"We welcome the meeting between the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and President Paul Biya of Cameroon scheduled for 27 October 2017, which will among other matters, notably discuss the Anglophone crisis, especially the massacres of September 22nd and October 1st. We hope the meeting will constitute an important opportunity for both leaders to discuss the modalities for a dialogue towards an inclusive and peaceful nation.
We urge the leaders to pay attention to the need for broad measures to restore the liberty of many persons who have been arrested or detained in the course of the Anglophone crisis. Persons who are being held only for taking part in peaceful protests — whatever the views they expressed —should be released. In a gesture of national reconciliation, consideration should be given to a broad measure of amnesty and rehabilitation, which will allow persons, including those who fled into exile or expressed views from abroad, to return to the country and participate in the process of peaceful resolution of the crisis. In the exercise of freedom of association which is protected under Cameroonian and international laws, groups based among the Anglophone community both at home and abroad should be able to operate as legitimate pressure groups and participate in resolving the crisis, while firmly adhering to the spirit of dialogue and non-violence.
We call on both leaders to examine the modalities for a concrete dialogue process to resolve the outstanding concerns raised. These include:
(1) Facilitation and mediation: The dialogue will be advanced by identifying facilitators or mediators who have the trust of Cameroonians, especially of the Anglophone community. Without prejudice to national prerogatives, the U.N. and other international and regional organisations have experience and expertise needed to provide or support, such facilitation or mediation.
(2) An inclusive dialogue and agenda: The dialogue should be representative of the shades of opinion among the Anglophone community — examining the legality of the union between Former British territory of Southern Cameroons and La Republic Du Cameroun, the return to a 2 State Federal Cameroon, which existed between 1961-1972, and the broader national community — on how better to manage national co-existence. Responding to a broad call by Cameroonians, it should examine, and improve how the centre of the State relates to its periphery: by transferring authority and decision-making to the Federal States, and equitably distributing resources between Federal States. It should resolve how cultural and linguistic specificities for the Anglophone community would be better secured through greater autonomy and differentiated arrangements in managing their educational, legal, and public administration systems. Such specific arrangements exist in many countries around the world in the form of Federal autonomous States.
(3) Entrench, implement and monitor its resolutions: For a crisis that has led to loss of life, liberty, educational opportunity, and property for so many, it is imperative that measures to resolve it be firmly grounded in Cameroon's Constitution, and entrenched against repeal, so as to serve future generations of Cameroonians to manage their co-existence. Institutions tasked with implementing its resolutions should be given powers that reflect the fundamental importance of their mandate to national co-existence: they should be able to enforce equal opportunities for Cameroonians, irrespective of their heritage. Progress made in implementing the resolutions should be monitored and reported to the nation periodically — to give assurance that indeed the country is faring better in handling its diversity.
We call for the convening of this dialogue, and for the U.N. and Cameroon's partners to support it."