Category Archives: Latest News

UN calls for human rights abuses investigation in Cameroon conflict – Mission Network News

Cameroon (MNN) — Regional violence in Cameroon has stretched on for 18 months, and the United Nations is saying ‘enough’. UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein recently demanded the Cameroonian government launch an independent investigation on human rights abuses by State forces.

English-speakers in western Cameroon are vying for autonomy, since they feel underrepresented by the government. But when separatists started protesting, French-speaking State forces lashed out with brutal force.

(Photo courtesy of Efi Tembon via Facebook)

Since then, people in Anglophone regions have suffered attacks, random shootings, and rape. Soldiers have burned down entire villages — sometimes with family members still inside their homes.

Efi Tembon, the Executive Director of the Cameroon Association for Bible Translation and Literacy (CABTAL), a partner of Wycliffe Associates, shares, “More than 2,000 people have been killed so far since this started, and more than 170 villages have been burned, and more than 200,000 people are displaced, and more than 100,000 people are refugees in Nigeria.”

Along with condemnation from the UN, Tembon is hoping for United States involvement and enforced accountability for the Cameroonian government.

“We started a campaign here with the US Congress. The US government has been supporting the Cameroon military, providing training, providing material support. This provision was for the fight against Boko Haram. It was well-intentioned, but you know with good intentions, sometimes they have unintended consequences. These are being used now to fight against the…people,” says Tembon.

(Photo courtesy of Efi Tembon via Facebook)

“We think the US has leverage, has some influence to be able to help…. We are calling on others to write to their senators, to write to their representatives to be aware of this situation so something can be done [and] mediation can take place so peace can return.”

We previously shared how violence in western Cameroon is also causing problems for CABTAL’s Bible translators. The impact on their ministry is still growing.

“In the area where these atrocities are going on, we have 38 language projects where we are doing translation or helping communities in the area of Scripture impact. All of them have been affected right now and more than 400 translation personnel in these communities are affected — many of them [are] displaced, many [are] hiding in the bushes, and in some communities, translation has stopped.”

Tembon says churches have also been caught in the crosshairs. “Some pastors have been killed and churches have been taken over by the military, [who is] using some churches as a military base.”

In some villages, CABTAL lost touch with Bible translators who fled. They are still trying to make contact and help, especially because every day in the bush presents new risks.

“There are more people dying in the bushes than [who] are even being killed by bullets because they have no access to medical care. They are sick with malaria,…children are dying of malnutrition, [and] they don’t have any food.”

What’s worse “Some of them have nothing to go back to,” Tembon says. “Their homes have been burned, family members killed, they are living in bushes without food, no clothing, no basic needs, [and] exposed to all kinds of danger.”

Cameroon violence, village burned

(Photo courtesy of Wycliffe Associates)

Currently, Wycliffe Associates is raising funds to provide emergency protection for displaced Bible translators from western Cameroon and replace translation equipment. Even though the raging violence is a severe challenge, Wycliffe Associates, CABTAL, and their local volunteers are determined to get God’s Word to those who need Christ’s truth and hope — especially now.

If you would like to support this effort with Wycliffe Associates, click here!

Tembon says Cameroonians and our Christian brothers and sisters urgently need your prayer support as well.

“Some have turned to God, praying to God; others have turned to African Traditional Religion and [are] looking…to find a solution, to find help. [Pray] that this will cause people to turn to the Lord and cry out to Him.

“Pray for the Church in Cameroon. God knows what is going on. All of this doesn’t take Him by surprise. [Pray] that we would be able to come back to the Lord and repent as a Church in that country.”

“Also, pray that the root causes of this problem will be solved. These people need freedom…. They have been like second-class citizens for 57 years and it reached a breaking point where it just boiled out of control. [Pray] that that root problem will be solved so that we will not see a recurrence of violence

United Nations hails Nelson Mandela in Cameroon

“Human dignity is an important aspect to focus on in our society today, irrespective of our status, race, class, religion …it is indeed the bases for Human Rights as Mandela teaches us”, was echoed by Professor Fru Forbuzshi Angwafo III; Director General of the Yaounde Gynaeco-Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital (HGOY) as he paid tribute to President Mandela. He made this statement as he welcomed participants at the UNIC Yaounde organized event to commemorate the 2018 Nelson Mandela International Day in Cameroon on the theme: “Take action and Inspire change” on Wednesday 18 July 2018.

The event kickstarted with a guided compassionate visit to some 67 patients of the hospital, to express Mandela’s love, compassion to human plight and worries. Participants shared words of encouragement, love with hugs and message of hope with patients.

