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Trump moves to cut trade benefits to Cameroon, citing human rights violations

Trump moves to cut trade benefits to Cameroon, citing human rights violations
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The White House on Thursday announced President TrumpDonald TrumpProsecutors focus Trump Organization probe on company's financial officer: report WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend MORE's intention to cut trade benefits for Cameroon, citing human rights violations. 

In a message to Congress, Trump said he would end Cameroon's designation as a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) because "the Government of Cameroon currently engages in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, [including] extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detention, and torture."

The country will lose its beneficiary status on Jan. 1. 

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The U.S. previously cut foreign aid to Cameroon earlier this year

A State Department official told The Hill in February that the U.S. would halt $17 million in security aid to Cameroon's government, which used the money to fight against militant groups such as Boko Haram. 

"We continue to urge the Cameroonian government to take all credible allegations of gross violations of human rights seriously, investigate those allegations thoroughly, hold accountable the perpetrators of such abuses, and disclose the outcome of the investigations to the people of Cameroon," a State Department official said at the time. 

The Trump administration "recognize[s] the great cooperation we have had in the fight against Boko Haram and in restoring maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea," the official added, saying that further reductions in aid to Cameroon could occur if the government does not address the issues.

The AGOA was signed by former President Clinton in 2000 and aimed to expand U.S. trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa.