Southern Cameroons
Overview
 
Southern Cameroons was the southern part of the British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 Mandate territory
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

 of Cameroons
Cameroons
British Cameroons was a British Mandate territory in West Africa, now divided between Nigeria and Cameroon.The area of present-day Cameroon was claimed by Germany as a protectorate during the "Scramble for Africa" at the end of the 19th century...

 in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

. Since 1961 it is part of the Republic of Cameroon
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

, where it makes up the Northwest Province and Southwest Province. Since 1994, pressure groups in the territory have sought independence from Cameroon, and the Republic of Ambazonia
Ambazonia
The name Ambazonia or Ambazania refers to two separate entities. One pertains to an advocacy group struggling for the total restoration of the statehood of the Crown Colony formerly known as the British Southern Cameroons...

 was formally declared by the Southern Cameroons Peoples Organisation (SCAPO) on 31 August 2006.
Following the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

, the German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 territory of Kamerun
Kamerun
German Cameroon was a West African colony of the German Empire from 1884 to 1916 in the region of today's Republic of Cameroon.-History:-1800s:...

was formally divided on 28 June 1919 between a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and a British League of Nations Mandate
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

, the French, who had previously administered the whole occupied territory, getting the larger.
Encyclopedia
Southern Cameroons was the southern part of the British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 Mandate territory
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

 of Cameroons
Cameroons
British Cameroons was a British Mandate territory in West Africa, now divided between Nigeria and Cameroon.The area of present-day Cameroon was claimed by Germany as a protectorate during the "Scramble for Africa" at the end of the 19th century...

 in West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

. Since 1961 it is part of the Republic of Cameroon
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

, where it makes up the Northwest Province and Southwest Province. Since 1994, pressure groups in the territory have sought independence from Cameroon, and the Republic of Ambazonia
Ambazonia
The name Ambazonia or Ambazania refers to two separate entities. One pertains to an advocacy group struggling for the total restoration of the statehood of the Crown Colony formerly known as the British Southern Cameroons...

 was formally declared by the Southern Cameroons Peoples Organisation (SCAPO) on 31 August 2006.

League of Nations Mandate

Following the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

, the German
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 territory of Kamerun
Kamerun
German Cameroon was a West African colony of the German Empire from 1884 to 1916 in the region of today's Republic of Cameroon.-History:-1800s:...

was formally divided on 28 June 1919 between a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and a British League of Nations Mandate
League of Nations mandate
A League of Nations mandate was a legal status for certain territories transferred from the control of one country to another following World War I, or the legal instruments that contained the internationally agreed-upon terms for administering the territory on behalf of the League...

, the French, who had previously administered the whole occupied territory, getting the larger. The French mandate was known as Cameroun. The British mandate comprised two geographically separate territories, Northern Cameroons and Southern Cameroons. They were administered from, but not joined to, the British territory of Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 through the British Resident
Resident (title)
A Resident, or in full Resident Minister, is a government official required to take up permanent residence in another country. A representative of his government, he officially has diplomatic functions which are often seen as a form of indirect rule....

 (although some incumbents had the rank of District Officer, Senior Resident or Deputy Resident) with headquarters in Buea
Buea
Buea is the capital of the Southwest Region of Cameroon. The town is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Cameroon and has a population of 90,088 . Buea was the colonial capital of the German Kamerun from 1901 to 1919,and the capital of the Southern Cameroons from 1949 until 1961...

.

Applying the principle of indirect rule
Indirect rule
Indirect rule was a system of government that was developed in certain British colonial dependencies...

, the British allowed native authorities to administer populations according to their own traditions. These also collected taxes, which were then paid over to the British. The British devoted themselves to trade, and to exploiting the economic and mining resources of the territory. South Cameroons students, including Emmanuel Mbela Lifate Endeley, created the Cameroons Youth League (CYL) on 27 March 1940, to oppose what they saw as the exploitation of their country.

Trust Territory

When the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 ceased to exist in 1946, most of the mandate territories were reclassified as UN trust territories, henceforth administered through the UN Trusteeship Council. The object of trusteeship was to prepare the lands for eventual independence. The United Nations approved the Trusteeship Agreements for British Cameroons to be governed by Britain on 6 December 1946.

