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1000 Women in Cameroon Embark on a Hunger Strike for Peace

1000 Anglophone Women in Cameroon Hunger for Peace.

1000 Anglophone Women in Cameroon Hunger for Peace.

Their fates rest in the hands of the US, French and British Governments.

If death must come, at least in this way, it will come with honor and with the hope for change.”
— Anonymous Hunger Strike Participant

BUEA, SOUTH WEST REGION, CAMEROON, May 10, 2021 / -- At 12:01 a.m. on 10 May 2021, one thousand women in four regions of Cameroon embarked on a hunger strike in a desperate attempt to end the bloody Anglophone Crisis, which has ravaged their country for more than four and a half years. The women, who have been denied access to all other forms of passive resistance for fear of reprisal from both sides of the conflict, are calling on President Joe Biden, President Emmanuel Macron, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intercede. They vow that the hunger strike will not end until the three Western leaders agree to meet with President Paul Biya of Cameroon.

One of the coordinators of the hunger strike, who asked to remain anonymous, explains the women’s position: “For nearly five years, we have borne the brunt of the suffering that has stemmed from the Anglophone Crisis, including displacement, rape, torture, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and the senseless maiming and murder of our husbands, sons, fathers and brothers. Despite our hardship, governments that have the ability to help have been deaf to our cries. The world has ignored us. If death must come, at least in this way, it will come with honor and with the hope for change.”

The Crisis officially began in October 2016, when military troops used force to quell a peaceful strike by Anglophone lawyers and teachers who were protesting political oppression by Cameroon’s primarily Francophone government. However, the roots of the conflict extend back to 1961, when France and Great Britain relinquished colonial rule, uniting French and British Cameroon as a bilingual, bijural federation consisting of two supposedly equal states. Unfortunately, with Francophones comprising approximately 80% of the population, that did not turn out to be the case. In 1972, Cameroon’s first President, Ahmadou Ahidjo, unilaterally eradicated the federal government, implementing a Francophone-led republic.

After the current President, Paul Biya, succeeded Ahidjo in 1982, several more revisions were made, ultimately stripping Anglophone citizens of virtually all rights guaranteed in the original constitution. The government’s violent response to the 2016 strike led to more strikes and protests by Anglophones until, finally, in October 2017, a group of activists declared independence. This declaration was met with mass killings and raids of villages by government troops, and soon several groups of Anglophone activists took up arms in response. More than 3 million peace-loving Anglophone civilians have been caught in the middle ever since.

The demands of the women participating in the hunger strike are straightforward and few in number. They include an end to raids and abuse by government forces, an end to the suppression of free speech, the repeal of all constitutional revisions made unilaterally and unlawfully since 1972, and a return to the protections guaranteed under the original 1961 constitution. At the request of the hunger strikers, Cece Buckley of Global Justice Journal will manage communication and negotiations on their behalf, and Global Justice Journal will sponsor activities in support of the hunger strike.

The full text of the “Notice of Planned Hunger Strike by 1000 Anglophone Women in Cameroon,” which was distributed to government representatives on 6 May 2021, can be found here:

Cece Buckley
Global Justice Journal
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