There is an escalating humanitarian crisis in Cameroon where more than half a million people have been displaced by conflict.
This conflict erupted in earnest in late 2017 and early 2018 in a series of attacks and reprisals between Anglophone separatists and the French dominated government. In international affairs circles, this is known as the “Anglophone Crisis” in Cameroon.
As my guest today Jan Egeland says, when hundreds of thousands of civilians are displaced, it usually sets off international alarm bells. But this is not the case with Cameroon. There is virtually no international mediation, very little media attention, and the humanitarian response has been woefully inadequate.
Jan Egeland is the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, a large humanitarian relief organization. He has spent his career in humanitarian affairs, including serving as an under secretary general of the United Nations and as a humanitarian relief advisor for the UN in Syria. He is one of the world’s most high profile humanitarian relief experts and he is sounding the alarm on this crisis.
Jan Egeland recently returned from a fact finding trip to the crisis-affected regions of Cameroon. A few days after we recorded this conversation, he’s briefing the Security Council on this humanitarian crisis. You can consider this conversation a preview and extended version of the message he’ll be sending to the Security Council.
This episode does a good job explaining what is driving this crisis. However, if you want a deeper explanation of the origins of the Anglophone crisis, I will point you to a podcast episode from January 2018, recorded just as this crisis was erupting that goes more in depth into the historical roots of the anglophone crisis. Also, if you want to learn more about Jan Egeland himself, I’ll point you to episode number 52 of Global Dispatches, from back in 2015 in which Jan Egeland discusses his life and career in more detail.
If you have 20 minutes and want to learn about this under-the-radar crisis, have a listen