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Nationalism in the Cameroons: AGBOR BALLA, The Centre-Left and The Right Wing

4 Nov

Nwanatifu Nwaco

I am glad his media outings has put an end to all the speculation and soothsaying on his stance in the Southern Cameroons people struggle. Balla has been a rallying point in the escalation of this crisis, especially after his illegal arrest, detention and release in murky conditions. Ghost towns were intensive on days he was brought to the military court and the costs citizens have borne all these months are despicable. 

After the mass anti government demonstrations of September 22, Balla broke his silence in a homily delivered in church and since then he has steadily returned to mainstream activism with increasing media outings – to media houses and then abroad to Amnesty International, BBC and Chatham House. His last two outings have brought the man directly in the line of fire from the very Southern Cameroonians he spoke for. It is now clear that Balla is suffering from audience costs, given the arson attack on his father’s compound, the direct verbal abuses and trolling he has received on social media, spied on with recorders in private discussions and confronted with open protest and a near physical tussle he almost had with angry protesters after his lecture at Chatham house . Even his pleas for forgiveness and tolerance of divergent opinions has felt on deaf ears. 

If today he is calling for a return to normalcy or status quo ante, it means several things:
– Psychological trauma suffered during incarceration and recant of revolutionary views.
– Terms of undertaking signed before his release from detention may carry in them threats of the use of duress or some verbal uncertainty on his corporal and material securities.
– Pity and sympathy for the human, property and immeasurable loses incurred by the people on his behalf as too steep a price to continue paying to a senseless government.
– Lack of shared vision or proper debriefing on the destiny sought for the people by the “other anglophone leaders”. It should be recalled that Balla went to jail as an apologist for a return to federalism and while there, people got further alienated by government repression, failed civil-military relations, such that “separation aka secession” became the preference. 

Prison may be a school where the leadership skills of political activists are polished, I believe Balla has weighed the scales of the options on the forms of statehood in which the people of Southern Cameroons can have their best interests and identity prospered.  Balla since his release has not swayed to the pressure of the masses but has steadfastly remained true to his opinion that federalism is the best solution for  a continued union of the Cameroons. Hence he needs to mutate from a jurist and human rights activist into a  centre-left wing politician with these liberal values so he can better articulate and aggregate his new agenda which is for continued union with French Cameroun. 

However, given the current thaw in hostilities, Balla is the most likely middleman on a poster calling for frank but covert dialogue between government of Cameroun and moderates. It is only after this consultative phase that a conflict transformation process may begin with the right wing representatives. Call it a ” Foumban Conference II”, where Cameroun shall be bargaining on centralization or decentralization and the Southern Cameroons shall have only federalism or in case of compromise effective decentralization and a formal reunification treaty!

Regardless of the choices, any talks about independence and total sovereignty can only be paid for by blood and bullets; and a UN-AU brokered peace deal and subsequent referendum, in case one belligerent party restraints from or yields to the purge. The Ambazonia Governing Council which has now mutated into an interim government for Southern Cameroons and the entire right wing movement knows this, and will require of Balla in that moment.

This goes to say all those tagging Agbor Balla a traitor of the people should democratize themselves first and foremost. Balla is not the target in this struggle, the sundry and pseudo nationalists are advised to take out their anger on the complicity of your elected representatives, co-opted politicians and indifferent elites for failing to stand up for you in the cycle of state approved violence, marginalization, human rights abuses, deprivation and bad governance. It is weak to coerce public opinion holders. If right wingers don’t step up their political marketing, the centrists will sell-out their discourse to the weary masses.

Political ignorance is no bliss! People need to be able to filter politically uncongenial messages. If you stand for nothing , you will fall for anything. People trusted in the man without understanding his ideological leaning. That kind of myopic view of politics is dangerous and is what breeds apathy.  That is why I say one who is politically unaware of public opinion and other intricacies of interest formation and group dynamics, will not understand the need to let Balla be in his camp and they in theirs.  Awareness of how political systems operate in opinion formation and exercise will spare people the huge distraction and celebration of intolerance Balla’s media outing is causing.

So it is left now to nationalists to counter this with more tangible political goods to the citizens they are both seeking power of representation from.  Intolerance of pluralism frightens why we’re in this struggle cum revolution in the first place. Ignorance of the political culture  of a polity is what has led people to believing in people instead of ideologies. 

