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Cameroon - Universal Periodic Review

UPR 30, May 16, 2018
Recommendations by Canada


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Thank you, Mr. President.

Canada offers its sincere condolences to the relatives of the victims of the violence that has marked the country, stemming notably from terrorism in the Far North region and from tensions related to the demands of the Anglophone community in the North-West and South-West regions. 

Canada recommends that the Government of Cameroon:

  1. Expressly engage in a sustained dialogue with the representatives of the Anglophone community on the crisis in the Northwest and Southwest of the country to reach a consensual solution that upholds human rights.
  2. Amend the 2014 anti-terrorism legislation to bring the definition of terrorism in line with international human rights obligations and standards, repeal the death penalty, and end the use of military tribunals to try civilians.
  3. Take the necessary legal measures, before the next elections, to enable electoral judges to consider as admissible copies of minutes submitted to representatives of parties in polling stations.

Canada is aware of the security challenges facing Cameroon, and reminds it of its obligations to respect human rights, whatever the circumstances.  


According to UPR Info, a non-profit, non-governmental organization that tracks the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process, in the first two cycles of the UPR, Cameroon received 274 recommendations, of which 194 were accepted (a rate acceptance of almost 71%). Canada’s previous recommendations to Cameroon touched on LGBTI rights, the proscription that an individual be tried twice for the same offence, as well as the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The general human rights situation in Cameroon has unfortunately deteriorated in recent years, notably with the attacks perpetrated in the Far North region by the terrorist group Boko Haram, from neighbouring Nigeria, the fight against that group, and the crisis related to demands made by the Anglophone minority.

There have been several reports on this very troubling situation in Cameroon, where terrorism by Boko Haram has caused serious human rights abuses and counter-terrorism measures by the authorities have resulted in multiple violations. Demands in Anglophone regions have resulted first in government officials committing human rights violations, mainly in connection with freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly and the right to a fair trial, and second, in very serious abuses committed by extremist secessionist groups, resulting in attacks causing the deaths of law enforcement officers and abductions.

It is in this difficult context that general elections will be held, scheduled for the end of 2018. It is essential for Cameroon’s stability that the elections be fair and transparent and that credible means to contest the results be provided by law. The possibility for parties to use copies of polling station reports in a procedure to contest results legally would significantly strengthen the credibility and soundness of Cameroon’s electoral process.

According to the October 2017 report of the International Crisis Group, since May 2014, Boko Haram has been responsible for the deaths of some 2000 civilians and soldiers, and for the abduction of over a thousand people in the Far North. In reaction to the terrorist acts, according to Amnesty International's annual report, Cameroonian law enforcement officers have committed human rights violations and crimes under international law, including arbitrary arrests, secret detentions, torture, and deaths in detention.

Regarding the situation in Anglophone regions, in November 2017, the UN Human Rights Committee called for equal treatment for the Anglophone minority, and in December 2017, UN experts called on the government to halt violence against demonstrations by the Anglophone minority. The Committee also shared its concerns about Bill 2014/028 of December 23, 2014, on terrorism, which introduced new grounds for the death penalty, provisions contrary to fundamental guarantees of human rights, and the jurisdiction of military tribunals, including over civilians.


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