266/03 : Kevin Mgwanga Gunme et al / Cameroon Summary of Facts 1. The Complainants are 14 individuals who brought the communication on their behalf and on behalf 1 of the people of Southern Cameroon against the Republic of Cameroon, a State Party to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. 2. The Complain[an]ts allege violations which can be traced to the period shortly after “La Republique st du Cameroun” became independent on 1 January 1960. The Complainants state that Southern Cameroon was a United Nations Trust Territory administered by the British, separately from the Francophone part of the Republic of Cameroon, itself a French administered United Nations Trust nd Territory. Both became UN Trust Territories at the end of the 2 World War, on 13 December 1946 under the UN Trusteeship System. 3. The Complainants allege that during the 1961 UN plebiscite, Southern Cameroonians were offered “two alternatives” , namely: a choice to join Nigeria or Cameroon. They voted for the later. Subsequently, Southern Cameroon and La République du Cameroun, negotiated and adopted the September 1961 Federal Constitution, at Foumban, leading to the formation of the Federal Republic of st Cameroon on 1 October 1961. The Complainants allege further that the UN plebiscite ignored a third alternative, namely the right to independence and statehood for Southern Cameroon. 4. The Complainants allege that the overwhelming majority of Southern Cameroonians preferred independence to the two alternatives offered during the UN plebiscite. They favoured a prolonged period of trusteeship to allow for further evaluation of a third alternative. They allege further that the September 1961 Federal Constitution did not receive the endorsement of the Southern Cameroon House of Assembly. 5. The Complainants allege that the violations suffered by the people of Southern Cameroon emanate from the UN plebiscite of 11 February 1961 organised to determine the political future of Southern Cameroon, and the failure by the Respondent State to abide by the 1961 Federal Constitutional[sic]. st 6. They allege that on 1 October 1961 La Republique du Cameroun, with the tacit approval of the British government, drafted gendarmes, police and soldiers from the Francophone side into Southern Cameroon, which amounted to “forceful annexation”of Southern Cameroon. They allege that, “[a]t no time was sovereignty over Southern Cameroon transferred to a new Federal United Cameroons or any other entity.” They argue that the failure to exercise the third alternative, impacted negatively on the right of the people of Southern Cameroon to self determination. 7. The Complainants allege further that “notwithstanding the forceful annexation,” the people of Southern Cameroon remained a separate and distinct people. Their official working language is English, whereas the people in La Republique du Camerounare Francophones. The legal, educational and cultural traditions of the two parts remained different, as was the character of local administration. In spite of the foregoing, they allege further that the Respondent State manipulate [sic] demographic data to deny the people of Southern Cameroon equal rights to representation in government. They allege that the people of Southern Cameroon have been denied powerful positions within the national/federal government. They claim that the September 1961 Federal Constitution was designed to respect those differences. 8. The Complainants allege further that from the outset of unification in 1961, and the declaration of a unitary state in 1972, Southern Cameroonians remain marginalised. They allege that Southern Cameroon was allocated 20% instead of 22% of the seats in the Federal/National Assembly, as per the population ratio, thus denying them equal representation. They allege that in 1961 West Cameroon was allocated 20 representatives in the Federal Assembly instead of 26. Later when representation to the Assembly was expanded to 180 representatives, West Cameroon was allocated 35 representatives, instead of 40 representatives. The Complainants allege further that the Francophones occupy local administrative positions in Southern Cameroon, and abuse their positions

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