Next was a conference talk on “Take action and Inspire change”, to exchange of information on Mandela’s legacy in reconciliation, unity, human rights, education, health and charity with the over 100 participants drawn from all works of life.

UNIC’s Jean Njita highlighted that Mandela day is a global call to action for citizens of the world to take up the challenge and follow in the footsteps of Mandela; a man who transformed his life, served his country and freed his people. “The question we should ask ourselves is what we are doing to make everyday a Mandela Day” he asked. He further urged participants to make each day a Mandela day, become Mandela day change makers by doing things that affect positive change everyday.

Mrs. Suzanne Awenti, Pedagogic Inspector for History and Citizenship at the Ministry of Secondary Education, thrusted that Mandela’s greatest driving force was his inspiration to take action and inspire change. To her, a great source of Madiba’s inspiration for change could be spelt out into four commandments drawn from biblical gospel of Mathew 22:37-40; Love God with all your heart and mind, love your neighbor as yourself, know thyself, know thy origination. She pined that to effect change as Nelson Mandela did, we must identify our area of strength, leadership action preferences, dream a new future, drive change, develop capacity, design strategy, desire for change.

Participants expressed their love and respect for Nelson Mandela through a series of passionate contributions. The video message of Nelson Mandela was projected, in which he called on the world to devote 67 minutes of time to helping other every Mandela Day.

UNSG Message: This was followed by the screening of the Video Message UN Secretary General on the 2018 Mandela day commemoration. Mr. Guterres urged the world to emulate the great servant leader Mandela

Invictus: Participants watched Nelson Mandala’s biopic “Invictus”; “INVICTUS“, a movie which portrays how Mandela used Sports (Rugby) to show strong leadership, and to reconcile South Africans around an ideal of success and Unite his people.

Guided visit to patients at the HGOPY:  https://youtu.be/4EuSc-39zWY

UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita presents the Mandela International Day: https://youtu.be/VSMw1chHo_M

First ever UN High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States to open in New York

Yaounde, 27 June 2018 

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres will on Thursday, 28 June 2018 convene the first United Nations High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States at UN Headquarters under the theme “Strengthening international cooperation to combat the evolving threat of terrorism.” The 2-day Conference will provide an opportunity for the UN and Member States to forge new partnerships to address the complex and transnational threat of terrorism.

In an Op-Ed, the UN Secretary General called for a concerted multilateral response at global, regional and national levels to defeat the threat of terrorism. He writes “Terrorism is a transnational threat that cannot be defeated by any single government or organization… we must also address root causes by promoting education, tackling youth unemployment and addressing marginalization.” through the engagement of local communities, religious organizations and the media.

Meanwhile, the Sixth Biennial Review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy of the General Assembly has opened at UN Headquarters. In advance of the event, the Secretary-General issued on 20 April his report on the activities of the UN System (A/72/840) (http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/72/840). The Review will provide an opportunity for Member States to take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the Strategy and to discuss the way forward.

UN Secretary-General’s message on International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict [scroll down for French version]

New York, 19 June 2018

Sexual violence in conflict is a threat to our collective security and a stain on our common humanity. Its effects can echo across generations, through trauma, stigma, poverty, poor health and unwanted pregnancy. Children conceived through wartime rape often struggle with issues of identity and belonging for decades after the guns have fallen silent.

They may be left in a legal limbo, or at risk of becoming stateless. They are vulnerable to recruitment, trafficking and exploitation, with broad implications for peace and security, as well as human rights. Their mothers may be marginalized and shunned by their own families and communities. These women and children are sometimes seen as affiliates of armed and violent extremist groups, rather than as victims and survivors.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we amplify the voices of these forgotten victims of war, who suffer stigma, shame and exclusion in societies polarized by armed conflict. The United Nations stands ready to work with governments, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, and all partners to support children born of rape in wartime and their mothers, and those working on the frontlines to support them.

Let us reaffirm our global commitment to eliminate the scourge of conflict-related sexual violence and to provide justice, services and support to all those affected.

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Plus qu’une menace pour notre sécurité collective, les violences sexuelles commises en période de conflit sont une honte pour l’humanité. Leurs effets – traumatismes, stigmatisation, pauvreté, maladies et grossesses non désirées – peuvent se transmettre au fil des générations. Il n’est pas rare que les enfants nés d’un viol commis en temps de guerre soient encore aux prises, des dizaines d’années après la fin du conflit, avec des troubles de l’identité et des problèmes d’appartenance.