Southern Cameroons was divided in 1949 into two provinces: Bamenda (capital Bamenda
Bamenda
Bamenda, also known as Abakwa and Mankon Town, is a city in northwestern Cameroon and capital of the North West Province. The city had a population of 269,530 at the 2005 Census, and is located 366 km north-west of the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé...

, hence also thus named) and Southern (capital Buea
Buea
Buea is the capital of the Southwest Region of Cameroon. The town is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Cameroon and has a population of 90,088 . Buea was the colonial capital of the German Kamerun from 1901 to 1919,and the capital of the Southern Cameroons from 1949 until 1961...

). Yet the residential type of administration was continued with a single British Resident at Buea, but in 1949 Edward John Gibbons was appointed Special Resident, and on 1 October 1954, when political power shifted to the elected government, succeeded himself as first of only two Commissioner
Commissioner
Commissioner is in principle the title given to a member of a commission or to an individual who has been given a commission ....

s.

Following the Ibadan General Conference of 1950, a new constitution for Nigeria devolved more power to the regions. In the subsequent election thirteen Southern Cameroonian representatives were elected to the Eastern Nigerian
Eastern Region, Nigeria
The Eastern Region was one of Nigeria's federal divisions, dating back originally from the division of the colony Southern Nigeria in 1954. Its capital was Enugu. The region was official divided in 1967 into three new states, East-Central State, Rivers State and South-Eastern State...

 House of Assembly in Enugu
Enugu
Enugu is the capital of Enugu State in Nigeria. It is located in the southeastern area of Nigeria and is largely populated by members of the Igbo ethnic group. The city has a population of 722,664 according to the 2006 Nigerian census. The name Enugu is derived from the two Igbo words Enu Ugwu...

. In 1953, however, the Southern Cameroons representatives, unhappy with the domineering attiude of Nigerian politicians and lack of unity among the ethnic groups in the Eastern Region, declared a “benevolent neutrality” and withdrew from the assembly. At a conference in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 from 30 July to 22 August 1953, the Southern Cameroons delegation asked for a separate region of its own. The British agreed, and Southern Cameroons became an autonomous region with its capital still at Buea
Buea
Buea is the capital of the Southwest Region of Cameroon. The town is located on the eastern slopes of Mount Cameroon and has a population of 90,088 . Buea was the colonial capital of the German Kamerun from 1901 to 1919,and the capital of the Southern Cameroons from 1949 until 1961...

. Elections were held in 1954 and the parliament met on 1 October 1954, with E.M.L. Endeley as Premier. As Cameroun and Nigeria prepared for Independence, South Cameroons nationalists debated whether their best interests lay with union with Cameroun, union with Nigeria or total independence. Endeley was defeated in elections on 1 February 1959 by John Ngu Foncha
John Ngu Foncha
John Ngu Foncha was a Cameroonian politician.He founded the Kamerun National Democratic Party in 1955 and became Premier of the British Cameroons on 1 February 1959...

.

The United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 organised a plebiscite
Referendum
A referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may result in the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. It is a form of...

 in the Cameroons on 11 February 1961 which put two alternatives to the people: union with Nigeria or union with Cameroun. The third option, independence, was opposed by the UK representative to the UN Trusteeship Council, Sir Andrew Cohen
Andrew Cohen (statesman)
Sir Andrew Benjamin Cohen KCMG KCVO OBE was Governor of Uganda from 1952 to 1957.- Early life and education :...

, and as a result was not put. In the plebiscite, Northern Cameroons voted for union with Nigeria, and Southern Cameroons for union with (the formerly French) Cameroun.

The Movement for Independence

Southern Cameroons became part of Cameroon on 1 October 1961. Foncha served as Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 of West Cameroun and Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Cameroun. However, the English-speaking peoples of the Southern Cameroons (now West Cameroun) did not believe that they were fairly treated by the French-speaking government of the country. Following a referendum on 20 May 1972 a new constitution was adopted in Cameroun which replaced the federal
Federal republic
A federal republic is a federation of states with a republican form of government. A federation is the central government. The states in a federation also maintain the federation...

 state with a unitary state
Unitary state
A unitary state is a state governed as one single unit in which the central government is supreme and any administrative divisions exercise only powers that their central government chooses to delegate...

