September 08, 2020

Risch, Cardin Lead Colleagues in Condemning Violence in Anglophone Cameroon

WASHINGTON  U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women's Issues, along with Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Tim Kaine (D-Va.), today introduced a resolution calling on the Government of Cameroon and armed separatist groups from the English-speaking Northwest and Southwest regions to end all violence, respect the human rights of all Cameroonians, and pursue a genuinely inclusive dialogue toward resolving the ongoing civil conflict in Anglophone Cameroon.

“The deadly violence and human rights abuses against the Cameroonian people as a result of the Anglophone conflict has crippled the country’s political and economic development. The international community must do more to speak out against the atrocities of this conflict, and engage all sides to pursue an inclusive and constructive path toward peace and stability,” said Risch. “Resolving this conflict will allow Cameroonians to fully realize their own constitutional and democratic ideals, pursue justice for those whose lives have been lost or destroyed, and restore Cameroon’s robust security and economic partnership with the United States.”

“America’s foreign policy should be rooted in our values, including our obligation to support human rights all around the globe. The situation in Cameroon has continued to devolve, and the United States’ Senate cannot be silent in the face of grave human rights abuses,” Cardin said. “This bipartisan resolution marks Congress’ commitment to working with the Cameroonian people to put an end to violence and human rights violations, pursue justice for victims, and support Cameroon in reconciliation, development, and humanitarian efforts.”

Key provisions of the resolution include encouraging all parties of the Anglophone conflict in Cameroon to:

  • Conclude and uphold an immediate ceasefire.
  • Guarantee unfettered humanitarian access and assistance to the Northwest and Southwest regions.
  • Exercise restraint and ensure that political protests are peaceful.
  • Establish a credible process for an inclusive dialogue that includes all relevant stakeholders to achieve a sustainable political solution that respects the rights and freedoms of all of the people of Cameroon.

Full text of the resolution can be found here.

Background: Since 2016, Cameroon’s security forces have been credibly accused of grave human rights abuses, including suppressing the basic freedoms of expression and assembly, arbitrarily detaining those who challenge the president’s authority, torture, and extrajudicial killings. Human Rights Watch has documented extensive burning of villages by members of the security forces in the last two years in both the Northwest and Southwest regions, as well as rampant killings of civilians and sexual violence.

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