Les enfants de la guerre peuvent se heurter à un vide juridique ou risquer de devenir apatrides. Ils sont, en outre, particulièrement vulnérables au recrutement en tant qu’enfants soldats, à la traite et à l’exploitation, avec tout ce que ces situations impliquent pour la paix et la sécurité ainsi que pour les droits de l’homme. Leurs mères peuvent se retrouver marginalisées ou répudiées par leur famille et leur communauté. De plus, elles et leurs enfants sont parfois considérés comme des sympathisants, plutôt que comme des victimes ou des rescapés, de groupes extrémistes armés ou violents.

À l’occasion de la Journée internationale pour l’élimination de la violence sexuelle en temps de conflit, nous joignons nos voix à celles de ces victimes oubliées de la guerre, qui subissent la stigmatisation, l’opprobre et l’exclusion dans des sociétés déchirées par les conflits armés.  L’Organisation des Nations Unies est disposée à collaborer avec les gouvernements, la société civile, les chefs traditionnels et religieux et tous les partenaires pour soutenir les enfants nés d’un viol commis en temps de guerre et les mères, et pour appuyer ceux qui interviennent auprès de ces personnes et en leur nom.

Nous réaffirmons notre détermination collective à éliminer le fléau de la violence sexuelle liée aux conflits et à garantir, aux personnes touchées, l’accès au soutien, aux services et à la justice.

2018 Reham Al-Farra (RAF) Memorial Journalism Fellowship (7 May, 2018)

DPI is accepting applications for the 2018 Reham Al-Farra (RAF) Memorial Journalism Fellowship, which will be held at UN Headquarters in New York from 16 September to 6 October 2018.

The Fellowship will bring a select group of young journalists from around the world to United Nations Headquarters to cover the General Assembly, interview senior officials, and attend special briefings and workshops.

The Fellowship is open to full-time journalists between the ages of 22 and 35 from countries with developing and transitioning economies.

A full list of eligible countries is available at the following URL https://outreach.un.org/raf/eligibility.

The Fellowship covers the cost of roundtrip air travel to New York and provides a daily subsistence allowance.

Applications must be submitted online at https://outreach.un.org/raf/content/reham-al-farra-memorial-journalism-fellowship-2018-application.

 

Déclaration attribuable au porte-parole du Secrétaire général sur le meurtre d’un Casque bleu de la MINUSCA en République centrafricaine (Scroll down for English)

New York, 10 Avril 2018

Le Secrétaire général condamne le meurtre d’un Casque bleu rwandais ainsi que les blessures infligées à huit autres membres de la Mission multidimensionnelle intégrée des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en République centrafricaine (MINUSCA) le 10 avril à Bangui lors d’un échange de tirs avec des éléments armés.

Cet incident fait suite à une opération conjointe lancée le 8 avril par la MINUSCA ainsi que les forces armées et la police centrafricaines pour désarmer et arrêter des groupes criminels lourdement armés dans le troisième arrondissement de Bangui.

Le Secrétaire général présente ses plus sincères condoléances à la famille de la victime ainsi qu’au Gouvernement rwandais et souhaite un prompt rétablissement aux blessés.
Le Secrétaire général rappelle que les attaques contre les forces de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies peuvent constituer un crime de guerre et appelle les autorités centrafricaines à enquêter sur ces cas et à traduire rapidement les responsables en justice.

Le Secrétaire général réitère la détermination de la MINUSCA à protéger les civils et à contribuer à la stabilisation de la République centrafricaine.

 Stéphane Dujarric , Porte-Parole du Secrétaire général de l’ONU

 

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the killing of a MINUSCA peacekeeper in the Central African Republic

New York, 10 April 2018

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the killing of a Rwandan peacekeeper and the wounding of eight others of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on 10 April, in Bangui during an exchange of fire with armed elements.

The incident follows a joint operation launched on 8 April by MINUSCA and the Central African forces and police to disarm and arrest heavily armed criminal groups.

The Secretary-General offers his deepest condolences to the family of the bereaved, as well as to the Government of Rwanda, and wishes a swift recovery to the injured.

The Secretary-General recalls that attacks against United Nations peacekeepers may constitute a war crime and calls on the Central African Republic authorities to investigate them and swiftly bring those responsible to justice.

The Secretary-General reiterates the determination of MINUSCA to protect civilians and contribute to the stabilization of the Central African Republic.