. Southern Cameroons lost its autonomous status and became the Northwest Province and Southwest Province of the Republic of Cameroun. The Southern Cameroonians felt further marginalised. Groups such as the Cameroon Anglophone Movement (CAM) demanded greater autonomy, or independence, for the provinces.

Pro-independence groups claim that UN resolution 1608 of 21 April 1961, which required the UK, the Government of the Southern Cameroons and Republic of Cameroun to engage in talks with a view to agreeing measures for union of the two countries, was not implemented, and that the Government of the United Kingdom was negligent in terminating its trusteeship without ensuring that proper arrangements were made. They say that the adoption of a federal constitution by Cameroun on 1 September 1961 constituted annexation
Annexation
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 of South Cameroons.

Representatives of Anglophone groups convened the first All Anglophone Conference (AAC1) in Buea from 2 April to 3 April 1993. The conference issued the "Buea Declaration", which called for constitutional amendments to restore the 1961 federation. This was followed by the second All Anglophone Conference (AAC2) in Bamenda
Bamenda
Bamenda, also known as Abakwa and Mankon Town, is a city in northwestern Cameroon and capital of the North West Province. The city had a population of 269,530 at the 2005 Census, and is located 366 km north-west of the Cameroonian capital, Yaoundé...

 in 1994. This conference issued the “Bamenda Declaration”, which stated that if the federal state was not restored within a reasonable time, Southern Cameroons would declare its independence. The AAC was renamed the Southern Cameroons Peoples Conference (SCPC), and later the Southern Cameroons Peoples Organisation (SCAPO), with the Southern Cameroons National Council
Southern Cameroons National Council
The Southern Cameroons National Council is a self determination organisation seeking the independence of the anglophone Southern Cameroons from the francophone Republic of Cameroon . It is a non-violent organisation, and its motto is "The force of argument, not the argument of force." The current...

 (SCNC) as the executive governing body. Younger activists formed the Southern Cameroons Youth League (SCYL) in Buea on 28 May 1995. The SCNC sent a delegation, led by John Foncha, to the United Nations, which was received on 1 June 1995 and presented a petition against the 'annexation' of the Southern Cameroons by French Cameroun. This was followed by a signature referendum the same year, which the organisers claim produced a 99% vote in favour of independence with 315,000 people voting.

Armed members of the SCNC took over the Buea radio station in Southwest Province on the night of 30 December 1999 and in the early hours of 31 December broadcast a tape of a proclamation of independence
Declaration of independence
A declaration of independence is an assertion of the independence of an aspiring state or states. Such places are usually declared from part or all of the territory of another nation or failed nation, or are breakaway territories from within the larger state...

 read by Judge Ebong Frederick Alobwede.

Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 has accused the Cameroun authorities of human right violations against South Cameroons activists.

Complaint with the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights - Communication n° 266/2003:

On 9 January 2003, the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC)
Southern Cameroons National Council
The Southern Cameroons National Council is a self determination organisation seeking the independence of the anglophone Southern Cameroons from the francophone Republic of Cameroon . It is a non-violent organisation, and its motto is "The force of argument, not the argument of force." The current...

 and the Southern Cameroons Peoples Organisation (SCAPO) filed a complaint with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights is a quasi-judicial body tasked with promoting and protecting human rights and collective rights throughout the African continent as well as interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and considering individual complaints of...

 against the Republic of Cameroun
Cameroon
Cameroon, officially the Republic of Cameroon , is a country in west Central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west; Chad to the northeast; the Central African Republic to the east; and Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo to the south. Cameroon's coastline lies on the...