In politics, leaders suffer audience cost as a result of unpopular policies or actions and statements emanating from their private or public life. I want to ask you, what kind of statehood do we want? Do we really understand what political pluralism is? Can we accept to forge a society in which dissent is permitted from mainstream thinking? Isnt that why we’re struggling with La Republique! The right to be diverse. I love political debates because leaders mount the same rostrum and champion ideas and its up to the masses to decide whom to follow. When it came to reunification and integration questions in 1960-1 Southern Cameroonian leaders had hot campaigns and public lectures but no single mob lynching is recorded. Balla has a right to dissent just as we all have the right to cross the carpet.  Or is this not the anglosaxon civility and colonial inheritance people are in this revolution to uphold? Are we now a mob? Are we suffering from La Republique du Cameroun’s  oppression hangover?

Do not kill the messenger and forget or ignore the message or its sender. Politics is not for the sentimental. If you are not aware on how state power and institutions are structured and organised to project them self in the national and international political system, you are safe in the madding and cheering crowds. 



Southern Cameroons Refugees and the Urgency of Reforming the UN and AU

31 Oct

Nwanatifu Nwaco

Our people have been arrested, tortured, maimed and killed… I mean they’ve been robbed of all civil liberties and freedoms, even as we speak Cameroun government forces and state agents are having a human rights abuse buffet! We’ve led protest marches to every major diplomatic mission around, International governmental and nongovernmental organisations have not been left out. We’ve led a denunciation activism on social media, we’ve led civil disobedience campaigns in the Southern Cameroons BUT NO! The international community has stayed silent and indifferent issuing half baked statements that do nothing to deter or restraint the Cameroun government from its repression of our people and nation.

Today that same United Nations High Commission for Refugees which had been blind to call out the Cameroun regime has published a report which now tags our internally displaced and those fleeing government violence to neighbouring Nigeria as refugees. Before long parachuting journalism and dubious humanitarian actors will be making careers and fortunes in conflict aid relief schemes, experts will be paid millions to do “research” or lead UN approved missions to the Cameroons.

The hypocrisy, this wait and see attitude of self styled humanitarian and relief agencies is double standards. The international community help we so much hope for in this people led revolution shall only come when we hit breaking news levels: remember the images of misery and deprivation we see on mainstream media? starving kids, make shift camps, nursing mothers, blue helmets, queues to collect food handouts from aid workers and post conflict peace building conferences in western capitals.

Even more disheartening is the passiveness of the African Union. It is high time these institutions became proactive rather than reactive. They should be able and capable to call out and tackle abusers of human rights, merchants of death and oppression wherever and whenever the latter goes on a campaign against their own citizens or any human for that matter. The need for a UN and AU reform to grant them real policing and sanctioning competence is urgent.

My fellow people, we’re on our own now! The moment is pregnant with uncertainty yet labouring with destiny. Shall we embrace “real politik” and ‘dialogue’ with Cameroun or shall the walls of the parted Red Sea come crashing and crushing us along with pharaohs armada hotly pursuing us on the way out of “bondage” into the “promised land” ?

“All animals are born equal but some are more equal”
– Animal Farm


1 Mar

Apart from being reputable for its obnoxious taxation and faith in regime security at the cost of banning all forms of freedom of expression, assembly and association that enhance individual rights and liberties, Cameroun has officially set a new unofficial ”Guinness” record but for the most wrong reasons: Cameroun is now the new record holder for the longest internet blackout in Africa by a government.

It’s 42 days today that the government of Cameroon cut-off internet access to the two English speaking regions of the country. In a move to silent dissent and use the internet blackout as an excuse to arbitrarily arrest, detain and torture people. Security forces have exacted despicable human rights abuses on citizens of the affected region and spontaneous stop-check-confiscate smartphone operations are carried on individuals to conceal all evidence recorded. And areas with stray internet signals are being guarded and raided by government forces.

Mobile telephone internet service providers operating in the country have chosen the side of repression and human rights abuse in their accomplice with the government. Imagine how profit oriented firms can deprive over 3 million customers from a vital utility they have paid for without providing an excuse, compensation or an apology!

