Cameroon Report – YAOUNDE
The Cameroonian diaspora in the United States can and must play a critical key role to end the violence in Cameroon, Tibor Nagy, Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of African Affairs said in a statement late Friday.
Nagy said Cameroon diaspora’s influence can be felt through public remarks, private conversations, remittances, international conferences, and social media posts.
”We encourage you to use the power of your voices in a constructive manner to promote peace as you engage with Cameroonians worldwide, the U.S. government, Congress, and on social media,” he added.
He made the comments following recent attacks against schoolchildren, teachers, and religious and traditional leaders in the Northwest and Southwest Regions in Cameroon, marred by violence since 2017.
”We count on the Cameroonian diaspora in the United States to participate constructively in addressing its concerns about Cameroon. We will not work with groups – or attend diaspora-organized events – that include calls for violence or hate speech,” Nagy said.
Nagy said the US supports the territorial integrity of Cameroon and calls for all actors to peacefully address the long-term grievances driving the current conflict in the Northwest and Southwest Regions and to cease exacerbating the hardships experienced by civilians in these regions.
The United States government considers the Cameroonian diaspora a critical community that can push for meaningful change in Cameroon to address long-term grievances, support the safety of humanitarian workers, get children back to school safely, and bring an end to the fighting that has led to untold suffering, according to the statement.
Violence in the Anglophone regions over the last three years has claimed an estimated 3,000 lives and caused the displacement of over 730,000 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch.
In June, the Norwegian Refugee Council said that for a second year running, Cameroon topped its annual list of the world’s most neglected displacement crises in 2019.
More than 1.1 million children are out of school in Cameroon, according to UNICEF.
In the North-West and South-West regions, armed groups have been fighting for the independence of the country’s two English-speaking regions since late 2016.
The Cameroonian military has led a fierce crackdown against this secession movement. As is usually the case, civilians are bearing the brunt of the conflict and are fleeing their villages to escape the violence and widespread human rights violations being perpetrated by both sides, according to NRC.