Cameroon: Membership cards of the Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC) and whether different versions are available; specimens (2019–September 2021) [CMR200612.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

Information on SCNC membership cards was scarce among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

For a sample of one version of a membership card of the SCNC, see the attachment in Response to Information Request CMR106136 of June 2018.

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a lawyer, who is the founder and head of a Cameroon-based law firm whose practice includes human rights law, stated that SCNC membership cards have the following security and identifying features:

  1. … the name SCNC, that is, Southern Cameroons National Council,
  2. The map of Southern Cameroons drawn on the front page,
  3. A bird at the middle or centre of the card, and
  4. The motto of Southern Cameroons National Council, which is, 'the force of argument, not the argument of force.'

(Lawyer 30 Aug. 2021, bold and italics in original)

The lawyer also described the following features that vary among the cards: colours, which change every year, and stamps, of which each ward has its own and which also vary by the year (Lawyer 30 Aug. 2021).

The lawyer further stated that the SCNC is divided into two zones, the Northern and the Southern, "each with several wards, chaired by ward chairpersons, who are responsible [for] signing [the] membership cards of their respective ward members" (Lawyer 30 Aug. 2021). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, the Director of Human Is Right Cameroon (HSR-Cmr) [1] stated that there are multiple signatories for SCNC cards which depend on the chapter or sector the members are in (Director 30 Aug. 2021).

The Director further stated that SCNC membership cards used to be printed on paper but are now produced on plastic, adding that samples of the cards cannot be provided because an individual caught in possession of a card would be subject to "arrest, detention and prolonged detention" for an unknown period of time (Director 30 Aug. 2021). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, a lead counsel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) who is the Head of Chambers for a Cameroon law firm stated that when SCNC cards were first established there was a systematized process for their issuance and distribution; however, as the SCNC was driven "underground" by the Cameroon government, "[t]here was no longer an organized structure for the issuing of membership cards" and cards were issued under "difficult conditions" with the "possibility of variations and even errors" (Lead Counsel 22 Sept. 2021).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

Note

[1] Human Is Right Cameroon (HSR-Cmr) is a non-profit NGO dedicated to the promotion and advancement of human rights, rule of law, access to justice, democracy, and peace in Cameroon and across Africa through a variety of activities, including projects and research (HSR-Cmr n.d.).

References

Director, Human Is Right Cameroon (HSR-Cmr). 30 August 2021. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Human Is Right Cameroon (HSR-Cmr). N.d. "Who We Are." [Accessed 3 Sept. 2021]

Lawyer, Cameroon-based law firm. 30 August 2021. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Lead Counsel, International Criminal Court (ICC). 22 September 2021. Correspondence with the Research Directorate.

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: AfricanDefenders; Ambazonia Governing Council; Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa – Committee for the Defence of Human Rights in Cameroon; Commission nationale des droits de l'homme et des libertés; International Crisis Group; journalist in Cameroon focusing on human rights; Justice Initiative Centre; Maison des droits de l'homme du Cameroun; Pro Bono Cameroun; Refugee Welfare Association Cameroon; Réseaux des défenseurs des droits humains en Afrique Centrale; Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation; Southern Cameroons Community UK; Southern Cameroons National Council UK; UN – Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Internet sites, including: African Centre for Crime and Security Studies; African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights; AfricanDefenders; Al Jazeera; Amba News 24; Ambazonia Governing Council; Amnesty International; Australia – Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Austria – Centre for Country of Origin and Asylum Research and Documentation; Bareta News; Belgium – Commissariat général aux réfugiés et aux apatrides; BBC; Bertelsmann Stiftung; Cameroon Concord News; Cameroon Goodwillers Montreal; Cameroon Intelligence Report; Cameroon Postline; Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa; Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions; Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative; Community Centre for Integrated Development; Denmark – Danish Immigration Service; ecoi.net; EU – European Asylum Support Office, European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations; Europa World Plus; Fédération internationale pour les droits humains; France – Office français de protection des réfugiés et apatrides; Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect; GlobalSecurity.org; Human Rights Watch; Institute for Security Studies; International Crisis Group; International Governance Institute Cameroon; Keesing's Documentchecker; Minority Rights Group International; Namati; The New Humanitarian; Norway – Landinfo; Organisation suisse d'aide aux réfugiés; Pan African Lawyers Union; Political Handbook of the World; Reporters sans frontières; Réseau camerounais des organisations des droits de l’homme; Réseaux des défenseurs des droits humains en Afrique Centrale; Rohi Foundation; Social Development International; Southern Cameroons Broadcasting Corporation; Southern Cameroons National Council – Headquarters, UK; Sweden – Swedish Migration Agency; Timescape; Transparency International Cameroon; UK – Home Office; UN – Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Official Document System, Refworld, UNHCR; US – Department of Justice, Department of State, Library of Congress; University of Buea.