US Senate urges France, Cameroon authorities to foster solution to Anglophone crisis, release all political prisoners
The United States of America has weighed in once more on the ongoing armed conflict in Cameroon’s English-speaking regions.
In a recent resolution taken by the US Senate, it has urged the government and separatist armed groups to come to a consensus to avert more loss of life and property.
Among others, the US Senate’s First resolution on Cameroon taken on January 2nd, 2021 noted that it is necessary to “… mobilise and coordinate funding for local and international organisations to provide humanitarian and development assistance…”
The resolution notes that President Paul Biya, “the oldest head of state in Africa, has been the President of Cameroon since 1982, maintaining his grip on power by centralizing authority in the executive…”
It adds that he has been able to do this by “…undermining the Constitution of Cameroon, impeding democratic governance through corrupt practices, using security services to repress the opposition and con-ducting elections marred by widespread irregularities and allegations of fraud”.
It also faulted the US for providing training to the dreaded Rapid Battalion, BIR unit despite being known for rights abuses.
This move, it explains, is “… potentially in contravention of legal requirements that ‘‘no assistance shall be furnished . . . to any unit of the security forces of a foreign country if the Secretary of State has credible information that such unit has committed a gross violation of human rights’’.
“… France maintains considerable interests in Cameroon, including significant economic and security co-operation, but has not adequately used its influence to stem atrocities committed in the Anglophone regions or support stronger international action to seek resolution to the conflict,” it added.
Calling for all parties involved to seek a longlasting solution, the resolution expressed the need to “leverage bilateral relationships to encourage key partners of Cameroon, particularly France to help foster a peaceful resolution to the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameron and implement a mutually agreed-upon program to address longstanding grievances and marginalization…”
The US Senate in the resolution “affirms that the United States Government continues to hold the Government of Cameroon responsible for safeguarding the safety, security, and constitutional rights of all citizens, regardless of their region of origin or the regions in which they reside, or their religious beliefs or political views.”
Among other demands, it also called on the government to “release all political prisoners and journalists currently detained and immediately stop all arbitrary detention, torture, forced disappearances, deaths in custody, and inhumane prison conditions; and work with United States law enforcement to thoroughly investigate and prosecute those responsible for the murder of Charles Wesco.”
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