Blaise Kengjise, Founder of Global Action for Minority Rights, was born in Bamenda, North West Region of Cameroon. He studied in the University of Yaounde 1 between the years 2000 to 2005 and graduated with a BA and MA in Anthropology, specializing in Anthropology of Development, Masters of Arts in International Politics from Centre European de Recherches Internationales et Strategiques (CERIS) Brussels in 2008, before relocating to the U.S to continue studies which led him to earned further MA Degrees in conflicts Management and Public Administration. At the moment, he is studying for a PHD Degree in Public Policy specializing in Homeland Security. He is a Human Rights Activist focusing on Women’s and Minority Rights, and also Anti-War Activist. I believe in dialogue more than the use of guns in solving national or international Issues.
During his second year in the University, he got a job as a social researcher with a Non- Profit Organization known as International Relation Consultancy and was given an assignment to research on Female Genital Mutilation and Breast Ironing, a practice that seriously dehumanized women. In the course of this research, I realized that despite all the measures put in place by the international community to elevate the position of women in world, especially the Beijing Conference which took place in 1995, Cameroonian Women were still on the same spot they were that is, they were still going through the unwarranted and unacceptable marginalization which deprives them of their human rights. Widows, married and single women all had the same story to tell. In Cameroon, women cannot legally own land. Their economic problems are worsened by cultural systems which deny women land ownership, yet women are the majority in farm labor. Even though Cameroon’s Constitution upholds the principle of gender equality, the country has a complex legal system made of a mix of Napoleonic Code and common law, as well as customary and written law. This structure is often an obstacle to gender equality. Actually, the country has no legal definition of discrimination and some points of the civil law remain prejudicial against women. For example, the 1981 civil code allows a husband to oppose his wifeâ€™s right to work (Regulation 81-02). While the law gives a woman the freedom to organize her own business, the commercial code allows a husband to end his wife’s commercial activity by notifying the clerk of the commerce tribunal of his opposition based upon the family’s interest.
Most African courts, including Cameroon despite being based on national and international laws often rule in favor of customary laws, which discriminate against women. Working with IRC for 3 years and touring almost all the ten regions ( known then as provinces) of Cameroon, he realized that Laws and policies prohibit women from equal access to land, property, and housing, Economic and social discrimination results in fewer and poorer life choices for women, rendering them vulnerable to trafficking. Women are denied their sexual and reproductive health rights, Women human rights defenders are ostracized by their communities and seen as a threat to religion, honor or culture, Women’s crucial role in peace and security is often overlooked, as are the particular risks they face in conflict situations. With all these heart breaking changes which women faced in the society. Looking into the possibilities of bringing a solution to this crisis, he decided to resigned from his job and study Political Sciences because he wanted to get a comprehensive understanding of the social structures and power relations that frame not only laws and politics but also the economy, social dynamics and family and community life which I can use in changing the lives of women in the society since they were treated as minority.
While studying for his second and third degrees, he came to understand that not only women are being treated as minorities in the society but many other class of people faced the same problems in one way or another. Your race, language and religion can also bring you discrimination in one way or another and this issue have led to the rise of many insurgent groups in Africa today and other 3rd world countries today as a result of negligence of some group of people in the society by the ruling class. This group of people are seen by the ruling class as the minorities. They don’t have a say in their own society and this negligence have pushed them to pick up guns and start terrorizing the people through kidnapping, killings and other human trafficking like what we have in Cameroon, Nigeria East Africa and the Arab world. It is for this reason that I created Global Action for Minority Right, a Non Profit which trying to use education and other form of sensitization to educate my fellow brothers and sisters in Africa on endurance and perseverance and also help others who have been traumatized start a new life.