Catholics in the firing line in Cameroon, as Mass Exodus continues

  Archbishop Samuel Kleda By: Rebecca Tinsley As Cameroon marks its national day on 20 May, violence continues to escalate, literally putting Catholics in the firing line. Last week, the president of the Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Samuel Kleda, escaped what local media describes as an assassination attempt. Shots were fired at his residence after he criticised Cameroon’s leader, Paul Biya, for his failure to broker genuine dialogue between the country’s rival Anglophone groups and the Francophone-dominated government. The attack comes after two years of increasing conflict which has prompted an estimated 160,000 English-speaking Cameroonians to flee to neighbouring Nigeria for safety, according to the UN. There are multiple verifiable reports that Cameroonian security forces have…

Viewpoint: Why you cannot trust politicians with global justice

The British Parliament is considering a move that may put justice within reach of persecuted minorities such as Christians in the Middle East. Lord Alton has introduced a bill that would require the British government to ask the High Court to decide whether or not genocide and mass atrocities are taking place. His private members’ bill is significant because it recognises that politicians are swayed by Britain’s trade links and other relationships with regimes perpetrating atrocities against their own people. In the years since the Holocaust, diplomats have shied away from labelling genocide by its rightful name. Under international law (the 1948 Genocide Convention, and the 2005 Responsibility to Protect doctrine), once we recognise genocide…

Refugees flood into Nigeria to escape ethnic cleansing in Cameroon

  By: Rebecca Tinsley In an echo of the Vietnam War, entire villages in English-speaking Cameroon are being torched by government soldiers to punish civilians suspected of sympathising with secessionist militias. The United Nations believes 43,000 people have recently crossed the border into neighbouring Nigeria, seeking refuge from the escalating conflict. The international community’s calls for dialogue have been ignored by Cameroon’s Francophone leader, President Paul Biya, who has been in power since 1982. Until recently, diplomats have largely sidelined the deteriorating situation in Cameroon, believing it is an internal matter. The increasingly popular demand for secession is rooted in a contested referendum at independence in 1961. The English-speaking minority (20% of the population) was…

Helping Forgotten Victims of Violence

                  Please follow THIS LINK to a talk Rebecca Tinsley gave to the Commonwealth Club on the    forgotten victims of violence.

Nigeria and the deadly political legacy of military rule

            ‘Congratulations to our governor on his first year in office,’ reads the vast hording by the main Abuja-Jos road. A chubby-cheeked man with perfect teeth beams down on passing motorists. You don’t need to read the small print to know the poster was paid for by the businessmen who bankrolled the successful candidate. Fifty miles further along the same road another benevolent ruler favours travellers with his cherubic grin. ‘My heart goes out to all the people of south Kadema,’ reads the inscription. Meanwhile, his grateful voters carefully negotiate the atrocious highway between Nigeria’s capital and Jos, a city of nearly a million. In the words of a local…

When does a refugee camp become a permanent home?

REBECCA TINSLEY 20 May 2015 Encamped refugees are often portrayed on our TV screens as objects of pity with deadpan expressions. Time to ask what they think and feel. Love in a hard place: on St Valentine’s evening 2013, the families of Aya and Mohammed gathered in a tiny building in Jordan’s Zaatari camp, housing an estimated 90,000 refugees who fled Syria, and agreed on their engagement. Flickr / Oxfam International. Some rights reserved. Across the globe 10m people are living in refugee camps. Many, like the Syrians in Jordan and Turkey, arrived recently. Others, like the Palestinians in Lebanon or Burma’s ethnic minorities in Thailand, have been there for decades. At what stage do people realise their port-in-a-storm…

The Dysfunctional Childhood of the World’s Newest Nation – South Sudan

  Interlib Article   South Sudan emerged from decades of bloodshed in 2011, liberated from its brutal Islamist masters in Sudan. Yet, ever since the heady independence celebrations in the new capital Juba, the fledgling nation has been sliding toward civil war. In August this year, the situation deteriorated to the point that aid workers now warn of a massive famine, and Sudan experts see little chance of a lasting cease-fire. It is not unusual for a guerrilla army to hold together until it reaches its goal, and then fracture into political feuds. Add to that several bloated egos who manipulate ethnic tensions to their own ends, indifferent to the thousands of innocent, unarmed civilians who are slaughtered to serve their gross ambitions. Underlying tensions within the ruling…

Africa Views – Four years later – was the ICC right to indict Sudan’s Bashir?

By Olivia Warham,  Waging Peace Four years ago today, President Bashir of Sudan gained the dubious distinction of being the first head of state indicted by the International Criminal Court. When the indictment was announced it was greeted with spontaneous celebrations in Darfuri refugee camps, and by the Darfuri diaspora worldwide. Finally, the survivors of Bashir’s systematic campaign of ethnic cleansing hoped justice was at hand.  Until that moment, no manner of peace agreement could be sufficient without the delivery of justice. Yet, four years on, Bashir continues to ethnically cleanse Sudan’s non-Arab population with impunity. He has also extinguished any hope of an Arab Spring, brutally crushing internal dissent, and harassing brave civil society leaders within the Arab population. Despite being…

Genocide needs to be nipped in the bud, not blamed on ICC after the event

The chief prosecutor of the international criminal court this week failed to provide sufficiently strong legal evidence linking Mathieu Ngudjolo, an alleged war criminal, with the rape, pillage and massacre in a village in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Cue disapproval about how the ICC and chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda built the case. But focusing on this case obscures the more important issue at stake: the ICC will only ever be as effective as the constituent members of the international community allows it to be. As events in Syria remind us, the world’s default position when faced with mass civilian atrocities is to stand to one side. We resort to diplomatic hand-wringing and naive calls for peace….

President al-Bashir feels heat from ‘Sudanese Spring’

By Olivia Warham, Special for CNN June 30, 2012 Sudanese men protest on the road through a United Nations displacement camp. STORY HIGHLIGHTS Since 17 June Sudanese civilians have been demonstrating against the totalitarian regime that has ruled them for 23 years Olivia Warham says there is no freedom of speech or assembly in Sudan She calls the iron control of all public debate part of what psychiatrists call the “infantilization” process Editor’s note: Olivia Warham is Director of Waging Peace, a charity which campaigns against genocide and systematic human rights violations, with a particular focus on Africa. (CNN) — Since 17 June, Sudanese civilians have been demonstrating against the totalitarian regime that has ruled them for…