HRW: Cameroon Forcibly Deports 100,000 Refugees to Nigeria
Cameroon has forcibly returned around 100,000 Nigerian asylum seekers in the past two years, Human Rights Watch said.
Some Nigerian refugees told the human rights group their children had died during the often violent deportation, or become separated from their parents.
The report also documents the abuse, torture and sexual exploitation of thousands of Nigerian refugees in a displacement camp in Cameroon.
Refugees said Cameroonian soldiers accused them of being part of Boko Haram, the violent Nigerian extremist group from whom many of them had fled, and denied them access to the U.N. refugee agency.
“The Cameroonian military’s torture and abuse of Nigerian refugees and asylum seekers seems to be driven by an arbitrary decision to punish them for Boko Haram attacks in Cameroon and to discourage Nigerians from seeking asylum,” said Gerry Simpson, associate refugee director at Human Rights Watch.
U.S. Confirms Refugee Cap, Ends Program for Central American Children
The Trump administration confirmed it will limit the number of refugees to 45,000 next fiscal year and ended a program allowing children in Central America to apply for refugee status while still in their own countries.
The cap on refugee admissions, leaked a day earlier, is the lowest-ever set. It was decried by refugee resettlement group HIAS as “shameful” and by the Refugee Council USA as “heartless.”
The U.S. will also phase out the Central American Minors (CAM) program over the coming year, it said in a report to Congress. The program started in 2014 as tens of thousands of unaccompanied children crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. It allows children in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras whose parents are in the U.S. to apply for asylum without making the dangerous journey on their own.
The State Department said more than 13,000 people have applied and around 1,500 children and family members have come to the U.S. under the program to date.
E.U. Plans to Resettle 50,000 Mostly African Refugees Over Two Years
The E.U. announced a plan to resettle 50,000 refugees over the next two years and put 500 million euros ($587 million) toward the effort.
The E.U. has resettled around 23,000 refugees, mostly from the Middle East, under the current two-year scheme, which expires at the end of the year.
Now the E.U. will shift focus to resettling refugees from African countries along the migration route that leads to the Central Mediterranean, including Libya, Egypt, Niger, Sudan, Chad and Ethiopia.
The resettlement scheme depends on voluntary commitments by E.U. member states, so the financial package may serve as a crucial incentive to participate.
The European Commission – the E.U.’s executive branch – also said it would set up pilot projects to create more legal pathways for migrants to come to Europe, authorize internal border checks for another two years, and step up the return of migrants who are rejected for asylum.
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