U.S. tells Nigeria, Cameroon to obey international law

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The United States (U.S.) has condemned the attitude of Nigerian and Cameroonian authorities towards the 47 Anglophone detainees who were repatriated to Cameroon from Nigeria.

Seventy five-year-old blind Cameroonian refugee Mbia Ndem (L) sit beside friend at home, where hundreds are being sheltered at Bashu-Okpambe village in Boki district of Cross Rivers State in southeast Nigeria, on January 31, 2018.
Cameroonian forces have crossed into neighbouring Nigeria to conduct operations among citizens, where thousands of people have fled from Cameroon’s restive anglophone regions, local sources and state officials said January 31, 2018. / AFP PHOTO

A statement by the U.S. Department of State, signed by Ms Heather Nauert, the Department Spokesperson noted that Nigeria and Cameroon have violated the rights of the detainees by forcibly repatriating them back to their countries of origin.

It however, urged both countries to respect the human rights of the detainees and follow due process in handling their matter, while urging them to refrain from embarking on forceful repatriation of asylum-seekers.

“We also call on the Government of Cameroon to respect the human rights, including due process, of the 47 Cameroonians forcibly returned from Nigerian custody to the Cameroonian authorities on Jan. 26.

“This is in addition to many of whom had reportedly submitted asylum claims in Nigeria.

“We urge the Governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to adhere to their obligations under international law to refrain from forcible returns to asylum-seekers back to their countries of origin.

“The 47 Cameroonians are now held in detention in Cameroon allegedly in connection with tension and violence in North West and South West Regions.

“We expect the government of Cameroon to afford these and other individuals previously detained all the rights and protections enshrined in Cameroon’s constitution, consistent with the nation’s international obligations and commitments.”

The U.S. condemned the ongoing violence in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions, including the murder of two Cameroonian gendarmes in the North West Region village of Mbingo.

It also condemned the murder of a Cameroonian soldier outside of Bamenda on Feb. 1, and an electoral official of Elections Cameroon (ELECAM) in Bangem.

The U.S. further condemned the reported deaths of four civilians in Bemenda and Belo on Feb. 2 and 3.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, and to the people of Cameroon,” it said.

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