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US senators demand halt in security assistance to Cameroon

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Four US senators have demanded a halt in security assistance to Cameroon “until the military and security forces of the country demonstrate progress in abiding by international human rights standards.”

The demand from Senators Dick Durbin, Ben Cardin, Chris Van Hollen, and Tim Kaine was introduced through an amendment to the 2020 Fiscal Year National Defense Authorization Act dubbed NDAA Tuesday June 25.

According to the senators, reports of gross human rights violations by Cameroonian military forces and separatists in restive regions prompted this amendment.

“When providing military aid to foreign nations, we must ensure their governments are not engaging in gross violations of human rights. I am deeply concerned by reports of political violence and repression coming out of Cameroon – we cannot turn a blind eye to these actions… I urge the Senate to send this clear message to the Cameroonian government, that these abuses will not be tolerated,” Van Hollen said.

“We cannot remain complicit in actions that are used to commit gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. American military assistance can no longer prop up Cameroon’s military and security forces who are attacking innocent civilians,” Cardin said.

According to the amendment, the only exception will be on funds meant to counter terrorism operations in the fight against Boko Haram.

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