PoliticsInstitutional, Politics

Anglophone protest: US Congressman wants Cameroon military investigated for abuses

Donald M Payne Jr, Member of the Congress of the United States has written a request to Rex W Tillerson,…

Donald M Payne Jr, Member of the Congress of the United States has written a request to Rex W Tillerson, the country’s Secretary of State, requesting for an investigation into allegations of human rights abuses by Cameroonian security forces.

The member of the US House of Representatives points out that the US government currently has 300 of its troops on the ground in Cameroon and has as of December 2016 allocated at least 130US dollars to support the country in the fight against Boko Haram. He quotes the US Leahy Law which prohibits the country from providing assistance to foreign forces which have been proven to have committed Gross Violation of Human Rights (GVHR).

Congressman Payne Jr says in the letter that he is “concerned by reports of violence in West Cameroon where the government has violently cracked down on Anglophone protesters and targeted this community in various ways. Cameroonian community-advocacy groups and my constituents have contacted my office earnestly requesting assistance.”

He also points out some of the reports he found disturbing- “the disproportionate use of force to disperse demonstrators in Bamenda, the banning of Anglophone activist groups, the arrests and criminal prosecution of advocates charged under a broad definition of terrorism, threats of imprisonment of journalists… the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has implicated the BIR in these activities.”

Hon. Donald M Payne Jr also cites several reported cases of rights abuse Cameroonian security forces are said to have carried out within the framework of the fight against Boko Haram.

If the State Department concludes that allegations of Gross Violation of Human Rights Violations by the BIR and other state security services are factual- and the department of human rights suggests that it is done so in at least several occasions; it must suspend US assistance to the implicated units, the letter reads in part.