How can you throw us back?” this is the cry of asylum seekers allegedly abused in the United States and deported to Cameroon.
According to an international pressure group, Human Rights Watch, dozens of asylum seekers deported by the United States are subjected to human rights violations. the group said in its report which assessed the situation between 2019 and 2021.
the research sought to find out what happened to some estimated 80 to 90 Cameroonians deported from the United States between October and November 2020 and others deported in 2019 and 2021.
People deported to Cameroon faced arbitrary arrest and detention; enforced disappearances; torture, rape, and other violence; extortion; unfair prosecutions; confiscation of their national IDs; harassment; and abuses against their relatives, according to the report.
“The US government utterly failed Cameroonians with credible asylum claims by sending them back to harm in the country they fled, as well as mistreating already traumatized people before and during deportation,” said Lauren Seibert, refugee and migrant rights researcher at Human Rights Watch.
“The Cameroon and US governments need to remedy these abuses, and US authorities should provide opportunities for wrongly deported Cameroonians to return and reapply for asylum.”
Human Rights Watch collected and analyzed US asylum and immigration documents of deported people, as well as photographs, videos, recordings, and medical and legal documents corroborating accounts of mistreatment in Cameroon.
Cameroon has faced humanitarian crises in several regions in recent years. Respect for human rights has deteriorated and the government has increasingly cracked down on opposition and dissent.
Violence since late 2016 by government forces and armed separatist groups in Cameroon’s two Anglophone regions has caused mass displacement, as have intercommunal violence and ongoing conflict with Boko Haram in the Far North region.
Most of the deportees claim they left Cameroon because of the separatist conflict in English-speaking regions.