This is totally outrageous! I don’t know how they plan on regaining customer trust whenever they realise they are in violation of every international trade agreement,corporate social responsibility and customer protection treaty they are a party to. Someone please sue their corporate behinds in a massive class action law suit! They should not however be sued in the unjust, partial and dependent court system of Cameroun but should be sued in regional and international courts.

“Na only person wey he sabi true true color for Chameleon fit tok weda Chameleone be look left and right before it cross road.”


RESIGNATION NOT ACCEPTED! ‘Anglophone’ Movements Leadership

25 Feb

By Nwanatifu Nwaco

The day Mark Bareta and Tapang Ivo were called to the stewardship of being Consortium interim leaders by Dr. Balla Agbor when he anticipated his imminent arrest by Cameroun authorities was the day they not only accepted the call of a great man but was the day they most importantly accepted the “People’s Call” also. These duo have in their dynamism shown commitment to the values and goals of the Southern Cameroons people’s cause. We others must understand and accept that leadership be it militant or diplomatic is an on-the-job learning and skill acquisition process. These two have in two months succeeded to build communication channels and social dialogue bridges that were broken by decades of rancor between contesting leaders and organisations.

To the leadership of the Cameroon Anglophone Civil Society Consortium, many leaders forget the cost of leadership. Being a leader requires you to sacrifice time, money, efforts and endure struggles and pain. We always talk about the benefits of leadership, but we fail to count the cost of it. We all can learn to play different roles at different stages in our organisation. Great leaders take responsibility for their actions, especially the mistakes and failures.1  “People in power are faced with temptation every day. They often must make choices between doing what is right for the organization and what is in their own best interests.” (Glen Llopis, Forbes Magazine)

To the Honourable Tassang Wilfred, one needs not be a behaviouralist or an expert at psychoanalysis to suspect from the last video that he is under situational pressure and emotional anxiety from lack of access to family most importantly and open liberty from whoever has access to or is hosting him in hideout. Which is the more reason the interim leadership must stand and hold firm until it can be ascertained that he is enjoying all his rational capacities and is under no duress or influence. We must take care of our own, whether held in captivity or under undue influence from consular authorities and peers alike.

“McCain is a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” (Donald Trump, Race to the US White House) In all its arrogance, this statement above is however a double edged sword. Chose the kind of leader you want for your cause, the captured one personifies our sense of injustice, deprivation and moral conscience.A captured hero pinpoints the source from where our affliction is being projected, it gives us the physical address of whom the oppressor is. A captured hero darling to us invokes in us the spirit of a freedom fighter and liberator. The hero who returns from a battle with his physical freedom will definitely bask in the welcome and acclaim of the masses, they will go on to become living personification of victory and continuity whenever and wherever the call of duty comes up. The hero who fought and lived to tell the battle field story of his captured and fallen comrades on the fields of fire has a responsibility to lead the people in the liberation of the captured yet again but this time you definitely need your lieutenants to lead the charge with you. You need these lieutenants to carry on the struggle if you’re in turn preyed upon by the same oppressive cabal that abducted your peers previously.

On this note, we the People, in whose name the various Southern Cameroon liberation movements are acting demand to know what are their “real” plans to advance this cause further now that they think Tapang and Bareta must step aside and be forgiven for an undisclosed sin? It is not enough to take them out without offering us a broader road-map to the solution desired.

It is not because one was in the company of Dr. Balla Agbor that qualifies them to usurp his position, what qualifies someone is their shared vision, their leadership and coordination prowess. In my opinion therefore, Dr. Balla Agbor who had probably never met Tapang and Bareta in person felt he had met them in these qualities. Interim remains interim until it behaves contrary to or far beyond the struggle’s goals. Interim does not however mean one is less of an actual leader. It just happens that in organisations led by charismatic leaders as ours, when such a leader is abducted but still alive, their office most remain vacant in anticipation of their return to either assume it or give it up to the the progressive forces who brought about the change.

Let the photo below of Dr. Balla Agbor Nkongho with his fist raised defiantly on the day of his trial at the military tribunal in Yaounde-Cameroun on March 23 2017 serve as motivation why the struggle must continue and to why we the people are on this cause: To undo what 56 years of the Cameroons reunification which has been hijacked by misgivings, clientelism, patronage, linguistic prejudice, social, economic and political marginalisation of minorities, identity assimilation, ethnic hegemony, breakdown in constitutionalism and rule of law, loss of civil liberties, freedoms and human rights abuses. The remedy for which has been the call for a republican system and administrative setup in which people and individuals can live in social cohesion, multi-culturally coexist, aspire to and effectively become agents of nation building and development without being subjected to repression and mediocre means.

