US Congress Blazes the Trail in Mobilizing International Coalition for Internationally Mediated Settlement to Ongoing Genocide in Southern Cameroons

The dust is yet to settle on a New Year-Day Resolution passed by the US Senate with far-reaching directives on measures that need to be taken to force the parties to the ongoing Southern Cameroons genocidal war onto the negotiation table. The passage of that resolution has continued to reverberate around the world with discussions held in the UK and Canadian Parliaments for follow-up.

Southern Cameroonians in good numbers now want nothing short of independence (C) DW

Earlier this week, separate conferences were held with experts in various disciplines related to international conflict resolution drawn from around the world to discuss the implications and impact of the US Senate Resolution 684 on the global search for a solution.  Participants at one of the conferences organized by Oxford University in the United Kingdom examined various ways by which other international actors can take the cue from the US Senate to push for greater action to end what is now referred to as one of the most neglected armed conflicts and humanitarian disasters in the world. At all these discussions, it was established that France bears a huge responsibility in the current escalation of hostilities on the ground, on account of the country’s ambiguous role and eagerness to block multilateral efforts to bring the ongoing genocide to the table for an internationally mediated settlement.

On Wednesday, February 17, a group of 25 US House Representatives and Senators addressed a correspondence to President Joe Biden, urging his administration to issue “…an immediate 18-month designation of either Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Cameroon, considering the worsening conditions in the country”.

Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat Representing the State of Maryland (C) vanhollen.org

The Legislators, led by Senator Chris Van Hollen and House Representative Anthony G. Brown note that the escalation of the ongoing conflict in the country and worsening humanitarian conditions, marked by increased military and police brutality make it hazardous to deport anyone back to Cameroon at this time because they could be killed or detained under horrible conditions.

“A humanitarian crisis and civil war characterized by massive internal displacement, war crimes, and shortages of essentials like water, food, healthcare, and housing make safe return impossible, and your administration must act quickly to extend protection from deportation to Cameroonian nationals in the United States,” they write, regretting that “The Trump Administration has shamefully mistreated and deported Cameroonian asylum seekers back to danger just this year. We urge you to do better”.

Rep Anthony G Brown, Democrat from the State of Maryland (C) WTOP

The Legislators tap from statistics published by both local and international rights organizations to paint a sombre picture of conflict-ridden Cameroon at the moment to stress the need for urgent action to protect Cameroonians already in the United States seeking asylum.

“Country conditions in Cameroon are both extraordinary and temporary, making return untenable and warranting immediate protection for Cameroonians living in the United States. Human Rights Watch estimates that 3.9 million in Cameroon are in need of humanitarian assistance, with over 720,000 people displaced. Eighty-nine percent of the half a million internally displaced civilians were displaced due to armed conflict, and a staggering 64 percent of those internally displaced are children under eighteen. Thousands of people are fleeing to areas wracked with drought, floods, and epidemics of cholera and Covid-19. Violence and heavy rains have catastrophically degraded infrastructure essential to deliver humanitarian aid and pandemic relief,” the Lawmakers lament.

In conclusion, the Legislators note that “Conditions in Cameroon continue to worsen as violence continues and the pandemic continues to take its public health and economic toll. We call upon the administration to do its part to protect Cameroonians in the United States from deportation back to unsafe conditions by designating Cameroon for TPS or DED”.

Some Cameroon regime apologists have been quick to cry foul, claiming that previous groups of asylum seekers deported from the United States were treated humanely and reunited with their families, a claim several local and international rights organizations have refuted. No official release has been issued by the government of Cameroon on the matter, though officials at the Ministry of Communication in Yaounde who spoke to Timescape Magazine on condition of anonymity, say there are increasing fears that the United States was no longer considering the government’s side of the story on the situation in Southern Cameroons.