To unify international efforts dedicated to protecting immigrants and displaced individuals affected by the humanitarian crises, violence, persecution, or other human rights violations in Cameroon while spreading awareness to expose the root cause of migration from Cameroon.
Founded and led by Cameroonians in the diaspora in coalition with legal and migrants’ rights advocacy organizations, we are uniquely situated to champion the freedom and dignity of Cameroonians, center the issues of black migrants, and build our communities to thrive.
Founded in August 2021, CAN’s focus on blending strategic collaborative advocacy efforts, community organizing, and campaign outreach to unmask the poor treatment of immigrants, particularly Black immigrants, imprisoned often indefinitely under the biased US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention system. Our overarching mission is to secure blanket relief for Cameroonians living in the U.S, as well as those still pursuing their journey of hope.
It is our goal to obtain US protection for Cameroonians fleeing violence, insecurity, persecution, or other human rights abuses in Cameroon. Several concurrent humanitarian crises in Cameroon create serious risks to anyone forced to return. Tens of thousands have fled the country, while over 700,000 people are internally displaced, due to the political and human rights crisis in the country’s Anglophone regions. This crisis has been characterized by widespread violence by government forces and armed separatist groups. In the Far North region, armed conflict and violence by Boko Haram and government security forces has displaced over 300,000 people. Government repression of political opposition and dissent is also an overarching issue in Cameroon.
CAN believes a thriving and stable Cameroonian community requires freedom for all Cameroonians and all. We believe this objection should start with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and include the right to asylum, resettlement assistance, and a path to citizenship, as well as racial, social, and economic justice for all immigrants including those previously and cruelly deported, those who are are internally as well as internationally displaced by the escalating violence in Cameroon.
Haitian Bridge Alliance in Collaboration with Immigration, Racial Justice, and Human Rights Organizations Launches the Cameroon Advocacy Network (CAN)
San Diego, CA., October 12, 2021 – – Haitian Bridge Alliance and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights announce the launch of the Cameroon Advocacy Network (CAN). CAN is a dynamic coalition of activists and organizations across the country, dedicated to working with and for Cameroonians in the United States seeking protection from violence and persecution. Working in close collaboration with UndocuBlack, CASA of Maryland, African Communities Together, Alliance in Defense of Black Immigrants, and others, the Cameroon Advocacy Network advocates for the dignity and rights of Cameroonians, as a critical part of the collective liberation of all Black immigrants from intersectional forms of oppression and marginalization.
In recent years, longstanding socio-political tensions and armed group activity in Cameroon has erupted into intense and protracted violence that has left thousands dead, 4.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, over 1 million people internally displaced, and over 67,000 forced to flee their homeland. In fiscal year (FY) 2020 alone, more than 1,500 Cameroonians who applied for asylum in the United States had their cases adjudicated in immigration courts, compared to less than 150 just five years prior. Yet, as they confront the racist and deeply unjust US detention/deportation machine, these individuals remain at imminent risk in the United States. After fleeing egregious harm in their home country, many have been turned away and made to wait in exceedingly dangerous migrant camps at the border. Cameroonian migrants and asylum seekers have endured often prolonged and unnecessary detention by ICE, characterized by anti-Black and anti-African abuse through the denial of medical and mental health care, disproportionate use of force, and prolonged solitary confinement.
The Cameroon Advocacy Network’s priorities include immediately securing a designation of Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) or Deferred Enforced Departure (“DED”) to win protections and security for the 40,000+ Cameroons currently living in the U.S; ending the inhumane ICE detention and deportation of Cameroonians; establishing reparations and humanitarian parole for those Cameroonians who were wrongfully and unjustly deported; providing holistic legal, post-release, and resettlement resources, so that we can organize our community and build power to thrive; and building international solidarity to center the issues faced by Black migrants and advocate for peace in Cameroon and all of Africa.
The launch of the Cameroon Advocacy Network will feature a series of actions/events over the next several weeks to center the need for TPS and uplift the voices and experiences of those directly impacted Cameroonian community members. We will seek to amplify calls on the Biden administration to grant protections to Cameroonians in the US and others seeking asylum, and rise up with our siblings, including our Haitian brothers and sisters, against anti-Black immigration policies that cause immeasurable harm and violate basic human rights.
Asylum Task-force | Bail Coordinator of HBA/BIBF – Founding member of CAN, Daniel Tse, stated: “As an impacted individual with firsthand experience of tragedies faced by Cameroonians and the unequal treatment of Black Migrants in the U.S immigration system, it is necessary for there to be a strong leadership by affected individuals to lead the efforts towards acquiring relief for Cameroonian migrants while uplifting the issues of Black migrants. Given the horrible treatment of Black immigrants including Cameroonians while trying to seek refuge in the U.S, it’s crucial that the Biden administration acts fast to protect vulnerable Cameroonians seeking refuge by granting them Temporary Protected Status. At CAN, we believe that a thriving and stable Cameroonian community is possible. To achieve this goal we seek to put the needs of the community first while fostering core values of collectivism, respect, integrity, and radical solidarity.”
Founding member Kale Dante Nsanbeh stated: “It is imperative now, more than ever, for the United States Government to live by its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,’ and grant TPS to the over 40 thousand Cameroonians fleeing violence and instability in the country. For this reason, we thought it wise to establish a strong leadership by affected individuals of the Cameroonian community to lead the front link so as to uplift the issues faced by Black immigrants.”
Founding member of CAN, Emmanuel Tabali, stated: “When a nation that stands as the beacon of hope for mankind decided to return you to a misery greater than what you had escaped from, it leaves us with the question: has America changed the values and virtues upon which it was built? By the virtues upon which this great nation was built, we demand protection for all Cameroonians. It is hard to live in fear, but even worse when your tomorrow is threatened by the very foundations of hope you look up to. We urge the Biden Administration to provide TPS for all Cameroonians.”
Executive Director and Co-Founder of Haitian Bridge Alliance, Guerline Jozef, stated: “As we continue the fight for protection for Black migrants at the U.S-Mexico border, in immigration prisons and across the United States, it is imperative that we center the voices of the most impacted community members and empower them to lead the fight. We stand undeterred with our Cameroonian brothers and sisters and ask that president Biden designates TPS for all Cameroonians, and stops deportations of individuals who have fled violence and oppression.”
Staff Attorney at Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Founding member of CAN, Sarah Decker, stated: “The abhorrent treatment of Cameroonian immigrants living in the United States is a reflection of a larger problem – together, racist policing practices and the sister criminal legal and immigrant detention systems target, cage, and abuse Black immigrants. We demand an end to the mass criminalization of migration, the human and civil rights abuses endemic to our U.S. immigration system, and the injustice faced by the very people we are obligated to protect under international and U.S. law. We demand that the Biden Administration act now to designate TPS for the 40,000 Cameroonians in urgent need of protection, including those currently subjected to racist treatment and violence in ICE detention.”
The Cameroon Advocacy Network was launched in 2021 by Haitian Bridge Alliance in collaboration with Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, UndocuBlack Network, CASA of Maryland, and Alliance in Defense of Black Migrants. The space hopes to bring together everyone in unity to work for the dignity and rights of all Cameroonians – whether in Cameroon, in the United States, or anywhere else in the world.