21 April 2018

Cameroon: Do Not Send Refugees Back to the Violence They Fled From, UN Agency Urges Cameroon

Photo: OCHA/Ivo Brandau
A refugee camp in northern Cameroon hosting Nigerian refugees (file photo).

Despite warnings, Nigerian refugees and asylum-seekers who fled Boko Haram violence continue to be returned from Cameroon, the United Nations refugee agency has said, underscoring the need to accord international protection to those in need.

"We appeal once again to the authorities in Cameroon to refrain from further forced returns and to ensure protection to those fleeing insecurity and persecution in Nigeria, in accordance with Cameroon's national and international obligations," the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement.

Since the beginning of 2018, 385 Nigerians refugees and asylum-seekers have been forcibly returned from Cameroon - the majority of them last month, including 160 on 10 April and a further 118 a week later.

In total, the UN agency has registered some 87,600 Nigerian refugees in the country.

"The forced returns are in violation of the principle of no forced returns or non-refoulement. They are also a significant setback to progress previously achieved by Cameroon in granting asylum to Nigerian civilians fleeing Boko Haram violence," said UNHCR.

In the statement, UNHCR also noted that it recognized legitimate national security concerns of States affected by the Boko Haram crisis, and stressed that it is important that refugee protection and national security are not seen as being incompatible.

"Properly functioning screening, registration and asylum systems help safeguard host country security," it said, reiterating its support to the Government of Cameroon to ensure that all those seeking international protection have access to efficient screening and registration procedures, as well as appropriate reception arrangements.

More on This

Don't Send Nigerian Refugees Back to Boko Haram Violence, UN Urges Cameroon

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has urged the Cameroonian authority not to send Nigerian… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

Copyright © 2018 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.