Bamenda March 06, 2019: The situation in the Republic of Cameroon is grave, deteriorating, and thus require immediate action by the United States Government. There is enough evidence that warrants you to request that the President of the United States issue sanctions against Cameroon officials including the 87-year-old President Paul Biya ( 50 years in power).

The people of former British Southern Cameroons, French Cameroon, and quite frankly global citizens of goodwill will welcome the invocation of S. 284 (114th), the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act sponsored by Senator Benjamin Cardin.

President Paul Biya and his ministers are responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals seeking to expose illegal activity carried out by government officials, or to obtain, exercise, or promote human rights and freedoms. The main opposition leader, leaders of the former British Cameroons, former ministers including a Prime Minister, former top aides, journalists, civil rights activists, former supreme court justice, students, clergy, photographers and people in all works of life, are currently in the top security prison in Kondengui, Yaounde. The President clearly cracks down on dissent and expression of dissatisfaction of government policies or lack of policies.

‘In the South West and North West regions of the Republic of Cameroon (or former British Cameroons), government security forces have committed extrajudicial executions, burned property, carried out arbitrary arrests, and tortured detainees’. This is according to the Human Rights Watch 2019 report on Cameroon. Multiple reports have been issued by Amnesty Internal, Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA) and much more. International community, western states and the media remains norm. In 2018, the U.S. ambassador, Peter Henry Barlerin said

the month of April has proven the bloodiest, so things are not getting better. Cameroon authorities had authorized targeted killings, detentions without access to legal support and burning and looting of villages. 

The Army spokesman, Colonel Didier Badjeck in a Washington Post interview agreed to burning houses under the pretext of safe havens for terrorist. That is contrary to local reports, and that of the US ambassador to Cameroon. These houses are civilian houses. It must be noted that some elderly women have been burnt alive.

President Paul Biya is responsible for, or complicit in, ordering or otherwise directing acts of significant corruption, including the expropriation of private or public assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, bribery, or the facilitation or transfer of the proceeds of corruption to foreign jurisdictions. It is well reported that President Paul Biya has spent most of his time on vacation in Switzerland in luxurious hotels even when the country was spiraling into armed conflict. He could care less.

In February of 2019, just last month, the head of the U.S. Africa Command, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he had met with Cameroon’s President Paul Biya alongside the U.S. ambassador before elections in October to discuss issues of rights violation in the country. The US General said he was ‘very emphatic with president Biya that the behavior of his troops portraying a lack of transparency could have a significant impact on our ability to work with him’.

The population of Cameroon welcomes the cutting of some security assistance to Cameroon following allegations of human rights violations committed by the Cameroonian military. This is not enough. US in its commitment to democracy and the rule of law must no longer wait, issue statements of ‘we call on…’. The time to act is now. Cameroon may easily become the next Rwanda (of the 90s).

People are dying. People are living in the bushes and forests in today’s day and age. The government of Cameroon has done NOTHING to save lives or end the crisis. Instead, they continue to burn villages and cause all kinds of human rights violations. A forceful intervention is needed, and it is needed NOW.

The United States must sanction the Republic of Cameroon to end the crisis.

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