• Press Release

United States Must Center Human Rights and Suspend Security Assistance to Cameroon

February 6, 2019

A woman walks into Nigeria from Cameroon at a checkpoint border between Cameroon and Nigeria, in Mfum, in Cross Rivers State, southeast Nigeria, on February 1, 2018. The UN refugee agency on February 1, 2018 criticised Nigeria for breaching international agreements after the leader of a Cameroonian anglophone separatist movement and his supporters were extradited at Yaounde's request. Cameroon's government is fighting an insurgency by a group demanding a separate state for two regions that are home to most of the country's anglophones, who account for about a fifth of the population. Thousands of Cameroonians fled to the remote border region with Nigeria to escape from the violences in English-speaking southwest Cameroon. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)
In response to reports that the US government has decided to cut security and military aid to Cameroon amid concerns over its human rights record, Adotei Akwei, deputy director for advocacy and government relations for Amnesty International USA issued the following:

“Cameroonian security forces have indiscriminately killed, arrested, and tortured people, firing on crowds, displacing thousands of civilians, and destroying entire villages with impunity. These abuses continue, following the presidential elections that took place in October that returned 36-year-incumbent Paul Biya to power.

“The United States must continue to show that it takes human rights violations committed with its aid seriously, through the suspension of all security assistance until the Cameroonian government can show it has not been utilized to commit serious violations of international law and persons responsible have been held accountable. The Trump administration should press other donors of security assistance to review their programs and insist on accountability and reform within the Cameroonian security forces”.


In June 2017, Amnesty International issued a report on the incident of torture in Cameron entitled  Cameroon’s Secret Torture Chambers: Human Rights Violations and War Crimes in the Fight Against Boko Haram. In June 2018, the organization released a report detailing abuses in Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis, ‘A turn for the worse: Violence and human rights violations in Anglophone Cameroon’. The report was based on in-depth interviews with over 150 victims and eye-witnesses, and material evidence including satellite images.