Cameroon's conflict is the 'world's most-neglected crisis'

The Norwegian Refugee Council has rated Cameroon's conflict with English-speaking separatists as the most-neglected in the world.

Roughly 20% of the country’s population of 24.6 million people are Anglophone. The majority are Francophone. The unfair domination of French-speaking politicians in government has long been the source of conflict.This is the second consecutive year the Cameroon conflict has topped the list.

The African nation's Anglophone minority are fighting for autonomy after what they term as decades of marginalisation by the central government and the French-speaking majority.

Some of the separatists have declared autonomy over two regions. However, President Paul Biya has rejected this move.

Cameroon has also been hit by a refugee crisis from the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) and continuous attacks in the north from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

The annual list of neglected crises is based on three criteria: lack of funding, lack of media attention, and political and diplomatic neglect.

African countries take 9 spots on the list of 10 on the list. Venezuela is the only non-African country this year.

The report also highlighted the ongoing armed conflict in the Sahel region, that includes Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, which has resulted in the deployment of military forces from a host of European nations.

The report said that humanitarian crises in all countries mentioned in this year's list are expected to worsen throughout 2020, also due to the coronavirus pandemic.

History of the crisis

Before the 60s the Southern Cameroons were a British administered territory from Nigeria. They elected to join the Republic of Cameroon by UN plebiscite in 1961 around the time of decolonisation.

When a power-sharing agreement was reached, the executive branch of government was meant to be shared by Francophones and Anglophones. However that agreement has not been upheld and, over the years.

The crisis came to a head in late 2016 when lawyers, joined by teachers and others with similar grievances, led protests in major western cities demanding that the integrity of their professional institutions be protected and their minority rights respected.

Over the last decade, more than 20,000 people have fled to neighbouring Nigeria, and an estimated 160,000 are displaced within Cameroon.