Lord Alton of Liverpool – To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the killing of six children in an attack on a school in Kumba, Cameroon on 24 October; and what representations they intend to make to the government of Cameroon about (1) the provision of protection for schools, (2) the declaration of a ceasefire, and (3) the case for formal negotiations to find a resolution to the crisis in the Anglophone regions.
Baroness Sugg – The UK Government is appalled by the attack on the Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in Kumba, Cameroon, on 24 October and the horrific killing of innocent children. We offer our condolences to the families of those affected. On 25 October the Minister for Africa publicly called for the perpetrators of this vile act to be held accountable, reiterating that every child has the right to a safe education. As the Prime Minister’s UK Special Envoy for Girls’ Education, I am committed to ensuring girls’ rights remains a priority for the UK Government including fulfilling every girl’s right to 12 years of quality education.
The UK Government remains deeply concerned about the situation in the North-West and South-West (Anglophone) regions of Cameroon including reports of human rights abuses and violations by both armed separatists and security forces.
We continue to call for restraint, an end to the violence and inclusive dialogue about the root causes of the crisis, including during engagement with senior levels of the Government of Cameroon. The Minister for Africa has committed to visiting Cameroon soon and will again raise the Government’s concerns about the crisis directly with the Government of Cameroon. The UK has shared experiences of conflict resolution with the Government, and through the British High Commission in Yaoundé we are also supporting local partners in their efforts to promote peace. We continue to urge all parties to remain engaged in ongoing Swiss-led efforts to facilitate talks and remain ready to support all credible peacebuilding efforts.
Lord Alton of Liverpool – To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to their response to the report by the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee The UK and Sub-Saharan Africa: prosperity, peace and development cooperation, published on 18 September, how they are working with the government of France on shared priority issues in Cameroon and Nigeria; whether they cooperate with that government on internal and regional security issues in Cameroon and Nigeria as well as those concerning Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in West Africa; and if not, what plans they have to do so.
Baroness Sugg – We cooperate closely with the French Government on our shared priorities of prosperity, peace and development in Cameroon and Nigeria. This includes working together in support of Cameroonian and Nigerian efforts to tackle the terrorist threat posed by Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa in the Lake Chad Basin region, for example, through our funding and operational support to the Multi-National Joint Taskforce, which seeks to coordinate the military response to the conflict.