It is past time for Congress and State Department to step up and play a larger role in addressing the humanitarian consequences of conflict in Cameroon. The alternative—silence and inaction—means more innocent Cameroonian lives will be lost.
Cameroon has long been viewed as a model of stability in a region fraught with conflict. Under the surface, however, tensions between its Anglophone and Francophone populations have simmered for decades. In October 2016, violence erupted in the Anlgophone North-West and South-West (NWSW) regions, and has since displaced more than 530,000 people and killed 1,800. If the government of Cameroon and international donors do not act, the humanitarian situation will rapidly deteriorate.
MINUSCA faces serious challenges in the Central African Republic, but Alexandra Lamarche says many of these challenges can be solved. In a memo, she outlines her recommendations for the country’s new UN Special Representative of the Secretary General Mr. Mankeur Ndiaye as he takes command of the mission.
Years of instability and violence in the Central African Republic have led to large-scale displacement and a desperate need for international aid. This year, more than half of the country's 4.6 million people will depend on humanitarian assistance for protection and survival. But despite the negative trendlines, there is an opportunity for progress.
This is a make-or-break moment for the Central African Republic. After years of conflict, a small window of opportunity is open to make real progress toward peace. Alexandra Lamarche offers three key steps the international community must take to consolidate hard-won gains and improve conditions on the ground.
For decades, armed conflicts have ravaged the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), resulting in massive displacement and critical humanitarian needs. Over 13.1 million Congolese require humanitarian assistance, and with limited resources, humanitarians in the DRC are forced to make tough trade-offs as new conflicts emerge amid protracted ones—with aid delivery slowing down and increasingly diverted with each new outbreak. Insufficient funding threatens to unravel decades of investment and push the DRC deeper into chaos.
The crisis in Northeast Nigeria has reached an inflection point. Widespread famine no longer appears imminent, and the Nigerian military has pushed Boko Haram out of a number of cities and towns. However, the humanitarian crisis is far from over, and major challenges remain in responding to the needs of the internally displaced. At the same time, Nigerian officials are pressing for large-scale returns of the displaced to recently liberated areas—often before conditions can legitimately support returns. The Nigerian government should pause organized returns to insecure areas and work with the international community to improve services and protection for the displaced, while setting the stage for sustainable pathways home. In addition, the government must work to support local integration for those who may never return home.
When the militant group Boko Haram took over in 2013, the majority of Bama, Nigeria's population those fled and have yet to return. Nigerian forces successfully recaptured Bama in 2015, and, recently, the city has become the focus of highly publicized reconstruction plans and along with plans for the return of its former residents. But the security situation in surrounding areas remains perilous. With approaching Nigerian elections in 2019, the government wants to return people to Bama, but security and stability should dictate returns, not politics.
An important renewal of global commitment to peacekeeping took place recently at the United Nations Peacekeeping Defense Ministerial conference in Vancouver. Member countries and international organizations presented their commitments to improve and reinforce peacekeeping efforts. But at this time of funding cuts in many countries, the actual fulfillment of those pledges will be a challenge.