L’image contient peut-être : 1 personne

Govmen Dey Kill We!

17 Feb

By Nwanatifu Nwaco
It’s 30 days today since the repressive government of Cameroun arrested and jailed the cause leaders of the marginalized people of Southern Cameroons.
It’s 30 days today since the stone age mentality regime in Cameroun shut-off Internet access to the English speaking regions of the country.
If Cameroon was ever ”one and indivisible” as claimed by regime lackeys and majoritarian apologists, I hereby bring it to their attention that today we have a country which if united by anything else, is divided along internet lines! We have become “Internet refugees!”
Cameroun government and its majoritarian sympathizers think unity, social cohesion and harmonious coexistence is imposed by might and decrees, and not attained or achieved by dialogue and consensus. It’s now clear that they love the land and resources more than they love Southern Cameroonian people. It is this land and its riches beneath they love, not we the people! Else how can one explain the arrogant indifference and open hate speech spewed out by most “ordinary” francophones on social media and their physical efforts to break the will of the people through sabotage of the struggle in our own home towns??
If you think I am joking or lying, go then and read the hate filled comments they post below the publications of moderate and sympathetic francophones! And observe the vigor with which they are bent on ending our civil disobedience campaign, I repeat if the current deadlock isnt resolved, the alienated minority will go for desperate options to which the over confident majority is willing to pay the price in Rwanda 94 part 2!


22 Apr

By Nwanatifu Nwaco

“Kill them all, God will recognise his own.”
– Arnaud Amaury, Abbot of Citeaux

The question is how do the righteous get to rule even?prayer without human physical effort is often vain. From the book of Job, we see the devil and the lord locked in a game of chess in which the faith of man is pitted against crushing evil visitations just to prove who’s the boss over our feeble short earthly lives. Bible theology says God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Everyday I wake up or go to sleep continuously fed with graphic and horrifying news from around the world but more recently with the spate of confessional violence that is tearing through my country Cameroon and the neighbouring republics.
I’ve watched goring videos of purported jihadists slitting the throats of people they captured and branded as infidels and dumping them into mass graves, i’ve read how people have left hospitals and died in some distant churches seeking miraculous healing from prophets. The ritual killing of teenagers with certain body parts removed by occultists and many other jaw dropping tragedies.
Am not losing faith in God but I sure have a very massive problem with this mindset that people have nurtured well into maturity about this take everything to God and do nothing theory. People no longer think taking a militant or dynamic stand against a vice is the right thing to do! I understand very well that people are wary and desensitized by the constant exposure to suffering and gruesome images on death and misery but my single biggest distaste is with all those people who arrogantly declare politics as a dirty game and in all disillusionment celebrate political apathy.
Like the Roman emperor Nero who insanely danced and put the blame on Christians while Rome burnt to cinders, many of my people have become like that. In the face of existential threats that need political will, participation and action, they coward away and push forward this excuse of ‘God will help us, God will protect us, God’s time is the best…let us pray…’ I hate to rain on your paradise party, God is actually very annoyed with your inaction in the phase of evil. Rise up and take a stand against wrongdoing when and where you can and pray that whatever best effort it is you’re pushing and putting out there for the cause of positive change,hope, pray and let it deliver its intended goal.
So does God allow evil to happen? I think for now he doesn’t allow it since there’s a promise of judgment, it is we humans obsessed with ideology, fear and blind belief that cause and permit it. What other better way could I point out our own complicity and guilt as part of the problem to our predicament other than by quoting Dante Alighieri:
“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.”

