On the eve of International Day of Education

On the eve of International Day of Education

23 January 2020

 

ATTENTION

Secretary-General of the United Nations

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

President of the United States of America

Président de la République de France

Prime Minister of Canada

Secretary-General of The Commonwealth

African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security

 

Dear António, Boris, Donald, Emmanuel, Justin, Patricia, and Smail,

 

We write to you using your first names because we want you to envision yourselves as schoolchildren, years ago. Think for a moment: what if you had not been educated?

 

Would you be Secretary-General of the United Nations or the Commonwealth, leaders of the United Kingdom, the USA, France, Canada, and Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union Commission? Unlikely.

 

On this International Day of Education, we deliver you two petitions. We challenge you to act. Would you please urge and incentivize the government of Cameroon to resolve the country’s Anglophone Crisis so that approximately 800,000 children and youth can return to school? For more than three years, schools have been closed due to ever-increasing violence. Children are caught in the middle, denied the literacy and knowledge necessary to realize their potential.

 

Our two petitions are small because the world either does not know about the conflict in Cameroon, or does not care that the violence will result in a generation without a viable future. We believe it is your duty to help. At the very least, please use your influence to persuade the Cameroonian government to attend mediated peace negotiations in Switzerland, an offer pending, but ignored, since June 2019.

 

Not everyone is indifferent to the fate of education in Cameroon’s conflict-ridden Anglophone regions, where schools used to be highly regarded for their quality. The South West / North West Women’s Task Force (SNWOT) has tirelessly called for an end to the violence from all sides, with a return to school as soon as possible. SNWOT also supports the 2020 African Union continent-wide campaign “Silencing the Guns” for obvious reasons. SNWOT’s petition, “Grassroots women call on NSAGs to uplift the ban on education in NW/SW regions Cameroon,” can be found here.

 

The Global Campaign for Peace & Justice in Cameroon, a loose collection of scholars and activists from North America, Europe, and Africa, also cares about the right to education. This group’s petition, “Let the Children Go to School!” can be found here.

 

The petitions speak for themselves. Now it is your collective turn to take action on behalf of Cameroon’s children. Thank you.

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