The socio-political crisis in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon featured in discussions at the 18th Summit of Heads of State and Government of Non-Aligned Movement organised in Baku from October 25-26, 2019.
During the summit holding under the theme, “Upholding Bandung principles to ensure a concerted and adequate response to the challenges of the contemporary world”, leaders from about 60 countries across the globe and heads of international organizations in attendance reaffirmed their commitment to the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Cameroon.
In a statement issued at the end of the summit, the Heads of State and Government condemned in strong terms the repeated abuses and attacks against civilians and Cameroon defence and security forces by armed groups in the North West and South West regions.
They however saluted Cameroon’s tireless efforts in promoting dialogue and the return to peace in the English speaking regions. They consequently called on the international community to impose targeted sanctions on separatist’s leaders who bear responsibility for such abuses.
The holding of the Major National Dialogue, an initiative of President Paul Biya to end the crisis in the North West and South West regions, was described by world leaders at the summit as a demonstration of the ability and leadership of the President of the Republic to find lasting solutions to the situation prevailing in Cameroon and get the two regions out of the spiral of violence.
Measures taken by the government of Cameroon to enhance peace, security and reconstruction were also perceived as salutary and concrete actions towards confidence building in view of appeasing the socio-political climate in the restive regions.
The summit expressed appreciation for the support of the international community to Cameroonian authorities and urged it to provide broad assistance to help government implement numerous initiatives including the Humanitarian assistance plan for Internally Displaced Persons in the North West and South West regions.
The summit was attended by Heads of State and Government as well as senior government officials from 120 member countries, and representatives of the 17 observer countries and 10 observer organisations.
The General Debate of the 18th NAM Summit is being held on the theme of “Upholding the Bandung Principles to Ensure concerted and Adequate Response to the Challenges of Contemporary world.”
Background of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing countries as well as 17 countries and 10 International Organizations with Observer status. It is the largest grouping of states worldwide after the United Nations.
The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations’ members and contain 55% of the world population.
The five principles of the Non-Aligned Movement:
- Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
- Mutual non-aggression.
- Mutual non-interference in domestic affairs.
- Equality and mutual benefit.
- Peaceful co-existence.
It was officially established in 1961 as not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc following discussions of the 1955 Bandung Conference of Asian and African states hosted by Indonesian President Sukarno on the Non-Aligned Movement.
The conference adopted a “declaration on promotion of world peace and cooperation” and a collective pledge to remain neutral in the Cold War. Bandung Principles adopted during the conference serve up to date as the purposes and objectives of the policy of non-alignment.
The first Conference of Heads of State and Government of Non-Aligned Countries took place in Belgrade in September 1961. The organisation became in movement after the fifth conference in 1976.
The Movement promotes the principles of multilateralism, equality, and mutual non-aggression in an attempt to promote the voice of the global South, and the needs of members at the international level.
The chairmanship of the movement does not align with any geopolitical or military structure rotates between countries and changes at every summit of Heads of State and Government to the country organizing the summit.
The Non-Aligned Movement has played frontline roles in ideological conflicts, including firm opposition to apartheid in South Africa.