COMMITTEE ON THE ELIMINATION
OF RACIAL DISCRIMINATION
OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES PARTIES
UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
of the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. At its 1265th, 1266th
and 1267th meetings, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
considered the tenth to fourteenth periodic reports of Cameroon as submitted
in a single document (CERD/C/298/Add.3). At its 1273rd meeting, held
on 20 March 1998, the Committee adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes
the submission of the State party's periodic report and the presence
of, and opportunity to resume dialogue with a delegation from the country.
It notes with satisfaction that the report complies with its guidelines
and takes into account its latest conclusions concerning the State party.
The Committee further notes that the oral information provided in a
spirit of frank and open dialogue by the delegation of Cameroon was
a useful supplement to the written report.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Convention
3. Note is taken of Cameroon's
considerable ethnic, religious, linguistic, cultural, geographical and
C. Positive aspects
4. The Committee notes the
State party's adoption on 18 January 1996 of a new Constitution that
guarantees, inter alia, the protection of the rights of minorities
and indigenous peoples and its ratification of numerous human rights
5. The Committee welcomes
the establishment by a decree dated 8 November 1990 of the National
Committee on Human Rights and Freedoms. It notes with interest the activities
of that body.
6. The information provided
on the composition of the population and the country's social, economic
and cultural indicators is also considered very positive.
D. Principal subjects of concern
7. The inadequacy of the
present legislation, especially the Penal Code, to enable the State
party fully to discharge its obligations under article 4 of the Convention
is a subject of concern.
8. It is regrettable that
the report provides no figures concerning ethnic groups' representation
at the various levels of political life and the civil service.
9. Protection of the rights
of minorities and indigenous peoples to enable them to live in harmony
in their environment is, especially as regards the Pygmies and Boro,
a subject of concern in the light of article 2, paragraph 2, of the
Convention and of the Committee's General Recommendation XXIII on the
rights of indigenous peoples.
10. Information is required
on the legal regime applicable to aliens living in the State party.
11. Concern was expressed
with respect to article 5 (b) of the Convention about allegations of
infringements of the right to security of person.
12. The absence of information
on individual population groups' enjoyment of economic, social and cultural
rights and access to development programmes and projects is regretted.
13. The State party's assertion
that no cases involving discrimination, in particular based on article
242 of the Penal Code, are ever brought before the courts and that there
is therefore no case law in the matter is a subject of concern in the
light of articles 4 and 6 of the Convention.
14. With respect to the
implementation of article 7 of the Convention, the information provided
on measures to ensure equal treatment for ethnic groups regarding teaching,
culture and information and to develop human rights training for law-enforcement
agents is inadequate.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
15. The Committee recommends
that the State party take all appropriate measures to review domestic
law, particularly the Penal Code, in order to include in it all the
provisions required by article 4 of the Convention.
16. With reference to paragraph
8 of the guidelines, the Committee requests the State party to provide
information on ethnic groups' representation at the various levels of
political life and the civil service and on their enjoyment of economic,
social and cultural rights.
17. With a view to promoting
and protecting the rights of minorities and indigenous peoples, the
Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures,
particularly as regards deforestation that may harm such population
18. The Committee recommends
that the State party take all appropriate measures provided for by the
Convention to prevent and eliminate acts of racial discrimination against
19. The Committee recommends
that the State party guarantee all persons within its territory, irrespective
of race, colour or ethnic origin, enjoyment of the right to security.
20. The Committee requests
the State party to take all necessary measures to guarantee freedom
of expression to all persons, irrespective of race, colour or ethnic
origin, and to guarantee freedom of the press.
21. With respect to the
implementation of article 6 of the Convention, the Committee recommends
that the State party facilitate access to the courts for victims of
racial discrimination so that the perpetrators of racist acts can be
brought to trial and the victims of such acts can obtain reparation.
22. The Committee recommends
that the State party take all appropriate measures to give full effect
to the provisions of article 7 of the Convention concerning education,
training and human rights information. Human rights training for agents
of the State is especially recommended. The State party is also requested
to take all appropriate steps to acquaint the population with the Convention
and to publish the Government's periodic reports and the Committee's
observations. The Committee further recommends that the State party
strengthen its relations with associations and non-governmental bodies
seeking to promote the rights recognized in the Convention.
23. The Committee recommends
that the State party provide in its next report detailed information
on the implementation of articles 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the Convention to
supplement and update the still incomplete information given in the
24. The Committee recommends
that the State party ratify the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6,
of the Convention adopted at the fourteenth meeting of States parties.
25. It is noted that the
State party has not made the declaration referred to in article 14 of
the Convention. A number of members of the Committee have asked that
the State party consider doing so.
26. The Committee invites
the State party to submit its next periodic report, due on 24 July 2000,
as an update taking into account the points raised in the present observations.