Sunday, 17 September 2017

Cameroon News - Barrister Robert NSO FON replies Tobias Ellwood - A Must Read

BARRISTER ROBERT NSO FON,
MBUFONZAK & ASSOCIATES LAW OFFICE,
P.O BOX 221 BAMENDA,
NORTH WEST REGION,
CAMEROON,
TEL; 237 677755559,
13 SEPTEMBER 2017.

THROUGH
THE BRITISH HIGH COMMISSIONER,
AVENUE WINSTON CHURCHILL,
YAOUNDE,
547 CAMEROUN,
TEL; 237 222 22 07 96/222 22 33 47,
FAX; 237 222 22 01 48.

TO
THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR AFRICA,
FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE,
KING CHARLES STREET,
LONDON.

Sir,
Subject; YOUR LETTER WITH REFERENCE MIN/109009/2017, DATED 2 MAY 2017, ADDRESSED TO JIM CUNNINGHAM MP, HOUSE OF COMMONS, LONDON.

I have read with great concern, your letter with reference MIN/109009/2017, dated 2 May 2017 signed by Tobias Ellwood MP, the then Minister for the Middle East and Africa in the Foreign and Commonwealth office, addressed to Jim Cunningham MP of the House of Commons in London. In the said letter, it is stated inter alia, that the British High Commissioner in Yaounde is closely following the situation in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon and about independence, it is stated that it is important to first state that the UK recognizes the outcome of the 1961 referendum organized by the UN in the then British Mandate territory in West Africa in which the two districts that comprised Southern Cameroons voted to become part of French-speaking Cameroon.

As a bona fide citizen by birth of the Former British Southern Cameroons and viewing with great disappointment what is currently happening in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon, I feel obliged to react to the letter referred to in the preceding paragraph and to state that in 1961, the former British Cameroons was a United Nations Trust Territory under United Kingdom administration and not a British Mandate Territory and the population never voted in a referendum to become part of French-speaking Cameroon but voted to gain independence by joining the already independent Republic of Cameroun. Even after the referendum referred to in your letter, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 1608(XV) on the 21 April 1961, prescribing the conditions under which the Trusteeship Agreement between the United Nations and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of 13 December 1946 will be terminated. My conclusion is justified with the following hard facts;
Cameroon News - Barrister Robert NSO FON replies Tobias Ellwood - A Must Read
After the 1st World War, the League of Nations was created and on the 10th of July 1919 in London, Viscount Milner, the then Secretary of State for the Colonies of the British Empire and M. Henry Simon, the then Minister for the Colonies of the French Republic, signed and published a Declaration, determining the frontier separating the German Kamerun placed respectively under the authority of their respective governments. The British Cameroons was then administered as a mandated territory in accordance with Article 22 of the Convention of the League of Nations. On the 09 January, 1931, there was the Franco-British Treaty Boundary properly defining the territory under British mandate which included the present North West and South West regions of Cameroun and the territory under French mandate which included the other eight regions of Cameroun.

In 1945, the United Nations Organization (UNO) was born with the signing of its Charter on the 26 June, 1945 at San Francisco and on the 13 December, 1946, the Trusteeship Agreement for the territory of the Cameroons under British Administration was signed between the General Assembly of the United Nations and His Majesty’s government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, following the provisions of Article 76 of the Charter of the UNO.

The objectives of the Trusteeship system as provided in Article 76 b of the Charter of the United Nations was to promote the political, economic, social and educational advancement of the inhabitants of the Trust territories, and their progressive development towards self-government or independence as may be appropriate to the particular circumstances of each territory and its peoples and the freely expressed wishes of the peoples concerned, and as may be provided by the terms of each trusteeship agreement;

On the 14 December 1960, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted resolution 1514(XV) on the Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples which in its paragraph 5, declared that, immediate steps shall be taken, in Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories or all other territories which have not yet attained independence, to transfer all powers to the peoples of those territories, without any conditions or reservations, in accordance with their freely expressed will and desires, without any distinction as to race, creed or colour, in order to enable them enjoy complete independence and freedom. The UK as the Administering Authority of the British Cameroons was expected to strictly respect the provisions of this resolution.

In respect of UNO resolution 1514(XV) on the Declaration on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples, UNO resolution 1349(XIII) of 13 March 1959 granted independence to the state of the Republic of Cameroun on the 01 January, 1960 with a well defined map, currency, language, anthem and flag as provided in Article 1 of the 04 March, 1960 Constitution of the Republic of Cameroun and which was endorsed by the then Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency Dag Hammarskjold. Following UNO resolution 1476(XV) of 20 September 1960, the Republic of Cameroun was admitted as a member state of the UNO in application of Article 4 of the UNO Charter and the Republic of Cameroun, just like the UK, subjected herself to the strict respect of the Charter of the UNO and all its resolutions.

