23, March 2017
A senior Canadian member of parliament, Hélène Laverdiere has written a letter to the Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs on the Southern Cameroons crisis. Hon. Laverdiere who is also a prominent figure in the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Canadian National Assembly observed that the rise of violence between Francophone and Anglophone communities in Cameroon is very disturbing as the next presidential election is scheduled for 2018.
In the letter to Chrystia Freeland, her country’s Foreign Minister, Hélène Laverdiere, spokesperson for the New Democratic Party (NDP) demanded for an update on Canada’s position on the Anglophone crisis. She added that many Canadians have expressed concern about the violation of human rights in Cameroon.
The much respected MP revealed that in addition to the humanitarian crisis and refugees in the Lake Chad region, coupled with the fight against Boko Haram, Cameroon is struggling with a complex internal political crisis. In recent months, the Biya Francophone Beti Ewondo regime 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.
Hélène Laverdiere added to this picture, poverty and unemployment which is very widespread in Cameroon. She hinted that the stability of Cameroon 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 appealed to Chrystia Freeland to communicate with her Cameroon counterparts to offer Canada’s support to end the crisis.
By Chi Prudence Asong with files from Cameroun Info.Net