Disarmament, Demobilisation, Reintegration : Cameroon, United Nations, Assure Common Understanding

The International Organisation for Migration and the National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Committee held a workshop in Yaounde from March 20-22, 2023.

Following a request by Cameroon, the International Organisation for Migration, IOM Cameroon Country Office has been working with the National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Committee, NDDRC, since its creation on November 30, 2018 by President Paul Biya. By proposing policy, training, and to a lesser extent, operational support in the development and implementation of the National DDR programme, according to each regional context.


Assistance For Ex-Boko Haram, Amba Combatants 
IOM has been training local stakeholders on Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration, DDR as part of its Regional Programme for Disengagement, Dissociation, Reintegration and Reconciliation, DDRR of former Boko Haram fighters in the Far North Region of Cameroon. And since 2021, it has been working in the South West Region, offering assistance on handling former Amba combatants.


UN Oversees Workshop 
It was for this reason that IOM from March 20-22, 203 organised a workshop in Yaounde on the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Process.  It was jointly facilitated by the National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Committee, the International Organisation for Migration and the World Health Organisation, WHO. The training was overseen by representatives of the United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations from New York, United States of America, USA. Workshop participants were national and international DDR stakeholders. 


Boosting DDR Cameroon Efficiency 
The workshop sought to improve the efficiency of DDR in Cameroon. It revisited United Nations and NDDRC DDR approaches, discussed the policies and systems of planning and coordination DDR. It also handled the procedures and processes of reintegration, the tools, and the DDR programme in relation to armed groups, children, youth and health. 


Training Content 
The training prepared participants to critically analyse DDR responses in conflict and post-conflict situations; judiciously make use of policies, guidance and tools with necessary adjustments specific to each context. They evaluated DDR responses for different contexts and armed groups. Considered innovative DDR approaches, planned for the specific needs of women and children in DDR, and the activities linked to DDR.


IOM Always There For Cameroon!  
“Cameroon, through the Head of State, launched the DDR initiative in 2018. Ever since, the International Organisation for Migration, took the commitment to assist government to achieve the objectives contained in the presidential decree creating the centres,” recalled Abdel Rahmane Diop, IOM Country Representative for Cameroon.


Assuring Common Understanding
DDR is an international process coordinated by the United Nations Department for Peacekeeping Operations, Diop said. “Through the training, we wanted to connect Yaounde with New York because the Cameroonian case is peculiar. The training sought to ensure common understanding between DDR authorities in Cameroon and in New York,” Abdel Rahmane Diop explained.  


Adapting DDR To Local Realities 
According to Fai Yengo Francis, Head of the National Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration Committee, the workshop empowered participants from all three DDR centres in the country and partners. “DDR is a worldwide concept and it was necessary that we appropriate what is happening elsewhere in order to adapt it to our situation,” Fai Yengo noted. 


Each Country’s Specificity 
“Every country’s DDR programme has its specificities. In Cameroon, the DDR was created while the conflicts are still going on. This is premised on long-term peacekeeping. Elsewhere, DDR centres are only set up at the end of conflicts after peace agreements are signed,” he clarified. “We hope representatives of our DDR centres from Maroua, Bamenda and Buea were able to share their experiences in order move in the same direction. As at now, we have more than 3,000 ex-combatants in DD...



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