22.- 25.9
2020

P 24

The ‘Anglophone’ Conflict in Cameroon: Causes, Consequences and Conflict Resolution?

James Kewir Kiven, University of Buea and African Leadership Centre, Kings College London,
Gordon Crawford, Coventry University and University of Freiburg

Short abstract:

The current ‘Anglophone’ conflict in Cameroon is an internationally neglected civil war, one having a devastating impact on civilian populations. This panel seeks to highlight the causes and consequences and possible means of conflict resolution, notably through the efforts of CSOs in a highly constrained environment.

Long abstract:

The ‘Anglophone’ conflict in bi-lingual Cameroon is an internationally neglected civil war, ongoing since 2016, between government security forces and separatist groups calling for an independent state in the Anglophone regions. The conflict continues to escalate and English-speaking civilians have suffered wide-ranging and brutal abuses, with over 200 villages burnt-down, thousands killed, over half a million internally displaced people, and
tens of thousands of external refugees (Norwegian Refugee Council, May 2019). Civil society organisations (CSOs) have been involved in various ways from the onset of the conflict, with lawyers’ groups and teachers’ associations involved in the initial protests that led to a government crackdown, as well as in national and international efforts to resolve the conflict. Yet CSOs face major constraints in a context where an autocratic central state is engaged in a counter-insurgency military campaign.

This panel will draw attention to this often overlooked and neglected conflict, despite its daily death toll and militarised nature. The panel welcomes a focus on various aspects of the conflict, including the following topics. It will explore the impact of the conflict on
civilian populations and the humanitarian consequences, including gendered aspects. It will examine the historical roots and longstanding issues that underpin the conflict from the post-World War I League of Nations mandate onwards, inclusive of more recent spatial and linguistic inequalities that gave rise to the current civil war.

The panel aims to focus in particular on the role of CSOs in conflict resolution, including women’s organisations, and the challenges faced in striving to achieve dialogue between warring factions that include the state itself. This focus could include the role of the media and its coverage of the conflict. It also wishes to draw on lessons from comparative cases on the role of CSOs in conflict resolution in other African countries.

 

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