By Hope Ndah
BUEA, Cameroon – The crises in Cameroon, Anglophone crisis and Boko Haram insurgence, have been named the world’s most neglected displacement crises following the Norwegian Refugee Council’s latest classification.
In its June 10, 2020 rating of the world’s most neglected displacement crises in 2019, the NRC enlisted Cameroon, DR Congo and Burkina Faso as the world’s three most neglected crisis countries respectively.
The NRC said it analysed 41 crises which all have at least 200,000 displaced persons, and the extent of crisis negligence was rated based on lack of political will, lack of media attention and lack of economic support.
The NRC’s rating touches Cameroon’s three worst humanitarian crises since independence: the crisis in the English-speaking Regions, Boko Haram insurgence and refugee crisis in the Far North and East Regions.
Talking on the crisis in the English-speaking Regions, the NRC said it has “displaced nearly 700,000 people within the country, while another 52,000 have fled to neighbouring Nigeria for safety.
“The Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon were already suffering from poverty prior to the crisis, and 80 per cent of all health and education services were not functioning.”
The Norwegian Refugee Council stressed that, “Although humanitarian assistance should be based on needs alone, some crises receive more attention and support than others. This neglect can be a result of a lack of geopolitical interest.”
Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group has said the Boko Haram insurgence in Cameroon’s Far North Region has killed some 2,000 people since 2014, displacing more than 250,000 others.
Cameroon also hosts 280,000 Central African refugees, some of who have already returned to their country.
“Every day millions of children, women and men are trapped in forgotten conflicts in far corners of the world. Political inaction is rife and international media attention is sorely lacking.
“As a result, humanitarian support is often insufficient to meet peoples’ needs. Too often, countless families are left to fend for themselves,” the NRC’s release states.
Poor Media Coverage Blamed On Gov’t Crackdown On Journalists
Despite the gruesome killings and sufferings endured by people in the crisis areas of Cameroon, the stories are hardly told by both local and international media.
The NRC has blamed this media coverage negligence on the stifled system of press freedom experienced in the country, where journalists are frequently victimised in any small attempt to navigate crisis areas.
“Reporters Without Borders ranked it 134th out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index, and reported frequent arbitrary detention and prosecution of journalists,” said the NRC.