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Belgian Gov’t Decries Asylum-Seeking Cameroonians 

By Chris Mbunwe

The Representative of the Belgian Ministry of Interior, Jean Francois Caumiant, has expressed worries over the constant flow of illegal immigrants from Cameroon to Belgium seeking asylum. The Belgian Minister’s representative was speaking in Bamenda on February 4, during a one-day seminar on the follow-up and prevention of illegal migration in Cameroon, organised by“Solutions Aux Migrations Clandestine, SMIC, a Non Governmental Organisation. He revealed that, last year, more than 1,500 students from Cameroon were issued visas to study in Belgium and come back to Cameroon. However, he said, this has not been the case, because, most of them refuse to return to Cameroon after their studies.

 “They start fabricating stories of how they are being chased from Cameroon because they are homosexuals, lesbians or because of SCNC activities. Some change their names and get married to Belgian women illegally,” Francois Caumiant, remarked. He said every year, over 500 illegal immigrants from Cameroon are trapped in Belgium and the situation is getting worse by the day. “They tell a lot of lies and are bent on making us believe the fake certificates they present. The unfortunate thing with these asylum seekers is that there is a task force of about 500 persons using high level verification mechanism on falsified documents at their Embassies” Caumiant stated.

According to Caumiant, if Cameroonians could tell lies or present fake documents some 20 years ago and they were issued visas, it is not the case today. He prescribed prevention of illegal immigrants by way of sensitisation and human rights by both Government and the NGOs. To help curb this practice which has led to so many young people dying in crossing the Mediterranean Sea and Mexico, Caumiant said his Government spends over one million Euros to stem illegal immigration in Belgium.

He condemned human trafficking and immigration, stating that these are unhealthy practices that retard development.Presenting a paper on human trafficking, smuggling and migration, the Coordinator of Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Bamenda, Laura Anyola Tufon, painted a gory picture of her commission struggle to curb human trafficking.

The President of SMIC, Yves Tsala, said preventing illegal migration in Cameroon requires a lot of efforts and should be a multi-sectoral fight. The over 30 NGOs whose objectives are to fight human rights and human trafficking resolved to join the task force set-up by Government to fight human trafficking. It was resolved that forces of law and order be trained to build their capacities on human trafficking and immigration. They also expressed the need to enhance rehabilitation of victims of immigration.

The Ministries of Education were urged to revise their curricula to fit the present dispensation of training job creators not job seekers. Government was advised to absorb those who study abroad on scholarship, upon their return, so that they contribute to nation building.

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