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VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Officer/Programme Assistant Coordinator PDF Print E-mail
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Monday, 09 June 2014 23:54

VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT: Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Officer/Programme Assistant
Coordinator

download the annoucement here.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 22:16
 
International support from EDLC to persecuted MBOSCUDA Members PDF Print E-mail
Written by Aliou   
Monday, 27 May 2013 02:49

 

May 23, 2013

The Honorable President

Of Court of First Instance

Bamenda -Cameroon

Re: Criminal charges pending against Mr. Musa Usman Ndamba

Your Honor,

Please accept respectful greetings from the Environmental Defender Law Center (EDLC, www.edlc.org), a U.S.-based non-profit organization that works to protect the human rights of people in developing countries who are fighting against harms to their communities, their way of life, and their environment. EDLC was founded in 2003 to enlist the biggest and best law firms in the world to work pro bono on behalf of people such as Mr. Musa Usman Ndamba, a defendant in a criminal case pending before you.

Human rights and environmental defenders are frequently the victims of retaliatory lawsuits, fabricated charges of serious criminal acts, and torture. We believe the charges brought against Mr. Musa Usman Ndamba are of this type. Mr. Musa Usman Ndamba is the vice-president of the Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association (MBOSCUDA), an organization which has championed the rights, including land rights, of Mbororo pastoralists in northwestern Cameroon since the 1990s. MBOSCUDA sent a Universal Periodic Review submission to the U.N. Human Rights Council in August 2012, detailing the threats faced by members of their community, and particularly those active within MBOSCUDA. We further believe the claims contained in this submission have contributed to the worsening persecution of Mr. Musa Usman Ndamba and other MBOSCUDA leaders, including violent acts.

EDLC has concluded that the criminal charges in this case against Mr. Musa Usman Ndamba are ill-founded in fact and in law, and instead are being brought in retaliation for his work as a human rights advocate. These charges constitute serious violations of his rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, and freedom of petition, and are in clear violation of international human rights law and treaties to which Cameroon is a signatory and to which it is bound. The overwhelming consensus reflected by international law and

practice indicates that any criminal punishment of Mr. Musa Usman Ndamba for the actions complained of in these charges would be a clear violation of Cameroon’s obligations under, inter alia, 407 W. Koch St. / Bozeman, MT 59715 U.S.A. / (406) 586-8294 / www.edlc.org

Articles 19 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights; Articles 9 and 10 of the African Charter on Peoples and Human Rights; and the  United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

EDLC will be closely monitoring the upcoming hearings and outcomes in this case. Should the case proceed beyond the hearing scheduled for next week, EDLC will likely recruit a major international law firm to join the growing international effort to  publicize the case and to assist in Mr. Musa Usman Ndamba defense. The firms with which EDLC works typically have3,000 lawyers, and primarily represent corporations doing business in countries around the world, including Cameroon. We remain hopeful and confident that your Government will recognize that the charges brought against Mr. Musa Usman Ndamba violate his human rights, and will take the necessary measures for the dismissal of  all the charges brought against him.

Sincerely,

Executive Director

CC:

High Commissioner for Human Rights, U.N. Human Rights Council

Ms. Navanethem Pillay (South Africa) This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders

Ms. Margaret SEKAGGYA (Uganda) This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

U. N. Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression , Mr. Frank La Rue (Guatemala), This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Last Updated on Monday, 27 May 2013 02:56
 
Frontline Defenders Press Release PDF Print E-mail
Written by Aliou   
Sunday, 26 May 2013 00:28

 

Cameroon: Judicial harassment against human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba and other members of MBOSCUDA

Musa Usman NdambaMusa Usman Ndamba

On 10 May 2013, human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba appeared before the Court of First Instance in Bamenda, on charges related to unsubstantiated allegations of misinformation.

Musa Usman Ndamba is the vice-president of Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association(MBOSCUDA), a social organisation which has championed the rights, including land rights, of Mbororo pastoralists in north-western Cameroon since the 1990s. At the heart of the case is a complaint filed by a local wealthy landowner, Mr Baba Ahmadou Dampullo, whose agents have reportedly threatened the human rights defender and his colleagues on a number of occasions.

As the court hearing began, the human rights defender was read four charges listed on a formal summons which was drafted in mid-April but served to him just one day before the hearing. Specifically, the prosecutor alleged that Musa Usman Ndamba had propagated false information capable of damaging the reputation of public authorities, and had made false declarations in a court of law whilst being under oath.

It was also alleged that the human rights defender had made false allegations against Baba Ahmadou Dampullo, and had as a result injured his reputation. Musa Usman Ndamba, who was accompanied by his counsel, denied all the allegations and pleaded not guilty to all four counts. His counsel eventually secured his bail before the hearing was adjourned to 27 May 2013.

