Sunday, March 1, 2020

Killings in Anglophone regions: Here are the sanctions of the American Senate against the ministers of Biya

The US Senate is concerned about massive human rights violations in the northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon. In a report produced on February 27, the Senate lists the sanctions to which the actors involved in the crimes in Noso are liable. The American Senate particularly targets the high ranking officers of the army as well as the ministers of Paul Biya.

Here is an excerpt from the report of the US Senate 


The US government, in collaboration with Congress, can use foreign policy tools to punish the government of Cameroon, armed groups NGOs and perpetrators of human rights violations. 

On October 31, 2019, the President of the United States notified Congress of his intention to terminate the designation of Cameroon as a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) under section 104 of the Law because of "gross violations of internationally recognized human rights" [10] and concerns about "the persistence of gross human rights violations committed by the Cameroonian government against its own citizens" [11]. 

The United States has other significant leverage it can impose on nations and individuals who commit "gross international human rights violations". 

First, the Secretary of State can sanction foreign officials responsible for corruption and human rights violations under section 7031 (c) of the State Department, Foreign Operations Finance Act. and related programs for 2019. [13]

Based on credible information regarding (a) "involvement in significant corruption, including corruption linked to the extraction of natural resources", or (b) "a gross violation of human rights", the Secretary of State may deny entry into the United States for foreign officials and members of their immediate families. [14] The law requires that the Secretary of State publicly or privately designate these foreign officials and members of their immediate families who have been refused entry to the United States. 

Under section 7031 (c), the Secretary of State has publicly designated the Inspector General of the Cameroonian Gendarmerie as ineligible for entry to the United States because of his involvement in significant corruption related to the trafficking of wild animals [15]. The Secretary of State should make the same designation for Cameroonian officials when there is credible information concerning the involvement in corruption and human rights violations in the conflict in the North West and Southwest, and in the fight against Boko Haram in the Far North [16]. 

In recent years, a series of horrific crimes have been committed in Cameroon, but the government has not conducted credible investigations, conducted fair and transparent trials, and failed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Among these crimes are the murders of Charles Wesco and Florence Ayafor. [17] 

Although often faced with obvious evidence of military involvement, the government of Cameroon has only recognized its responsibility in crimes such as the extrajudicial execution of women and their children [18] only under the weight of international pressure. 

The Secretary of State should therefore publicly appoint senior Cameroonian military and government officials on the basis of credible information regarding crimes against civilians, human rights violations or corruption, and hold them responsible. 

Second, the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act is another foreign policy tool available to the United States government. [19] The Global Magnitsky Act allows sanctions to be imposed based on "credible evidence" of human rights violations or corruption. With regard to human rights violations, the law requires "gross violations of internationally recognized human rights ", defined by reference to the Foreign Aid Act of 1961 [21]. Flagrant violations of internationally recognized human rights include torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, prolonged detention without charge or trial, enforced disappearance of persons or flagrant denial of the right to life,

Global Magnitsky Law Authorizes the US Government to Punish Foreign Persons Responsible for Extrajudicial Executions, Torture or Other Gross Human Rights Violations Committed Against Individuals in Any Foreign Country Who Seek to Expos the Illegal Activities of Government Officials government or to promote internationally recognized human rights or freedoms. [23] The sanctions apply not only to the perpetrators of these acts but also to their agents. [24] The Global Magnitsky Law also authorizes sanctions against government officials and their high-ranking associates who engage in corruption. [25] 

Sanctions include denial of entry into the United States and blocking of transactions involving all property interests of a foreign person in the possession or control of the United States, including freezing of assets for funds held in American banks [26]. Thus, the law can effectively block an individual's access to the American financial system [27]. The implementation of the law is entrusted to the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General [28]. 

Human rights organizations have long documented the multiple violations committed by President Biya's regime against his own people. 

The United States is expected to impose new targeted sanctions against the Cameroonian military, government officials, authorities and armed groups under the Magnitsky Global Law for crimes committed in the English-speaking regions and in the fight against Boko Haram in the region of the Far North, as well as for other human rights violations in Cameroon.