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Jan Cappelle

Joined January 2019
Interests: Community / Customary Land Rights, Criminal Justice, Environmental Justice, Governance, Accountability & Transparency, Peace-building & Transitional Justice, Traditional / Customary Justice, Women's Rights
I am the founder and chairman of the farmers association OFFGO, located in Cameroon. In Mbengwi Sub-Division, in the North West Region of Cameroon, OFFGO provides education and legal support to 400 villagers. In Big Babanki, nearby Bamenda, it provides legal support to almost all victims (300+) of a case of forced eviction which took place in 1997-1998. The victims were forced to make place for the plantation Ndawara Tea Estate. The victims claim that this happened violently, with reported cases of rape of women and children and deaths, and that they did not receive compensation for loss of homes and land. High-level advocacy by its traditional rulers resulted in a 2004 Governmental report, confirming land grabs by Baba Danpullo. Despite these conclusions, the situation remains unresolved.

I am a victim of human rights violations. The situation started in 2015, shortly after the transmission of a report from traditional communities to the Governor of the North West Region about the situation of land grabbing in the North West Region. The Chief of Tudig village, Cameroon, requested OFFGO to assist with the redaction of this report. In reaction, I got arrested, detained, I lost my residency permit and got removed from the country. They killed my animals, destroyed my farm house. OFFGO's members and supporters received numerous death threats.

On March 31, 2017, the farmers association OFFGO filed a complaint with the Cameroonian National Human Rights Institution NCHRF, requesting for investigation and action. In reaction, the Presidential Secret Intelligence agency DGRE accuses me of inciting farmers to protest against land grabs, and attempted murder of business magnate and politician Alhadji Baba Ahmadou Danpullo.

In reviewing the complaint, the Cameroonian human rights body interviewed more than 50 community members, administrative and judicial authorities in the North West Region of Cameroon as well as the central authority, National Police services and the Presidential secret intelligence agency. After almost two years of investigations, the Human Rights Institution shared its findings on December 28 2018. It concludes gross human rights violations. I was targeted in my function as chairman of OFFGO. The NCHRF finds Baba Ahmadou Danpullo complicit in the human rights violations. The NCHRF declares the arrest arbitrary and the detention abusive. The body concludes that the expulsion was "illegal" and orchestrated by State security departments. The NCHRF also made the observation that the local administrative and judicial authorities produced multiple trumped up charges against me. The report identifies malice aforethought in their actions and that the motive of the expulsion was "control over land". The reports are made public on OFFGO's site:

I now fight tirelessly for justice and redress and against impunity.

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