The Endless Cycle of Defining Wrong and Right

3 Jan

“Of all things the measure is Man, of the things that are, that they are, and of the things that are not, that they are not” – Protagoras of Abdera
In other words you are who you say you as only you know whom you truly are. You can only define yourself objectively in a subjective way.So if you’re aspiring to become a proficient thief, a cheat or a pious saint, you’re right in your choice, though am not sure about the outcome or welcome you’ll get when you meet a determined and convinced law enforcer, a neutralist or a dedicated demon.
However since we are members of society and are condemned as such to communicate and interact there rises thus the need for ethics, conduct and decorum. It is these rules and regulations which make our monopoly of opinion to define right contradictory. Right is something relatively defined based on communal consensus about issues of morality. You are always right in the way you feel and express your feeling about an issue but your choice of vocabulary, action and vocal tone as comprehended by your audience could lead them in their own right to rightfully conclude you as wrong. The point is not to become a skeptic of what right or wrong is or relativise everything to something.
By their very nature words carry and convey in them conceptions of opposition, contradiction and change. Norm definition therefore means putting virtue and vice within universal independence as units of measurement to which perceptions of good and bad must subscribe to or derive from. Therein lies the foundations of being liberal and political correctness.

Obama to deploy 300 US troops to Cameroon to fight Boko Haram: Enter the Conspiracy Theorists.

15 Oct

By Nwana Tifu                                                                                                                        

When news broke-out yesterday that Obama was sending 300 troops to Cameroon to support the fight against Boko Haram, social media was set on fire by dependency theorists, patrimonials and conspiracy theorists speculating and suggesting all forms of hypotheses to decry this US move as paternalistic, as a cover being used to destabilise Cameroon where the Chinese and French were failing.It is for this reason that I did the following political analysis.

With anti-French sentiments currently running sky high in Cameroon and given that French forces in the Central African Republic have been caught on video at artisanal mines and in pedophile cases, Cameroon has showed disgust for its traditional military and economic ally by entering lucrative contracts with the Chinese and has been flirting gratuitously with the benevolence of German and Russian weapons supplies.
Located in one of the most geostrategic regions of the world, Cameroons international policy of non-confrontation has come under test from transnational criminal networks, rebel groups religious militants.These groups have imposed acts of violence on this politically docile country to an extent where it has now been roused from its long military slumber to prove itself a formidable fighting force in defense of its territorial integrity and national sovereignty.
The US has all through this time refrained from direct interference given that Cameroon is a French protege. America through its strategy of leading from behind through financing, intelligence sharing and periodic naval drills with its Africa Command to fine tune the assault and rescue capacities of the Cameroon navy to defend its geopolitical interests seriously threatened by oil bunkering and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea oil corridor.
America’s mixed failure and successes at combatting ISIL in Syria and Iraq, its drone operations against Al Shabab in Somalia, al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and Afghanistan or its now endless chase after the Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony in the tropical forests spanning Central Africa to the Sudans, has left it badly in need a victory in the style granted by Seal team six in taking out the much dreaded Osama Bin Laden.
Following a string of incursions on its territory by Boko Haram militants extending their false jihad from their Nigerian heartland into the Lake Chad basin area shared by Niger, Chad, Nigeria and Cameroon, trade routes have been cut off, a humanitarian and malnutrition crisis now threatens all the countries of the region all under existential nightmares from these armed groups.

With Boko Haram resorting to hit and run tactics, it has in these past months emboldened itself and for the first time has used suicide bombers and kamikazes to implant and spread its terror campaign in Cameroon following a streak of kidnappings of foreigners and nationals.
The absence of an effective French military presence in Cameroon has enticed the US still in the good diplomatic books of Cameroon to now step in and fill the vacuum. Cameroon is part of a multinational task force formed by the sanction of the international community under the auspices of the UN and AU to eradicate Boko Haram and has been assigned the task of hosting the logistics center for the forces operations. Hence in furtherance of US national security and foreign policy interests and at the express invitation of the Cameroon government, the deployment of 300 military personnel with the part of this broad regional effort to stop the spread of Boko Haram and other violent extremist organizations in the Sahel especially was authorized by Obama through Congress on 14 October 2016 until a time when it is determined that they are no longer needed. This comes months after Cameroon hosted regional conferences and meetings on combating the geometric growth of insecurity in the region.
Now that Russia is causing confusion in the middle East over its bombardment of western sponsored rebels and ISIL militants alike, the US must avoid direct confrontation with Russia and take the fight to a new theatre.
This is strategic because sometime ago, Boko Haram pledged and swore allegiance to ISIS. The lake Chad basin area is endowed with several natural resources from oil in southern Chad exported by pipeline over Cameroon to uranium deposits in Niger, It is therefore out of question to let all these fall under the control of jihadists.After months of courting the US for weapons to fight Boko Haram without success by the Nigerian government, American worries about governance accountability and other rights abuses in Nigeria prompted them to withhold this vital support from Nigeria. At this moment, this is the best thing to pursue especially, now that the new Nigerian president Buhari seems ready and willing to cooperate as well as Cameroon, Chad, Niger, a move that contrasts to the docileness of his predecessor Goodluck Jonathan versus the discreet yet poignant resoluteness and dynamism of the Cameroon government in its fight against the Boko Haram sect.


