Close to 100 Cameroonians will be repatriated from the United States of America today by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE.
The Trump administration is said to be using the COVID-19 pandemic as an reason to send the 80 immigrants back home.
Rights groups and lawyers have however objected to the move, stating that the US is denying the asylum seekers access to their attorneys.
Amnesty International reacts
Among the first to object to the planned move by ICE is rights group, Amnesty International.
In a statement on the deportations, Amnesty says deporting the immigrants is not only an aggressive move, but it puts their lives in danger too.
Citing a series of crises faced by Cameroon including the war in the Anglophone regions, and “a culture of impunity to human rights violations that has been created by the 37-year administration of President Paul Biya”, it explains that the context is not suitable.
“Given the current conditions in the country, it is extremely likely that anyone who is returned to Cameroon will face a high risk of being detained, beaten, disappeared, tortured, or possibly even killed,” says Amnesty international USA’s Deputy Director of Advocacy and Government Relations, Adotei Akwei.
He adds that “… The United States has both a legal and a moral imperative to welcome those fleeing conflict and persecution to the country: Cameroonians have established vibrant and thriving communities in the United States and people in this country are eager to welcome their new neighbors to safety.”
What awaits the immigrants back home?
Ruth Hardgrove, lawyer to one of the immigrants set to be deported believes they ought to receive better treatment from the US government.
“… We treat them like criminals but they have committed no crime… They have committed no crime in their country and they have committed no crime in our country” she explained.
Like her client, many of the immigrants risking deportation she adds have a warrant for their arrest.
Ruth adds that “… That’s what the military does. They have already arrested and tortured his little brother believing it was him. I have no doubt that if he goes back on Tuesday he will be met by the military. I will actually wish for death over what they will do for him…”
Cameroon’s Anglophone regions have for the past four years today been the center of despicable violence.
With Anglophones as the primary target, no where in the country is safe for activists clamouring for independence or even basic human rights.
Innocent civilians a majority of whom are Anglophones have often been the casualties of violence by the belligerents.
With the US considered as a safe haven, many braved the odds, sacrificing all they had to get away from the Cameroon regime’s brutal oppression.
Sending them back home would be nothing short of a death sentence for many.
Mimi Mefo Info reached out to the US state department for comment but is yet to get a response.
Mimi Mefo Info