Stéphane Dujarric , Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General 

 

Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the attack against a MINUSCA base and the killing of civilians in the Central African Republic [scroll down for French version]

New York, 3 April 2018 

The Secretary-General condemns the attack against a base of the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on 3 April, in Ouaka, a prefecture of the Central African Republic. The attack led to the death of one Mauritanian peacekeeper, while 11 others were injured and are receiving medical care.  

The Secretary-General offers his deepest condolences to the families of those killed, as well as to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania.  He wishes a swift recovery to the injured. 

The Secretary-General is also outraged by the killing of 21 civilians, including four children and four women as well as the injuring of 14 civilians, which occurred the same day in the same prefecture.

The Secretary-General calls on the Central African Republic authorities to investigate these attacks and quickly bring those responsible to justice.

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

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Déclaration attribuable au porte-parole du Secrétaire général sur l’attaque contre une base de la MINUSCA et le meurtre de civils en République centrafricaine

New York, 3 avril 2018 

Le Secrétaire général condamne l’attaque perpétrée contre une base de la Mission multidimensionnelle intégrée des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en République centrafricaine (MINUSCA) le 3 avril, dans la préfecture de Ouaka, en République centrafricaine. L’attaque a causé la mort d’un casque bleu mauritanien, tandis qu’onze autres ont été blessés et évacués pour traitement médical. 

Le Secrétaire général présente ses plus sincères condoléances aux familles endeuillées, ainsi qu’au Gouvernement de la République islamique de Mauritanie. Il souhaite un prompt rétablissement aux blessés. 

Le Secrétaire général est également consterné par le meurtre de 21 civils, dont quatre enfants et quatre femmes, ainsi que par les blessures infligées à 14 personnes, le même jour, dans la même préfecture.

Le Secrétaire général appelle les autorités de la République centrafricaine à enquêter sur ces attaques et à traduire en justice rapidement leurs auteurs.

Stéphane Dujarric, Porte-parole du Secrétaire général

2018 Remember Slavery Commemorated in Yaounde

The 2018 International Day in Memory of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade was commemorated in Cameroon on 26 March through an event organized by UNIC Yaounde, UNESCO and the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy on“Remember Slavery: Triumphs and Struggles for Freedom and Equality”, at the National Museum in Yaounde. Key highlights of the event included;

  1. Panel Discussion

This talk harped on the genesis, context, struggles for freedom/equality and human right violations during slavery era. The main objective was to exchange information on Slavery and UN’s actions and conventions to completely eradicate discrimination, prejudice and racism today with mostly History students from Secondary schools and Universities in Yaounde, the NGO; ‘Pan-African Youth network for a Culture of Peace’ working on Bimbia Slavery cultural heritage site and Human Rights.

Mr. Christian NDOMBI; Cultural Affairs Officer at UNESCO pointed that the history of slavery and Transatlantic slave trade is that of silence, by the perpetrators of the act and the victims, due to shame. He added that UNESCO launched the “slave route” Project in 1980 to break the silence, with in-depth studies undertaken on the practice of slavery, to let the world know the ills of the transatlantic slave trade in a bid to wipe out modern forms of slavery. Mr Ndombi further emphasized that youths are targeted to let them know and remember what transpired during the slave trade not for revenge but for quality education so as to prevent a recurrence of such heinous and inhumane acts.

UNICs Jean NJITA said the United Nations is committed to help young people learn from the history of slavery and transatlantic slave trade in order to help fight racism and prejudice, for countless stories of enslaved children, women and men (such as the recent story of black migrants sold as slaves in Libya) still remains untold. “On this Day, the United Nations urges us to reflect on the inhumane and humane capacity that lies within us” he added, further calling on all to take the commitments spelt out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of the United Nations as a guide for the present and the future so that a more just and equitable world can be bequeathed to future generations.

Mrs. Dorothée Onguene; National Programme Officer at the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy presented a synopsis of the different UN Conventions such as the one on slavery adopted in 1926, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates that no one is to be enslaved or held in servitude. She reiterated that slavery has not completely disappeared, as it is still being practiced through force child labour; forced use of arms by children; sexual exploitation of girls and pornography; with girls being forced to work to settle parents’ debt, domestic slavery. Mrs Onguene stressed that the UN has appointed a special rapporteur on slavery, to report regularly on issues related to slavery and bring help to victims.

Professor Raymond Asombang; Director of the National Museum lauded UN’s continued strives to completely eradicate Slavery. As a way to support this UN initiative, the national museum has also setup an exhibition stand on slavery and the transatlantic slave trade to showcase what really happened during the transatlantic slave trade, with light thrown on the phenomenon in Cameroon such as Bimbia, Bangou and Bapa slave markets.

