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Chaos in Cameroon: US House of Representatives Calls for Humanitarian Parole Program for Cameroonian Immigrants

By March 10, 2024No Comments
Military burning villages communities at random (c) ArcGis StoryMaps

Some members of the US House of Representatives have filed a resolution calling for the establishment of a humanitarian parole for Cameroonian citizens fleeing conflict and violence from their native country.

Humanitarian Parole is a discretionary grant of temporary permission to enter the United States for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. It allows individuals who are otherwise inadmissible to the U.S. to enter the country for a limited period of time due to urgent humanitarian reasons.

The members of the House of Representatives, namely Mr. Espaillat (for himself, Mr. Ivey, Mr. Trone, Mr. Bowman, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Mr. Ruppersberger, Mr. Cleaver, And Mr. Mcgov- Ern) noted that Cameroon faces a multitude of crises, and its citizens fleeing such crises should be allowed to enter the country, even temporarily.

Southern Cameroonians continue to fight relentlessly for self-determination despite the brutality from the army of La Republique du Cameroun (c) Pan African Visions

Cameroon faces a Boko Haram insurgency to the north, an influx of Central African Refugees to the east and a separatist crisis to the West.

Designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States Government since 2013, Boko Haram continues to wreak havoc in Cameroon’s northern region. Deadly attacks on villages and civilians persist, leaving communities devastated.

In the east, political violence in the Central African Republic has had a spillover, exacerbating tensions in the area.

And separatists in Cameroon’s English-speaking region are fighting to create a new nation they call Ambazonia. The US members of Congress state in their resolution that “over 6,000 people were killed as a direct result of violence in northwest and southwest Cameroon, and according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 1,700,000 people in Cameroon are in need of humanitarian assistance, 638,421 people have been internally displaced, and more than 87,402 have fled to neighboring Nigeria.”

Soldiers from the Rapid Intervention Battalion (BIR) secure a ceremony honouring four soldiers killed in the violence that erupted in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon, where most of the country’s English-speaking minority live, on November 17, 2017 in Bamenda. Four soldiers were killed this month in less than a week, in attacks attributed to secessionist “terrorists”. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER

The members of Congress take issue with the military response to the crises, accusing the Cameroon military of carrying out arbitrary arrests, burning civilian homes, extra-judiciary killings, all of which further deepen the humanitarian emergency.

Recognizing the dire situation, the Department of Home Security took action in April 2022 by designating Cameroon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). This designation aimed to provide short-term relief to Cameroonian immigrants residing continuously in the United States since October 5, 2023. However, the TPS did not cover those who arrived after that date.

The determination and resilience of the people has remained unparalleled as they mirror freedom (c)

“…multiple nations other than Cameroon have received concurrent TPS designations and humanitarian parole designations from the Department of Homeland Security as a means of providing comprehensive protection in the United States for deserving and embattled immigrant populations,” the resolution states.

Yet, America seems to be the only country with the heart to welcome desperate people, given that Southern Cameroonians seeking asylum in Nigeria had been illegally extradited to Cameroon, according to the Resolution.

Munyenge-in-Southern-Cameroons burnt to ashes by the Cameroon military

It goes further to argue that threatened Cameroonians undertake perilous journeys in search of safety in America, even as Europe closes its doors. And even on the US borders, they are subjected to some of the worst forms of human treatment.

The liberation movement started as a peaceful protest for better conditions, but the level of military brutality escalated things to a full-blown armed conflict that it is now (c) IntechOpen

For all these reasons, the US Members of Congress urged Congress to “recognize the dire and ongoing humanitarian crisis for Cameroonian migrants that are fleeing violence and widespread human rights violations in their home nation, in addition to the discriminatory treatment often faced by Black and African immigrants; calls on the Secretary of Homeland Security to establish a special humanitarian parole program for Cameroonian nationals who are seeking refuge in the United States to grant these immigrants much-deserved humanitarian relief; and urges the United States Government to allocate appropriate resources to assist in the successful resettlement of Cameroonian immigrants, including comprehensive support for Cameroonians benefitting from Special Humanitarian Parole status.”

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