Over the past year, the Anglophone Crisis in Cameroon has escalated to new heights of violence, with human rights abuses committed by the Cameroonian military and separatist groups. Since the crisis began, over 3,000 people have been killed, and hundreds of villages have been destroyed. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 670,000 people have been internally displaced, and tens of thousands are now refugees.
Many Cameroonian citizens facing violence from the government seek asylum in the United States, traveling first to South America and entering through the Mexico border. According to the L.A. Times, Cameroonians are becoming one of the largest groups of “extracontinental” migrants to the U.S. Because the Trump administration is denying most asylum requests, the U.S. government is placing Cameroonians in detention centers across the country, some remaining in detention for years. There have been reports of torture used in ICE facilities to force Cameroonians to sign their deportation papers, along with allegations of systematic abuse from ICE agents. Refugees have reported being physically forced to place a fingerprint on deportation documents, being beaten, tased after being forced into a shower, pepper-sprayed in the face, and subjected to solitary confinement.
Despite the U.S. government’s recognition of the widespread human rights abuses committed by the Cameroonian government, the Trump administration is deporting many African asylum seekers, sending “death planes” full of asylum seekers back to Cameroon. Many of the refugees seeking asylum in the United States are activists with Anglophone opposition groups in Cameroon or civilians from Anglophone regions targeted by opposition groups and fled in fear for their lives. When refugees arrive in Cameroon, security forces often arrest them as soon as they land, taking them to high-security prisons where they are not heard from again. In the past month and a half, 93 Cameroonians have been deported, some with appeals on asylum still pending.
Matthew 25 calls Christians to welcome the stranger, saying, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” Please call on your Representatives to cosponsor and pass H.Res 1221 to urge the United States to uphold its international commitments regarding refugees and asylum seekers and halt deportations of Cameroonian citizens. Ask Congress to continue to monitor the situation and support a rapid resolution of the conflict in Cameroon.