UN disturbed by death of Nigerian asylum seekers in Cameroon.

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From Fatima Bukar, Abuja

The United Nation’s refugee agency has on Thursday expressed considerable disquiet and reservation over the death of six Nigerian asylum-seekers in Cameroon.
Cameroonian authorities have deported over 800 Nigerian refugees and asylum-seekers in 2018 alone.
“UNHCR has learnt that on 29 July, 12 asylum-seekers were being forcibly returned to Banki, Nigeria, in a Cameroonian army truck which drove over an improvised explosive device that exploded. Six Cameroonian soldiers and six other asylum-seekers were also injured in the incident, which took place in Homaka, Mayo Sava Division,” the Agency said in a statement issued in Geneva, Switzerland.
“This tragic incident is a disappointing testament of continuing forced returns (refoulements) of refugees and asylum-seekers from Cameroon, despite numerous appeals by UNHCR to the Government of Cameroon to respect its obligations,” said Valentin Tapsoba, Director of UNHCR’s Regional Bureau for Africa. “The forced return of refugees and asylum-seekers is in violation of the principle of non-refoulement which constitutes the cornerstone of international refugee law to which the Cameroonian State is party.”
“UNHCR once again calls upon the government of Cameroon to refrain from carrying out further forced returns of Nigerian refugees and asylum-seekers. It also reminds Cameroon of its obligations under international law relating to the protection of refugees and asylum-seekers and the commitments it made by signing the Tripartite Agreement for the voluntary repatriation of Nigerian refugees from Cameroon in March 2017. UNHCR reiterates its appeal to authorities to provide Nigerian refugees with unhindered access to asylum and stands ready to support Cameroon to ensure all individuals seeking safety have access to efficient screening, registration and documentation procedures,” the statement said.
About 96,000 Nigerian refugees have sought sanctuary in Far Northern region of Cameroon, with more than 8,000 refugees successfully registered in 2018.

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