 (registered as Communication n° 266/2003 Re: Kevin Ngwane Ngumne and Co., acting on their behalf and on behalf of SCNC/SCAPO and the Southern Cameroons versus the State of Cameroon). Among other allegations, the complainants alleged that the Republic of Cameroun is illegally occupying the territory of Southern Cameroons. The Complainants alleged that the Republic of Cameroon has violated Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7(1), 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17(1), 19, 20, 21, 22, 23(1), 24 of the African Charter. The SCNC and SCAPO ultimately seek the independence of the territory of Southern Cameroons. In a decision reached at its 45th Ordinary Session on May 27, 2009, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights found that the Republic of Cameroun has violated Articles 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7(1), 10, 11, 19 and 26 of the Charter. The Human Rights Commission determined that Articles 12, 13, 17(1), 20, 21, 22, 23(1) and 24 have not been violated.

The Human Rights Commission further recognized that under the African Charter and broad international law, Southern Cameroons meets the definition of a "people" under international law "because they manifest numerous characteristics and affinities, which include a common history, linguistic tradition, territorial connection, and political outlook". The Human Rights Commission declared itself incompetent rationae temporis, to rule on allegations that occurred prior to 18 December 1989, date on which the African Charter came into force for the Respondent State (Republic of Cameroun). Hence, the Human Rights Commission declared itself incompetent to rule on the complainants' allegations with respect to events that occurred from the 1961 United Nations plebiscite to 1972 when the Federal and Union Constitutions were adopted to form the United Republic of Cameroon during which the Complainants claim the Respondent State (Republic of Cameroun) "...established its colonial rule there, complete with its structures, and its administrative, military and police personnel, applying a system and operating in a language alien to the Southern Cameroon." The Human Rights Commission stated, however that, if the Complainants can establish that any violation committed before 18 December 1989 continued thereafter, then the Commission shall have competence to examine it.

The Human Rights Commission addressed the question, whether the people of Southern Cameroons are entitled to the right to self determination contextualizing the question by dealing, not with the 1961 UN Plebiscite, or the 1972 Unification, but rather the events of 1993 and 1994 on the constitutional demands vis-à-vis the claim for the right to self determination of the Southern Cameroonian people. The Human Rights Commission stated that to invoke Self Determination as prescribed by Article 20 of the African Charter, the Complainant must satisfy the Commission that the two conditions under Article 20(2), namely oppression and domination have been met. Based on events that occurred after December 18, 1989 the Human Rights Commission noted that the Complainants have not demonstrated if these conditions have been met to warrant invoking the right to self determination. The Human Rights Commission also noted that in their submission, the Respondent State (Republic of Cameroun) implicitly accepted that self determination may be exercisable by the Complainants on condition that they establish cases of massive violations of human rights, or denial of participation in public affairs.

The Human Rights Commission noted that autonomy within a sovereign state is acceptable, in the context of self government, confederacy, or federation, while preserving the territorial integrity of a State party, can be exercised under the African Charter.

The Human Rights Commission recommended that the Respondent State (Republic of Cameroun) should among other things enter into constructive dialogue with the Complainants, and in particular, SCNC and SCAPO to resolve the constitutional issues, as well as grievances.

Bakassi Peninsula

Following the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 ruling of 10 October 2002 that sovereignty over the Bakassi
Bakassi
Bakassi is the peninsular extension of the African territory of Calabar into the Atlantic Ocean. It is currently ruled by Cameroon following the transfer of sovereignty from neighbouring Nigeria as a result of a judgment by the International Court of Justice...

 peninsula rested with Cameroon, SCAPO claimed that Bakassi was in fact part of the territory of Southern Cameroons. In 2002, SCAPO took the Nigerian government to the Federal High Court in Abuja
Abuja
Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria. It is located in the centre of Nigeria, within the Federal Capital Territory . Abuja is a planned city, and was built mainly in the 1980s. It officially became Nigeria's capital on 12 December 1991, replacing Lagos...

 to require it to take a case before the International Court of Justice to establish the right of the people of the Southern Cameroons to self-determination. The court ruled in their favour on 5 March 2002. On 14 August 2006 Nigeria formally handed over the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroon. SCAPO responded by proclaiming the independence of the Republic of Ambazania, to include the territory of Bakassi.

Southern Cameroons is a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization , formed in 11 February 1991, in The Hague, is an international organization of political organisations and governments representing self-proclaimed "indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories". The organization...

(UNPO) since 2005.

Sources and External links

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