In the speech of the then Secretary General of the United Nations, Dag Hammarskjold at the ceremony held on 1 January 1960 at Yaounde to mark the independence of the Republic of Cameroun, he said inter alia;
“ …. I am convinced that, in this new era, the people of the Cameroons as a whole will stand shoulder to shoulder like brothers so that together they may fully enjoy the benefits for which they have fought so ardently. There still remain problems to be solved. I am certain that soon the question of the future of the British Cameroons will find a solution in conformity with the democratic principles of the Charter…”

With respect to the Cameroons under British Trusteeship, UNO resolution 1352(XIV) of 16 October 1959, arrived at after receiving false information from the UK, rather recommended a plebiscite in the then British Southern Cameroons to be held between 30 September 1960 and March 1961 on the basis of the two questions set forth in paragraph 2 of the said resolution and in respect thereof, the populations of the then Southern Cameroons voted on the 11 February 1961 to achieve independence by joining the already independent state of the Republic of Cameroun. The peoples of Southern Cameroons never voted in February of 1961 to become part of French-speaking Cameroun. The legal implication of the outcome of the February 1961 referendum was that the peoples of Southern Cameroons were first to achieve independence and thereafter join the already independent Republic of Cameroun (even if both were to happen on the same date) following the democratic principles of the Charter of the United Nations. Unfortunately, the then UN Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjold was brutally murdered in a plane crash in the Congo and his desire to find a solution to the future of the British Cameroons in conformity with the democratic principles of the Charter of the United Nations was frustrated with the UK (the Administrating Authority) watching with admiration.

Her Majesty’s government in the British Cameroons Orders in Council of 26 June 1923 and 2 August 1946 respectively which separated the northern part from the Southern part of the British Cameroons was before Britain signed the Trusteeship Agreement with the United Nations on 13 December 1946 which gave Britain a Trust over a single territory, Cameroons under British Administration. For convenience, the UK administered the northern part of British Cameroons from the Northern Region of Nigeria and the southern part from the Eastern Region of Nigeria but that did not split the territory granted her as a UN Trust territory. The selfish interest of the UK was to eventually submerge the British Cameroons to her possession, Nigeria.

On the 21 April 1961 and after the referendum referred to in your letter, the General assembly of the UNO adopted resolution 1608(XV) on the future of the Trust Territory of the Cameroons under United Kingdom administration wherein Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the said resolution reads thus;

Decides that, the plebiscites having been taken separately with differing results, the Trusteeship Agreement of 13 December 1946 concerning the Cameroons under United Kingdom administration shall be terminated, in accordance with Article 76 b of the Charter of the United Nations and in agreement with the Administering Authority, in the following manner;
(a) With respect to the Northern Cameroons, on 1 June 1961, upon its joining the Federation of Nigeria as a separate province of the Northern Region of Nigeria;
(b) With respect to the Southern Cameroons, on 1 October 1961, upon its joining the Republic of Cameroun;
Invites the Administering Authority, the Government of the Southern Cameroons and the Republic of Cameroun to initiate urgent discussions with a view to finalizing, before 1 October 1961, the arrangements by which the agreed and declared policies of the parties concerned will be implemented.

Without any such tripartite meeting and without the agreed and declared policies of the parties as provided in the above paragraph 5 of UNO resolution 1608(XV), late President Amadou Ahidjo organized the failed Foumban Conference in respect of paragraph 5 of the UN General Assembly Res. 1608(XV) of 21 April 1961. The UK which was the Administering Authority was absent in the Foumban Conference and no agreed and declared policy of the parties was arrived at. Any agreed and declared policies of the already independent state of the Republic of Cameroun and the then Southern Cameroons before 01 October, 1961 would have been in consonance with the provisions of Article 102 of the Charter of the UNO.

Article 102
“Every treaty and every international agreement entered into by any member of the United Nations after the present Charter comes into force shall as soon as possible be registered with the Secretariat and published by it.
No party to any such treaty or international agreement which has not been registered in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article may invoke that treaty or agreement before any organ of the United Nations”.
Article 103
“In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligation under the present Charter shall prevail”.

On page 36 of the United Nations Trusteeship Council Report of the period from 1 July 1960 to 19 July 1961, the British government lied to the UN Trusteeship Council that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland had complied with paragraph 5 of the United Nations General Assembly resolution 1608(XV) on the future of the Trust territory of the Cameroons under United Kingdom administration (86,214 sqkm), wherein it is reported that a representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in one of the sessions of the Trusteeship Council stated that a meeting of representatives of the Southern Cameroons, the Republic of Cameroun and the Administering Authority (United Kingdom) had taken place in mid June of 1961 in Buea in the Cameroons under United Kingdom administration and the policies that were to be implemented for the unification were discussed.

