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On Cameroon, Inner City Press Asked US State Dep't of 47 Illegally Deported By Nigeria, US Statement Here

By Matthew Russell Lee, Periscope, Video

WASHINGTON, April 12 – As Cameroon's 36 year president Paul Biya has cracked down on Anglophones, the UN has largely stayed quiet. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres stopped by in October 2017 and smiled, accepting from Biya a golden statue. His Deputy Amina J. Mohammed was in Abuja when Nigeria illegally refouled 47 people to Cameroon and said nothing.  On April 10  Inner City Press went to the US State Department briefing and asked spokesperson Heather Nauert about it. Video here from 32:59.  She said, I'll take your question and get back to you. And UNlike so often the United Nations, she did. On April 12, this response arrived, from a State Department official: "With respect to your question from the State Department press briefing on Tuesday, the following is attributable to a State Department official: 'On February 5, the Department of State issued a press statement on Cameroonian Anglophone Detainees, in which the United States condemned the ongoing violence in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.  We called on the Government of Cameroon to respect the human rights, including due process, of the 47 Cameroonians forcibly returned from Nigerian custody to the Cameroonian authorities on January 26.  Many of those forcibly repatriated had reportedly submitted asylum claims in Nigeria.  We continue to urge the Governments of Cameroon and Nigeria to adhere to their obligations under international law to refrain from forcible repatriation of asylum-seekers back to their countries of origin. We expect the Cameroonian government to afford these, and other individuals previously detained, all the rights and protections enshrined in Cameroon’s constitution, consistent with the nation’s international obligations and commitments.  We regularly engage with the Cameroonian government regarding our concerns about the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and we urge all sides in the conflict to act with restraint in response to acts of violence when they occur.  We also continue to appeal to all sides to enter into meaningful, broad-based dialogue as the only path toward a resolution of legitimate grievances.'"  On April 12, Inner City Press asked Amnesty Interntional about those of the refoulees facing treason charges being subject to the death penalty. But that's another story. Again, the April 10 video:

From the US' April 10 transcript: Inner City Press:  Matthew Russell Lee.


Inner City Press:  Yeah.  So I wanted --

MS NAUERT:  Nice to meet you.

Inner City Press: it’s something that I haven’t seen the Department comment on.  Maybe you’ll have – maybe it’s in your binder, or maybe it isn’t.  But there’s been 47 Cameroonians were in Nigeria and they were picked up and sort of illegally returned, or refouled, back to Cameroon.  And it’s been – it’s been months that people haven’t seen them.  And I’m wondering:  Is the U.S. aware of this?  Are they aware of this conflict, the conflict or tensions in the Anglophone zones of Cameroon, and what do they intend to do about it?

MS NAUERT:  I’ll have to take your question on that and get back with you.  And there are things that are not contained in the binder that we are aware of as well.

  At least some response, hopefully with more to come - on the same day, the UN refused to answer a single one of Inner City Press' three questions, after having evicted and still restricting Inner City Press. We will continue to cover this. For now, this Periscope video just after the State Department briefing. Watch this site.


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