Kingdom supported it.
However, with the influence of France as a permanent Security Council member and following a systematic lobbying, the case of Cameroon was unable to feature in the official programme of the UNSC meetings, which would have likely ended with a resolution sanctioning the deliberations.
Apart from the regulars of the UNSC and panellists, who were brought in to specifically inform the Council of the humanitarian and security situation on the ground, among them was the UN under Secretary General in charge of Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock.
Also in attendance was the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Jan Egeland, who was former UN Human Rights Chief. Egeland recently visited Cameroon and blamed the international community for not doing more to address the conflict in Cameroon.
In one of his outings in Buea where he met with IDPs, Egeland blamed the international media for given a shallow coverage of the events in Southern Cameroons.
Representing the Civil Society from Cameroon was Esther Omam Njomo, Executive Director of Reach Out Cameroon.
While the session was going on, uninvited guests also gathered around the UN compound in New York.
They included tens of Southern Cameroons/Ambazonia activists who came to pressurise the UNSC to take the case of Cameroon seriously.
As they sang and danced, they called on the United Nations to immediately intervene in Cameroon and avert a similar Rwanda-styled genocide.
Results Of Deliberations
At the end of the day, the following countries praised and voted to support the initiatives of the Biya regime. Top among these countries was France, followed by Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Belgium, the only European country to follow the traits of France.
It should be noted that things became accelerated after the EU Parliamentary resolution last month which urged UNSC to take action, but France being a permanent member with veto power blocked the case of Cameroon to feature on the formal agenda of the UNSC.
However, many other countries frowned at the efforts of the Government which to them lacks the political will to end the conflict and instead promotes gross human rights violation.
They include the United States of America which spearheaded the Arria meeting, Dominican Republic, Germany, Great Britain, Peru, South Africa, India, Kuwait, Poland and Russia. China opted for a neutral stance.
Origins of Arria Meetings
Arria Council meetings were initiated in 1992 during the Bosnia Herzegovina conflict where mass atrocities were committed.
In March 1992, during the Presidency of Venezuela at the UNSC, a Croatian Priest, Fra Joko Zovko contacted Ambassador Diego Arria, urging him to convey to the Council first-hand accounts of the atrocities on-going in Bosnia Herzegovina.
Unable to get it on the official agenda of the UNSC, Ambassador Diego brought the witness and assembled council members at the lounge of the building for an informal meeting.
From there, the practice grew bigger with topics unable to be entertained by Council members being treated in such meetings which were named after the Venezuelan diplomat.
From the lounge, Arria sessions moved to the basement hall of the UN and became an important part of the life of the UNSC.
In some cases even non-members of the UNSC do take part in Arria sessions. In recent times they have become very popular and they remain the only hope for countries whose cases have been blocked from featuring in the main agenda of the UNSC because it contravenes the interest of a member of the council.