The UN has finally declared a humanitarian crisis in the Anglophone region of Cameroon and is seeking US$15 million to deliver life-saving assistance and prevent further hardship for the affected population. Coincidentally this is coming just a few days after the US decided it will be by-passing the United Nations in the delivery of aid in certain conflict zones.
A very new and interesting development is the UN’s acknowledgement of the need to equally request for protection assistance to be provided to the civilian population in #WestCameroon. What this means is that the Cameroon government alone cannot be relied upon to provided the needed protection to the affected civilian population.
Within the UN context, protection encompasses all activities aimed at ensuring full respect for the rights of individuals in accordance with human rights law, international humanitarian law (which applies in situations of armed conflict) and refugee law. (UNOCHA)
This has wide-ranging implications and changes the way the conflict is perceived by the international community. It means the UN has also officially acknowledged the existence of an « organized » armed party, with whom to engage in negotiations to ensure the protection of civilians.
As stated in UN docs, in situations of armed conflict, all parties to the conflict, i.e. States and organized armed groups, must respect and protect civilians. When national authorities or other parties to the conflict are unable or unwilling to meet these obligations, humanitarian organizations may—with the parties’ consent—provide assistance to the affected population.
We will soon start hearing phrases like a call for a ceasefire to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid. This is not good news for the government of La Rep. du Cameroun. Should the Cameroon government carry on with its gross human rights abuses on the current scale across the region, it will face more international condemnation, thus justifying the need for intervention to protect the civilian population. A regime guilty of targeted summarily killings cannot be trusted to protect the very population it is targetting.
Source: Eric Acha