The celebration of the golden jubilee of the founding of the Cameroon army on November29, 2010 in Bamenda coincides with the 10th Anniversary of the United Nations Security Council's landmark Resolution 1325, which aimed to put an end to sexual violence against women and girls in armed conflict and to encourage greater participation by female military officers in high decision making levels and in peace building initiatives. It is also a happy coincidence that President Paul Biya who is the commander in-chief of Armed Forces chosed November 29, which is the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of independence of the Cameroon army with theme: Defence Forces at the Service of Nation building. A Common Future, which is a leading national men's organization working with men to end violence and all forms of discrimination against women in Cameroon urges President Biya to take an appointment with history on this day by making bold, new, and more specific commitments on U.N.R 1325 which demands that member governments increase the participation of women in decisions about peace and security. Progress in this domain in Cameroon has unfortunately been anecdotal in the past decade. Cameroon also missed out an opportunity last October 26, 2010 at the U.N Security Council Ministerial Open Debate to join the 80 countries in making new commitments to its international engagements. As Cameroon military celebrates their 50th Anniversary in Bamenda this November 29, 2010, A Common Future Organization hails them for the brilliant achievements in the past decade in the defence of our territorial integrity, especially, in efforts at overcoming the Bakassi crisis peacefully. We equally congratulate the Cameroon police and the military that successfully took part in international peace missions in Cambodia, Kosovo, the Congo and others. Regrettably we note that women were not a missions, nor have Northwest authorities associated the women's Affairs Delegation in preparation for this important anniversary, which is against R1325. We also regret that rape as a weapon of humiliation continues to be used by some misguided young Cameroon soldiers on women and girls. Cameroon media have in the last few months reported on the conduct of the Rapid Intervention Force, BIR, in Misaje Sub Division, Donga Mantung, in the North West Region. This is part of the men, masculinities and violence culture A Common Future organisation is fighting. We are joining like-minded organisations across the globe, 16 Days of Activism theme: Militarism and the Intersections of violence Against Women to respond energetically to the many reports in Cameroon of husbands who have battered their wives to death and particularly of a police officer who this year shut his magistrate wife to death on mere suspicion of adultery, A Common Future is organising on the sidelines of the military jubilee in Bamenda, a Brides March and a men on women's shoes walkathon to protest against domestic violence. This, unfortunately, is not limited to husbands. The Divisional Officer for Fura Awa reported early last year that a man there beat his sister to death on suspicion that he visited a boyfriend. As an act of global solidarity to challenge militarism and demand an end to all forms of violence against Women, A Common Future is organising a Bamenda Human Rights Film Festival form December 02- 16, 2010 with 16 selected Films and documentaries on violence against Women in Cameroon. Through this, we are urging Cameroon government, which is Central Africa's military and diplomatic Superpower to lead the region in the protection of women. This can be done by putting women in senior level positions, and setting up a department for inclusive security in our Ministry of Defence. A Common Future believes that although women have been at the fore front of fighting violence against them, it is the primary responsibility of men to end violence against women by being part of the solution not part of the problem. We challenge men to reconsider their long held beliefs about women in an effort to create a more just society.
A Common Future