MBOSCUDA also reports that at least five members of its staff have been forced to go into hiding after appearing as witnesses in an investigation into the attempted murder of MrJeidoh Duni, a Mbororo activist and also a MBOSCUDA paralegal. In an apparent act of retaliation against their testimony, false charges related to the “possession of fire arms” have been levelled against them and arrest warrants issued against them by the military tribunal of Bafoussam. In Cameroon, any crime that involves fire-arms comes under the jurisdiction of the military tribunal.

Jeidoh Duni at hospital following an attack on him.Jeidoh Duni at hospital following the attack on him.

MBOSCUDA has maintained that those who shot and injured Jeidoh Duni were hired killers and has demanded full justice in this case. Of the five suspects who were arrested after the incident, three confessed to the crime and one even went so far as mentioning landowner Baba Ahmadou Dampullo as being behind the attack. However, all the suspects were released soon after they were handed over to the Gendarme authorities of the North-West Legion.

MBOSCUDA has recently drafted a Universal Periodic Review submission to the UN in which they detail the sorts of threats that members of their community, and particularly those active within MBOSCUDA, face. The claims articulated within this submission are believed to have contributed to the worsening harassment of MBOSCUDA leaders. Musa Usman Ndamba's case is far from being an isolated incident of judicial harassment of Mbororo leaders; other Mbororo leaders presently undergoing judicial harassment as a result of their activism include Mr Lamido Roufai Dahirou, a prominent MBOSCUDA member and community leader, as well as Messrs Sule Buba Dicko and Uselni Adamu, both of whom are leaders of the Mbororo Aku organisation ACUDA.

Front Line Defenders is concerned that the unsubstantiated allegations being brought against Musa Usman Ndamba are in retaliation for his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights, particularly land rights of the Mbororo pastoralists. Front Line Defenders also believes that the ongoing campaign of intimidation against MBOSCUDA leaders is related to their collaboration with international organisations and to their participation in the aforementioned investigation.

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 26 May 2013 00:31
 
Frontline Defenders Press Release PDF Print E-mail
Written by Aliou   
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 23:44

Cameroon: Judicial harassment against human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba and other members of MBOSCUDA

Logo of MBOSCUDALogo of MBOSCUDA

On 11 May 2013, human rights defender Mr Musa Usman Ndamba appeared before the Court of First Instance in Bamenda, on charges related to unsubstantiated allegations of misinformation.

Musa Usman Ndamba is the vice-president of Mbororo Social and Cultural Development Association(MBOSCUDA), a social organisation which has championed the rights, including land rights, of Mbororo pastoralists in north-western Cameroon since the 1990s. At the heart of the case is a complaint filed by a local wealthy landowner, Mr Baba Ahmadou Dampullo, whose agents have reportedly threatened the human rights defender and his colleagues on a number of occasions.

As the court hearing began, the human rights defender was read four charges listed on a formal summons which was drafted in mid-April but served to him just one day before the hearing. Specifically, the prosecutor alleged that Musa Usman Ndamba had propagated false information capable of damaging the reputation of public authorities, and had made false declarations in a court of law whilst being under oath.

It was also alleged that the human rights defender had made false allegations against Baba Ahmadou Dampullo, and had as a result injured his reputation. Musa Usman Ndamba, who was accompanied by his counsel, denied all the allegations and pleaded not guilty to all four counts. His counsel eventually secured his bail before the hearing was adjourned to 27 May 2013.

MBOSCUDA also reports that at least five members of its staff have been forced to go into hiding after appearing as witnesses in an investigation into the attempted murder of MrJeidoh Duni, a Mbororo activist and also a MBOSCUDA paralegal. In an apparent act of retaliation against their testimony, false charges related to the “possession of fire arms” have been levelled against them and arrest warrants issued against them by the military tribunal of Bafoussam. In Cameroon, any crime that involves fire-arms comes under the jurisdiction of the military tribunal.

MBOSCUDA has maintained that those who shot and injured Jeidoh Duni were hired killers and has demanded full justice in this case. Of the five suspects who were arrested after the incident, three confessed to the crime and one even went so far as mentioning landowner Baba Ahmadou Dampullo as being behind the attack. However, all the suspects were released soon after they were handed over to the Gendarme authorities of the North-West Legion.

MBOSCUDA has recently drafted a Universal Periodic Review submission to the UN in which they detail the sorts of threats that members of their community, and particularly those active within MBOSCUDA, face. The claims articulated within this submission are believed to have contributed to the worsening harassment of MBOSCUDA leaders. Musa Usman Ndamba's case is far from being an isolated incident of judicial harassment of Mbororo leaders; other Mbororo leaders presently undergoing judicial harassment as a result of their activism include Mr Lamido Roufai Dahirou, a prominent MBOSCUDA member and community leader, as well as Messrs Sule Buba Dicko and Uselni Adamu, both of whom are leaders of the Mbororo Aku organisation ACUDA.

