Decolonization and repression in Cameroon: France releases its classified archives

Paris is handing over its classified archives to the commission of historians from both countries tasked with “shedding light” on France’s role in the violent repression of independence fighters and then the opposition in Cameroon before and after independence, historian Karine Ramondy assures.
On July 26, 2022, in Yaoundé, Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Paul Biya expressed the wish that historians should examine this bloody chapter in the history of France and Cameroon, from 1945 to 1971, which has been virtually ignored by school textbooks and the general public.
In March 2023, the Heads of State pledged to declassify archives that had remained secret, and launched the Franco-Cameroonian commission “Histoire et mémoires sur le rôle et l’engagement de la France au Cameroun dans la répression contre les mouvements indépendantistes et d’opposition entre 1945 et 1971”.
Its research section, made up of 15 historians, is chaired by Frenchwoman Karine Ramondy. Visiting Yaoundé this week, she talked to the media about the progress of their work. Cameroonian singer and musician Blick Bassy chairs the artistic and heritage section.
“As far as declassified archives are concerned, we have begun a certain number of shares of archives under waiver in France”, Karine Ramondy assures, adding: “As President (Macron) promised, Cameroonian researchers benefit from conditions of access to classified archives”.
The research report is due in December 2024. It is on the basis of this work that Paris and Yaoundé will be able, in the words of Mr. Macron in July 2022, to “factually establish” “responsibilities” for a “subject that has been repressed” in both France and Cameroon. The French president had promised that the result would be “recognition” of what happened, not “repentance”.

About Geraldine Boechat 2540 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia