In April 2020, and for the second year running, the Norwegian Relief Council classified the conflict in Southern Cameroons as the most neglected conflict in the world. The implications for victims of this conflict are dire. As a consequence of this neglect, there are minimal efforts by the international community to address the root causes of the conflict and bring about sustainable peace. There is also minimal funding allocated by the in-ternational community to address the mass displacements of indigent popu-lations caused by the conflict which, by most accounts, has resulted in over 120,000 Refugees and 1.2m internally displaced.
Furthermore, an estimated 4.3 million people living within the conflict zone face food security challenges. VRF will carry out advocacy to ensure that the voices of victims are heard and their plight is brought to light. VRF advocacy will also seek to increase international pressure on armed state and non-state actors to respect human rights of civilian populations and internally displaced persons, and for host countries to respect the rights of refugees and to treat refugees with dignity and respect.
The current and ongoing needs of refugees and IDPs from the Southern Cameroons conflict have overwhelmed the abil-ity of the few humanitarian relief organizations involved in providing assistance both in the Cameroons where there are an estimated 1.2m IDPs and in Nigeria where the bulk of the over 120,000 refugees reside. The fact that the Southern Cameroons conflict continues to be the most neglected conflict in the world has only served to exacerbate an already dire situation. VRF interventions will seek to sustainably address the most pressing needs of the most vulnerable populations affected by the conflict. VRF Programmes will primarily focus on education, agriculture and agro-allied industries.
There are estimated 120,000 Southern Cameroonians seeking refuge abroad, escaping from the increasingly violent conflict that has claimed an estimated 30,000 lives in less than 4 years. Refugees are mostly found in Nigeria, but many have crossed through Nigeria to Ghana, South Africa, Europe, South America and the United States.
It is remarkable that Southern Came-roonians are now the single largest group of Africans on the US southern border with Mexico, seeking asylum into the United States.
The conflict in Southern Cameroons has led mass displacements of over 1.2m people. An estimated 600,000 people are living in the bushes and forests, exposed to the elements, either because their villages have been burnt down or they have suffered violent attacks mostly from armed state actors and at times from non-state armed groups. There are also large numbers of displaced persons who have left interior villages in Southern Cameroons and moved to urban centers within Southern Cameroons and to towns in la Republique du Cameroun.
La Republique du Cameroun is holding an estimated 3,000 Southern Cameroonians in various military, paramilitary and civilian detention facilities across its territory. Detainees are often subjected to degrading and inhumane treatment, torture and even summary executions at the hands of the Cameroun security and penitentiary agencies. Detainees are often abducted without warrants, held incommunicado for long periods of time without access to legal representation or family, kept in arbitrary and illegal detention for years in violation of international laws and conventions, subjected to unfair and sham trials without due process in military tribunals, and handed uncharacteristically long sentences that do not reflect any semblance of the made up charges that are levelled against them.