Cameroon: English-speaking Minority

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office – in the House of Commons on 2nd March 2021.

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Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

What the Government’s policy is on the current status of the English-speaking minority in Cameroon.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The situation in Cameroon’s anglophone region remains deeply concerning. We continue to call for an end to all violence and the restart of an inclusive dialogue that addresses the root cause of the crisis. When I spoke to Prime Minister Ngute in December, I reiterated the UK’s commitment to supporting a peaceful resolution to this issue.

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough

The situation in southern Cameroon is indeed deeply concerning. What is happening there to the anglophone minority of some 5 million people is terrible. There are numerous human rights abuses. The francophone president—a corrupt dictator—has been in power since 1982, and is refusing to devolve any power at all to the English-speaking minority. Will the Government now act? Will the Foreign Secretary, at the highest level, take it up with our French allies, as they have enormous influence in francophone Africa? Will the Minister for Africa do the equivalent of old gunboat diplomacy in our soft-power age, and himself visit southern Cameroon to take up this issue, and try to help our English-speaking friends who we betrayed back in 1962?

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

I certainly will visit Cameroon at the earliest possible opportunity. I can reassure my right hon. Friend that we have worked very closely with our French and American partners, alongside other partners. We also do an awful lot of work through this House and through Sir Jeffrey M. Donaldson on bringing peace to that region and sharing experiences. I thank him for his interest and certainly will commit to further activity and a visit in due course.