Committee considered the second periodic report of Cameroon (CCPR/C/63/Add.1)
at its 1306th to 1308th meetings (CCPR/C/SR.1306-SR.1308), held
on 30 and 31 March 1994, and adopted at its 1316th meeting (fiftieth
session), held on 7 April 1994 the following observations:
Committee thanks Cameroon for its report and welcomes the Government's
willingness to pursue the dialogue entered into with the Committee.
The report, although summary and rather theoretical, otherwise conforms
to the Committee's guidelines regarding the form and contents of
periodic reports (CCPR/C/20/Rev.1), and the oral comments were a
valuable complement to the information given in writing. The replies
to the questions of Committee members by a competent high-level
delegation helped to make the dialogue between the delegation and
the Committee frank and fruitful.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the application of the Covenant
ignorance of individuals as to their rights impedes the enjoyment
thereof and contributes to their failure to provide remedies for
violation of those rights. Accordingly, there remain many unaddressed
human rights violations. The survival of certain traditions and
customs sometimes constitutes an obstacle to the application of
the Covenant, particularly with regard to equality of men and women.
C. Positive aspects
establishment of the National Committee for Human Rights and Freedoms
represents a notable advance in the promotion of human rights in
acts passed in 1990, in particular Act No. 90-56 of 19 December
1990 concerning political parties, establishing a multiparty system,
constitute an encouraging factor for the implementation of the Covenant.
detailed information given orally by the delegation on the situation
of minorities in Cameroon is indicative of the positive approach
of the country's authorities to the implementation of article 27
of the Covenant.
D. Principal subjects of concern
Committee regrets the fact that the proclamation of a state of emergency
at the time of the events that took place in the country's Nord-Ouest
province in 1992 was not notified in the correct manner to the Secretary-General
of the United Nations in accordance with the requirements of article
4 of the Covenant.
Committee deplores that the State party has not embarked on all
the necessary reforms to combat the factors still impeding equality
of men and women.
Committee is concerned that, in spite of a recent reduction, the
number of offences punishable by the death penalty in the Criminal
Code is still excessive, in particular aggravated theft or traffic
in toxic or dangerous wastes, and at the number of death sentences
handed down by the courts.
deplores the infringements of the right to life by representatives
of the security forces, the Army and even paramilitary groups in
respect of civilians, not only during the events of 1992 but also
in March 1993 and, more recently, in March 1994.
Committee deplores the multiple cases of torture, ill-treatment,
extrajudicial execution and illegal detention, suffered in particular
by journalists and political opponents. Torture and ill-treatment
seem to be practised systematically by the security forces, and
on several occasions their brutality, has caused the death of the
also deplores the fact that such brutality is practised in prisons,
as well as non-respect for the provisions of article 10 of the Covenant
in detention centres where men and women, convicted and unconvicted
prisoners, adult and juvenile offenders are held in the same, generally
Committee notes that freedom of expression is not guaranteed, owing
to the requirement of prior deposit of all publications, censorship
and the control exercised by the authorities over the press, radio
Committee questions the independence of the judiciary; in particular,
the composition of the Supreme Council of Justice does not seem
such as to guarantee respect for this principle.
Committee expresses its regret at the difficulties encountered by
workers in exercising freely and peacefully their rights under articles
21 and 22 of the Covenant.
Committee is concerned about the conditions in which the presidential
elections of 11 October 1992 were held, and, in particular, it expresses
its concern at the numerous allegations of fraud made during the
E. Suggestions and recommendations
Committee recommends that the Cameroonian authorities avail themselves
of the constitutional reform to incorporate in the national legal
system all the rights guaranteed by the Covenant, and that each
article of the draft be systematically checked against the provisions
of the Covenant.
should be taken to organize free, equitable and transparent elections.
Committee invites the Government to disseminate the Covenant by
culturally appropriate means, so that everyone has a knowledge of
his rights, whatever his place of residence and his situation in
Committee urges the authorities of Cameroon to revise the Criminal
Code with a view to restricting the number of offences carrying
the death penalty.
Committee strongly recommends that the Government take all necessary
measures to prevent summary executions, torture, ill-treatment and
illegal detention, that all such cases be investigated in order
to bring those suspected of having committed such acts before the
courts, that those found guilty be punished and that the victims
Committee invites the Cameroonian authorities to modify their legislation
applicable to administrative detention so as to make it limited
in time and subject to appeal in accordance with article 9, paragraph
4, of the Covenant. The Committee urges that the Cameroonian authorities
require law enforcement officers to have a strict respect for the
provisions of article 9 of the Covenant, in order to put an end
to arbitrary or illegal detention, by organizing specific training
for them if necessary.
Committee invites the Cameroonian authorities to adopt as a matter
of urgency the measures necessary to ensure that in prisons and
detention centres all the provisions of article 10 of the Covenant
are fully respected.
should be taken, if necessary in the form of a constitutional reform,
to guarantee the independence and impartiality of the judiciary,
in accordance with article 14, paragraph 1, of the Covenant.
Committee invites the Government to improve the situation of women
with a view to achieving the effective application of article 3
of the Covenant, in particular by adopting the necessary educational
and other measures to overcome the weight of certain customs and
traditions and by proceeding as soon as possible with its plan to
amend the Family Code.
Committee recommends that the Cameroonian authorities remove censorship
once and for all and amend the Act of 19 December 1990 with a view
to ensuring its conformity with article 19 of the Covenant.