Front Line Defenders is concerned that the unsubstantiated allegations being brought against Musa Usman Ndamba are in retaliation for his peaceful and legitimate work in defence of human rights, particularly land rights of the Mbororo pastoralists. Front Line Defenders also believes that the ongoing campaign of intimidation against MBOSCUDA leaders is related to their collaboration with international organisations and to their participation in the aforementioned investigation

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:46
 
Yaoundé Declaration of the 1st ILC Africa Land Forum PDF Print E-mail
Written by Aliou   
Friday, 16 November 2012 22:56

 

Yaoundé Declaration

Preamble

We, 95 participants from 22 countries, representing indigenous and non-indigenous organisations, have been hosted by MBOSCUDA for the 1st Africa Land Forum, with the theme ‘Securing the land rights of indigenous people and rural communities’, in Yaoundé, Cameroon from November 7-8, 2012.

Our common goal is to promote people-centred land governance, which serves the needs of the poor and most vulnerable. We identified the following challenges to our goal and proposed the following recommendations to overcome them.

Challenges and issues emerging

The following issues are of great concern to us:

1. The land rights of women are still limited by our African patriarchal systems. Equally, our laws and policies fail to recognise and protect the land rights of indigenous and minorities who use land and natural resources in different ways from other populations. In particular, we note that the value of transhumance for healthy livestock and environmental protection is often ignored, and few efforts are made to secure land for groups who are nomadic.

2. We observe an alarming rise in land grabbing by local and national elites and external players, including the state and private investors, of the land of the poor. States compete for land and resources with its citizens, fail to meet commitments to invest in land reforms, and often act in the interests of an elite minority.

3. Land is also under pressure as a result of population growth and climate change.

4. This is taking place within a wider context of a lack of transparency and of information on rights to land by citizens. Low literacy of land laws by citizens,  a lack of land laws published in native languages and complex land administration systems make it difficult for the poor to secure land rights.

5. Commodification and privatization of land has led to conflict and  undermined customary land tenure systems. In addition, the creation of national parks and protected areas continues to cause the displacement of people. Landlessness is becoming a problem in our continent.

6. Despite the existence of policies and legislation on land, their implementation is poor. The important role that civil society should play in the formulation and implementation of land policies and laws is often ignored by governments.

Recommendations

In addressing the above issues, the Africa Land Forum recommends the following:

1. Sustainable and equitable land governance. National development plans should accommodate for projected population growth and climate change; governments should provide durable solutions for landless people in land reforms.

2. Legally recognise and protect the land rights of all land users. This should include registration of collective rights over the commons, including grazing lands and transhumance routes. Greater use can be made of innovative and low cost methods for securing tenure rights

3. Ensure wide participation in decision-making over land. Particular attention should be paid to the inclusion of women and minorities. Furthermore, greater support should be provided to establish and strengthen networks of indigenous and minority groups to advance their common interests. Civil society organisations can play a strong role in building national multi-stakeholder platforms to strengthen inclusion and participation.

4. End discrimination of women and minorities. Customary law and legislation should be harmonized so that women and men have equal rights to control and own land and natural resources. The rights of pastoralists and indigenous people should be upheld in national legislation.

5. Use widely adopted guidelines for good land governance. We fully affirm the standards and benchmarks of the Africa Land Policy Framework and the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security, and call for the reform of national land processes where they do not conform to these standards. Legal frameworks need to be accessible in local languages to African citizens.

6. A primary place for small-scale producers should be given in national strategies for food security and rural development. Any decisions on large-scale land-based investments should be transparent and made with the full Free Prior and Informed Consent of local communities. Governments should put in place simplified and well facilitated structures to process land acquisitions, transfers and disposals, taking into consideration the equitable property rights of indigenous populations.

7. Benefits and compensation. The benefits of the investments should accrue to the affected communities. Independent assessments of the resource values and  compensation that is commensurate with the losses that span the economic opportunities and disruption of social systems should be conducted.

8. Fair and accessible land conflict resolution mechanisms should be put in place, particularly where land and natural resources are shared by indigenous peoples and others.

In conclusion, we commend the Government of Cameroon for their stated commitment to land reform. We offer our support to its implementation, and we call on the Government, as well as the other States in Africa, to follow the principles of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples unequivocally in all governance structures and decision-making over land. The Government of Cameroon should give special consideration to Mbororo and Pigmy communities.

In declaring closed the first Land African Forum we would like to express our gratitude to MBOSCUDA for welcoming all of us and also to the Government for facilitating the hosting of this Forum.

Source: http://www.landcoalition.org/news/yaounde-declaration-1st-ilc-africa-land-forum

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 November 2012 19:27
 
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