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Database of Atrocities on Cameroon's Anglophone Crisis
- University of Toronto -

Aims | Creators | Submit | View | Contact | Crisis | ReferencesFrançais

Aims of the Database

The Database of Atrocities aims to:
  1. counter the culture of impunity that has pervaded this crisis since it began in 2016;
  2. secure evidence for future international accountability procedures and a possible national truth, justice, and reconciliation commission;
  3. assist human rights activists and journalists advocating for human rights in Cameroon;
  4. constitute an archive for scholarly research on Cameroon and the Anglophone Crisis and conflict;
  5. serve as a deterrence to warring parties from engaging in further atrocities.
This database is apolitical and non-partisan. It is a secure, centralized location that stores information about atrocities perpetrated during the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon. The atrocities violate domestic or international laws and rules of war.

Creators of the Database

The database is created by a group of researchers and civic leaders concerned by the devastating impacts of violence and atrocities in Cameroon's Anglophone regions, especially for civilians. Our team includes researchers at University of Toronto and Amnesty International's Digital Verification Corps (University of California - Berkeley, University of Essex, University of Pretoria, University of Toronto), with support from other GIS verifiers, Cameroonian nonprofits such as CHRDA, and a few prominent Cameroonians and friends of Cameroon who are neither affiliated with the Cameroon government nor with any of the non-state armed groups, or other warring parties.
This database is apolitical and will always avoid any partisan interferences. The database is hosted at University of Toronto (Canada) for reasons of neutrality and cybersecurity.

How to Submit Incidents to the Database

To submit incidents to the Database, click on this link and fill in as many fields as you can: https://cameroondatabase.ushahidi.io/posts/create/4
This method of uploading is completely anonymous. There is NO identifying information about the person or device uploading.

How to View the Database

To view verified information, go to: https://dataverse.scholarsportal.info/dataverse/cameroon.
Click on each item to view the verification report. You can download the verification reports onto your device. Sort through the verified incidents by clicking on the 'key words' category in the left column. In this way, you may categorize results by type of atrocity and likely perpetrator.
If you have questions about how to navigate the website, please see the Dataverse FAQ or contact us at cameroondatabase@rotman.utoronto.ca.
The information in the database contains graphic content. Please see the following resources on resiliency and trauma: https://research.rotman.utoronto.ca/Cameroon/ResourcesOnReciliency.htm

Contact

cameroondatabase@rotman.utoronto.ca

The Anglophone Crisis

The Anglophone Crisis occurring in Cameroon's South-West Region and North-West Region poses an existential threat to millions of Cameroonians and risks undermining Cameroon's national stability as well as that of the Central- and West-Africa sub-regions. It encompasses grave crimes against humanity, and must not be allowed to slide into genocide.
Cameroon is an officially bilingual country, with two English-speaking regions and eight French-speaking regions. The Crisis emerged in October 2016, when Anglophone lawyers and teachers took to the streets on strike to protest the government's placement of French-language judges, teachers, and procedures in Anglophone-region courts and schools. The Crisis began as the newest iteration of Cameroon's historical 'Anglophone Problem', which refers to political, economic, and social marginalization felt by Anglophone Cameroonians in the Francophone-dominated country. Anglophones make up approximately 20 percent of the country's population and Francophones the remaining 80 percent.
The government met the 2016 peaceful protests with force, and in January 2017, jailed the movement's leaders and cut internet to the regions for months. As the crisis worsened, Anglophone activists responded with weekly 'ghost towns' (halting markets, forbidding travel) and closing schools.
Notably, the Crisis has "outgrown the less-complicated demands that originally led to the strike action initiated by teachers and lawyers... [T]he protests... have increasingly become suffused with burgeoning clamours for independence" (Caxton, 2017). On October 1, 2017, separatists symbolically declared an independent state, 'Ambazonia'. Over time, amplified violence by Cameroon's security forces sparked retaliatory attacks by various local armed separatist groups.
Today, the conflict has birthed approximately nineteen non-state armed groups who frequently use irregular tactics in confrontations with government forces (International Crisis Group, 2019: 32-33). According to International Crisis Group in September 2019, approximately 3000 people have died, at least 500,000 have become internally displaced persons (IDPs), 40,000 are now refugees in Nigeria, and 700,000 children are deprived of school. UNOCHA reports that, as of July 2019, 1.3 million people in the Anglophone Regions are in urgent need of humanitarian aid.
Government forces have engaged in:
Some of these non-state armed groups have:
Civilians are trapped in the crossfire. The Crisis is now a humanitarian disaster, rife with deplorable human rights violations and inhumane violence.
Cameroon's Anglophone conflict has been underreported in international and African media. In fact, it tops the Norwegian Refugee Council's list of 2019 Most Neglected Displacement Crises. In April 2019, Human Rights Watch's main researcher for Cameroon was denied entry into the country at the Douala airport en route to investigate and report on human rights violations in the English-speaking regions. Cameroonian journalists have been jailed for trying to cover the Crisis.
Civilians and combatants alike use social media to share information about the conflict. However, this information is diffuse and disorganized. It is also not authenticated, and in some cases images of past incidents or incidents from other countries are recirculated on social media with false attribution to the Crisis. Civilians caught with Crisis information in their phones may be harmed by military, and in Cameroon's current climate of mistrust, people pass information to their friends of friends of friends to post to avoid being traced. Cameroon's government has threatened, detained, and physically harmed journalists.
The Cameroonian government has not met its 'responsibility to protect,' and the Crisis continues. It demands regional and international attention and action to reduce violence, protect civilians, care for refugees and IDPs, reestablish human rights, and permit a ceasefire and peace negotiations.
Having access to verified information and evidence of atrocities taking place in Cameroon could be extremely helpful in encouraging these outcomes.
This Database of Atrocities will securely store sensitive information about atrocities to support an end to the Anglophone Crisis, so that the suffering of civilians eases, and peace and justice can take over.
For more information about crimes against humanity in the Anglophone Crisis:

References

 
 
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