Join us in welcoming Nchunu Justice Sama, Cameroonian Environmental Lawyer and Executive Director of the Foundation for Environment and Development (FEDEV). Justice arrived in Eugene last week to collaborate on his work to protect communities and the environment across Cameroon. He joins two ELAW Fellows who arrived last month from Ukraine and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
FEDEV has recently trained more than 100 judges, 30 journalists, and 120 lawyers to better understand and advance environmental justice. “Environmental law is a new field in Cameroon, and we are pleased to share our expertise,” says Justice, who has served as Executive Director at FEDEV since 2003.
Now, FEDEV is working with communities in Figuil, Bidzar, and Biou, in northern Cameroon near the border with Chad, who suffer the impacts of a polluting cement plant, nearby limestone quarries, and related mining activities.
“Farmers and herders in this area are suffering,” says Justice. “The air, water, and land are polluted with cement dust and liquid waste. Arable land, trees, and water sources have been destroyed and there is the persistent nuisance of rock blasting and other quarrying activities. Water is scarce, there is food insecurity, and no compensation for the activities harming the communities. The problem is compounded by the fact that the factory and quarry locations are near settlements.”
FEDEV is working with ELAW to ensure that extractive industries in Cameroon are not violating local laws. “We are establishing and supporting community networks to protect community interests. Together, we empower communities to protect water sources and promote respect for human rights and sustainable development,” says Justice.
Justice has spent many hours collaborating with ELAW’s Law and Science Teams during his Fellowship, and also learned about ELAW’s Defending Defenders Program.
“Justice has worked for decades, under challenging conditions, to protect communities and the environment in Cameroon,” says ELAW Law Associate Bernard Ngalim. “His inspiring work is being shared with ELAW partners around the world.”