Sep 20, 2018

Ambazonia: Cameroon Authorities Prevent People From Escaping Humanitarian Crisis

As a result of decades of ethnic inequalities inherited from colonial era, the enduring persecution against minorities in Cameroon recently turned into a severe humanitarian crisis. Last March 2018, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reported that the number of Anglophone Cameroonians who were seeking refuge out of Cameroon – in particular in Nigeria – reached more than 20,000 people. On 18 September 2018, the decision by Cameroon authorities to drastically limit the conditions under which people are allowed to leave the Ambazonia region considerably threatens the freedom of movement of the inhabitants, whilst violating the most basic human rights principles guaranteed by the 1951 Refugee Convention.


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Authorities in Cameroon’s Northwest region say they will not allow people without legitimate reasons to leave the area.

A communique dated 18 September and signed by a regional delegate said the decision had been taken with stakeholders in the transport sector.

“I have the honour to inform the general public that as a measure to secure and protect those persons travelling out of the region, that henceforth, they will be required to provide additional information at their points of departure.”

“In effect, they shall state the reason for their departure, the name of the receiver and his or her contact. Anybody who will not comply with this order shall have his or her journey cancelled, the statement added.”

People in their hundreds were reported to be quitting the region as the Anglophone crisis continued to take a toll on lives and properties across the region.

The region together with the Southwest constitutes the country’s minority Anglophone region which has been suffering a security crisis since last year. 

Separatist groups are seeking independence from French-majority Cameroon after a series of peaceful protests against marginalization was clamped down by government forces. The separatists are seeking to establish a so-called Ambazonia region.

Photo courtesy of UNHCR.