The Foumban Conference meeting to discuss the issues of the unification between Southern Cameroons and the Republic of Cameroun in July 1961 was not the tripartite meeting envisaged by paragraph 5 of UN General Assembly resolution 1608(XV) as the Administering Authority (United Kingdom) was not present in the Foumban Conference and no agreed and declared policy of the parties was arrived at.

Since the 1 October 1961 when President Amadou Ahidjo extended his administration to the former Southern Cameroons till date, the map of the Cameroons under British mandate disappeared from the map of the world.

With a mere Exchange of notes between Her Majesty’s Ambassador at Yaounde, C.E. KING and the then President of the Republic of Cameroun, Mr. Ahmadou Ahidjo, recording the time and date of the termination of United Kingdom trusteeship in the Southern Cameroons, the 13 December, 1946 Trusteeship Agreement was terminated in total violation of the Trusteeship Agreement, the Charter of the United Nations and United Nations General Assembly resolutions and since the 01 October, 1961, the map of the Cameroons under British mandate disappeared from the map of the world with the complicity of the UK. The said exchange of notes signed by C.E. King and President Ahmadou Ahidjo reads thus;

“Exchange of notes between Her Majesty’s Ambassador at Yaounde and the President of the Republic of Cameroun recording the time and date of the termination of United Kingdom trusteeship in the Southern Cameroons
British Embassy,
YAOUNDE
27 September 1961
Sir,
On the instruction of my Government and in compliance with resolution 1608(XV) of the General Assembly of the United Nations, dated 21 April 1961, providing that the trusteeship exercised by the United Kingdom in the Southern Cameroons under the Trusteeship Agreement of 13 December 1946 shall be terminated on 1 October 1961 upon the Southern Cameroons joining the Republic of Cameroun, I have the honour to inform you that this trusteeship will cease to be exercised in the Southern Cameroons at midnight on 30 September 1961, as this Territory will join the Republic of Cameroun at 00.00 hours on 1 October 1961.

I have the honour to be, etc.

(Signed) C.E KING
Her Majesty’s Ambassador
His Excellency, Mr. Ahmadou AHIDJO,
President of the Republic of Cameroun,Yaounde
REPUBLIC OF CAMEROUN
The President of the Republic
Yaounde

27 September 1961
Sir, I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter of today’s date in which you informed me as follows;
“On the instruction of my Government and in compliance with resolution 1608(XV) of the General Assembly of the United Nations, dated 21 April 1961, providing that the trusteeship exercised by the United Kingdom in the Southern Cameroons under the Trusteeship Agreement of 13 December 1946 shall be terminated on 1 October 1961 upon the Southern Cameroons joining the Republic of Cameroun, I have the honour to inform you that this trusteeship will cease to be exercised in the Southern Cameroons at midnight on 30 September 1961, as this Territory will join the Republic of Cameroun at 00.00 hours on 1 October 1961”.

I note that, in accordance with the aforesaid resolution, the Southern Cameroons will join the Republic of Cameroun on 1 October 1961 and that, in consequence, the United Kingdom trusteeship over this territory will cease to be exercised at midnight on 30 September 1961.

I have the honour to be, etc.
(signed) A. AHIDJO
His Excellency Mr. C.E. King
Her Majesty’s Ambassador, Yaounde.

Your Excellency, the United Kingdom is directly responsible for what is currently happening in the former British Southern Cameroons as she did not only administered the UN Trust territory of the Cameroons in total violation of the 13 December 1946 Trusteeship Agreement and subsequent United Nations General Assembly Resolutions but lied to the Trusteeship Council of the United Nations. Rather than pretending that the UK recognizes the outcome of the 1961 referendum organized by the UN in the British Mandate territory in West Africa, the UK should acknowledge that she never respected the conditions precedent to terminate the Trusteeship Agreement of 13 December 1946. The UK is not only a member state of the UNO but a Security Council member who should champion the respect of the provisions of the Charter of the UN and all its resolutions.

I therefore respectfully call on the UK administration to acknowledge her responsibility and take immediate steps to ensure that the UNO rectifies and regularizes the non implementation of UN General Assembly Resolution 1608(XV) of 21 April 1961 on the future of the Cameroons under UK administration.

Thank you so very much and I count very much on the well known dispositions of the UK to respect not only the laws generally but the Charter and resolutions of the United Nations Organization in particular.

Yours truly,

Barrister Robert NSO FON

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