2 Jul

If there’s one thing I hate very much right now, it’s this chronic lack of value and consideration for time which people half legitimised and celebrate.
For someone like me who is rigid with time on appointments taken and made, it’s very irritating and annoying to say the least when I have to wait on for more than 2 hours at a rendez-vous point without my host or other guests showing up!
Africans got a very rogue appreciation of time No one wants to come first to an occasion. The few who do have to wait and get bored. If the invitation reads 8:00 pm, be certain that it will start only after 10 pm. When you get inpatient and call, you’ll get weird excused like am still doing my nails, still at the pressing to pick up my suit, just about to shower now, I’ll be there in 10 minutes…
While we’re gambling and peddling with time, opportunities got no brakes.
… tired of waiting, leaving now.

The Business of Being Humanitarian in this Age

1 Jun

By Nwanatifu Nwaco

Sometimes I don’t get it with humanitarian aid agencies!
Imagine your father beating the hell out of your neighbours dad. Your mom cooks food with some money your father gave her last evening, along with some contributions of your old used clothes and takes it to feed and cloth your embittered neighbours wife and kids. Afterwards she goes to your local radio and appeals to other neighbours to support her effort to relief the suffering of the family her husband has deprived, without criticising that same husband.
Are they really neutral? Does the business of throwing meal packages along with bombs make a hegemonic war a just war? This is a mixture of hypocrisy, guilt and shame. They are not neutral, they are numb and blindsided. As for me, situations like this will be more uncommon if we lived in a matriarchal society. One has to wonder what she gains from such ‘relief’ or ‘charitable help’ when she knows the cause of such situation.

Its a dog-eat-dog world out there my brother and as you analysed in the neighbour scenario its completely foolish with what is going on but the truth is interest. The aid agencies are out for a just course but then they have interest to protect which has to do again with donors. I always asked this question…what kind of corporate social responsibility are weapon manufacturing companies involved into?

These are just some of the pitfalls of neo-liberalism. It turns to make society hypocritical. In whose interests are wars of values being fought? Is it to make the world safe for democracy and the citizens who elect those who vote to wage war? Or is it the military industrial complex and their siamese twin the corporate oil cartels and multinational corporations? I am increasingly failing to appreciate the meaning and intention of humanitarian aid agencies. It seems like they are sentinels sent out by the god of war and his knights of death to give a human face to a bad campaign.

I really puzzled over the extent and loyalty of some humanitarian aid agencies or say social charitable enterprises. Take a look at MONSANTO, produces highly modified genetic ‘foods’ like rice, corn but if one looks closely they are amongst the highest charitable donors to most relief aid in the world….from Haiti to Sudan to Thailand. One has to wonder what is going on? Modifying basic foods that cause diseases then turn around and support areas which they donate to that suffer from these same diseases their foods cause. Just a plethora of unnecessary ‘good’.

Monsanto has been the subject of wide criticism. Their products have been banned in several countries yet USAID never stops receiving and donating rations from them.  It brings us to the topical issue on what Sustainable development is really about? A friend once dissed that while others are using cutting edge technology to extract and transform third world resources for their own advancement, development agencies are telling us that we need to live sustainably by not doing what they do and did with earth resources. Everything these time needs to be Eco-friendly. He argued that sustainable development is going to keep Africa away from pursuing intensive industrialisation which is what it needs to break the consumer yoke.
I am yet to read a country report written by an Africans with parochial condescension about vertical policy effectiveness of donors and development agencies. Imagine a Yaoundé based organisation publishing a country report about the state of immigrants in the UK in the same vigor as Amnesty International does.