During the question and answer session, questions asked with satisfactory answers from panelists included:

  • What is the real contribution of the UN towards eradicating aspects of slavery that still exist in Cameroon?
  • What were the sanctions taken by the UN in relation to what happened in Libya?
  • What has African states or Individuals done to eradicate this practice?
  • Does the commemoration of slavery and transatlantic slave trade not instead open up old wounds?

UNIC Yaounde provided information kits to the over 105 participants at the event containing: the UNSG’s message, brief presentation of slavery and slave trade, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, notebooks, storyline of the movie, etc… UNIC equally mobilized journalist to cover the event such as Ariane TV, Cameron Radio and Television, The Post Newspaper, Cameroon Tribune, Canal2 Television, Camer.be.

2. Poster Exhibition on the «A Legacy of Black Achievers»

Participants were led on a guided tour of the 25 posters exhibited at the entrance of the National museum in both English and French on the theme “A Legacy of Black Achievers”. UNIC’s Jean Njita presented a summary of the exhibition before delving into a poster by poster presentation, highlighting the achievements of each of the 23 notable personalities, and called on participants to emulate these models by working hard and excelling in their education, for they could achieve these things, then they also can.

One UN stand to celebrate Cameroonian Youths on 06 February 2018 at the National Museum

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Civic Education organized a “Youth village” as part of commemorative activities for the 52nd National Youth Day on “Youth, Multiculturalism, Peace and National Unity” at the national museum. The UN System mounted a stand with documents on the role of youths in achieving the SDGs, from UNIC, UNESCO, WHO, UNV, UNDP, UNICEF with UNFPA as lead.

UNFPA Representative Barbara Sow welcomed Minister Mounouna Foutsou to the UN Stand, stressing UN’s support to government’s determination in building a responsible youth.

 

UNIC’s Jean Njita and WHO’s Barbara Etoa presented UN‘s activities for youths, using key documents displayed on the stands, with some handed to the minister and his entourage.

This official launch of the youth village which brought over 1000 pupils, students, youth activist and promoters from different parts of the Centre region, grouped over 200 local and international institutions. Dance groups were also present to add pump, colour and fun to the event.

Objectif 7 : Garantir l’accès de tous à des services énergétiques fiables, durables et modernes, à un coût abordable

L’énergie est au centre de presque tous les défis majeurs, mais aussi des perspectives prometteuses, qui se présentent au monde aujourd’hui. Qu’il s’agisse d’emplois, de sécurité, de changement climatique, de production de nourriture ou d’accroissement des revenus, l’accès de tous à l’énergie est essentiel.

L’énergie durable est une opportunité pour transformer les vies, les économies et la planète.

Le Secrétaire général des Nations Unies, Ban Ki-moon, conduit l’initiative Energie durable pour tous, qui vise à assurer un accès universel aux services énergétiques modernes, améliorer les rendements énergétiques et accroître l’utilisation des sources d’énergie renouvelables.

Faits et Chiffres

  • Une personne sur cinq n’a pas accès à l’électricité moderne.
  • 3 milliards de personnes dépendent du bois, du charbon ou des déchets animaux pour la cuisson et le chauffage.
  • L’énergie est le principal facteur contribuant au changement climatique, ce qui représente environ 60 pour cent des émissions mondiales de gaz à effet de serre
  • Réduire l’intensité du carbone dans la production de l’énergie est une cible-clef des objectifs climatiques à long terme.

Targets

7.1 D’ici à 2030, garantir l’accès de tous à des services énergétiques fiables et modernes, à un coût abordable,

7.2 D’ici à 2030, accroître nettement la part de l’énergie renouvelable dans le bouquet énergétique mondial,

7.3 D’ici à 2030, multiplier par deux le taux mondial d’amélioration de l’efficacité énergétique,

7.a D’ici à 2030, renforcer la coopération internationale en vue de faciliter l’accès à la recherche et aux technologies relatives à l’énergie propre, notamment l’énergie renouvelable, l’efficacité énergétique et les nouvelles technologies relatives aux combustibles fossiles propres, et promouvoir l’investissement dans l’infrastructure énergétique et les technologies relatives à l’énergie propre,

7.b D’ici à 2030, développer l’infrastructure et améliorer la technologie afin d’approvisionner en services énergétiques modernes et durables tous les habitants des pays en développement, en particulier des pays les moins avancés, des petits États insulaires en développement et des pays en développement sans littoral, dans le respect des programmes d’aide qui les concernent.

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Energy