US President, Donald J. Trump, today, Thursday October 31, 2019, informed the American Congress that he will suspend US economic assistance to Cameroon due to systematic violations of human rights by Cameroon’s armed and security forces.
This comes as deadlocked separatist conflict in Cameroon’s English speaking regions of the North West and South West rages on. Human Rights Watch reported that “in the South West and North West, government security forces have committed extrajudicial executions, burned property, carried out arbitrary arrests, and tortured detainees.”
Cameroon’s authoritarian government, known to have maintained itself in power using military force, has ignored these accusations, instead claiming, repeatedly, that its military and security forces have always acted “professionally”.
Three years on, the Government of Cameroon has fielded cosmetic measures to address the deadly separatist conflict. It refused to organise an all-inclusive dialogue and its place a “Major National Dialogue” that experts argued was to accomplish nothing.
Suspension of economic assistance to Cameroon comes after the US Government significantly reduced its military aid to Cameroon in February 2019 over the same gross human rights violations by the armed and security forces of Cameroon.
The US has shown a lot of concern about the conflict and has encouraged the government of Cameroon to field a more peaceful strategy to resolving it. This latest measure by Donald Trump demonstrates that the US government is unsatisfied with the Cameroon government’s tough military approach to the conflict.
Various opinion leaders have advocated for more tough sanctions in order to constrain the government of Cameroon to take more measures towards all-inclusive dialogue necessary to end the conflict. Elsewhere, such sanctions have included stifling economies and fielding a military option in the face of persistent human rights violations.