The United States has advised the Cameroon government to respect human rights in order to be reinstated as a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), reported Africa News.
Last week, the U.S. President Donald Trump terminated Cameroon’s preferential trade benefits from next year over allegations of human rights violations. President Trump cited some reasons for removing Cameroon from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
He said the West African nation failed to address U.S. concerns regarding extrajudicial killings, torture and other persistent human rights violations allegedly committed by Cameroonian security forces.
“I am taking this step because I have determined that the Government of Cameroon currently engages in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, contravening the eligibility requirements of section 104 of the (African Growth and Opportunity Act),” Trump wrote in a letter addressed to the U.S. Congress.
Notably, in order to qualify for preferential benefits under the AGOA legislation, the countries must meet criteria including a good human rights record.
Washington has also cut more than $17 million in security aid and support to Cameroon in February over concerns about its human rights record.
Cameroon is witnessing an Anglophone revolt that started in its English-speaking provinces back in 2016 after the people complained of being marginalized by the Francophone government. Security forces and the separatists have been accused of killing and torturing citizens in the crossfire.
Felix Mbayu, who is Cameroon’s Minister Delegate at the Ministry of External Relations, claimed the sanctions were not linked to the country’s human rights record.
“The simple truth is that the US is unhappy with a certain stance we take with China,” he said.
The Chinese government wrote off some of Cameroon’s debts in February this year and is also carrying out projects in the country.
Mbayu said the US was not a major trade partner of Cameroon, unlike China and other world powers.