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The need for institutional and political means to estop the precarious tampering with Constitutions of African states, by Chofor Che


CACLiTA Cameroon

The revision or modification of state constitutions is important especially if of utmost necessity to the betterment of the state, but there has been a precarious tampering of the fundamental provisions of constitutions in Africa. The case of Burkina Faso which has been plunged into political turmoil, to the recent case of Togo, are glaring examples. Interestingly, constitutional provisions related to the term of office of Heads of state have been modified so as to extend the term of office of these leaders in power. Is it that there are no legal and institutional measures in place to prevent these leaders and their regimes from manipulating fundamental provisions of state constitutions? Are there no political parameters that can be put in place so as to prevent these leaders from manipulating fundamental provisions of state constitutions?

In most African State Constitutions like the Constitutions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon…

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Posted by on October 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Attempts at constitutional reform in The Gambia: Whither the Draft Constitution? — AfricLaw


Author: Satang Nabaneh Post-doctoral Fellow, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria The Gambia’s constitution-drafting process, aimed at ushering in a third Republic, has reached an unfortunate dead-end. More than two years after the constitutional review process began, and after a highly acrimonious and polarised debate in the National Assembly, Parliament, one week ago (on […]

Attempts at constitutional reform in The Gambia: Whither the Draft Constitution? — AfricLaw
 
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Posted by on October 26, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Adolescent girls and young women have a right to know: Accessing information on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the wake of COVID-19 — AfricLaw


Author: Kerigo Odada Human Rights Lawyer; LLM (Sexual & Reproductive Rights in Africa) student, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria For many adolescent girls and young women around the world, adolescence marks not only the commencement of puberty, but also a time where statistically, the risk of facing human rights abuses such as sexual […]

Adolescent girls and young women have a right to know: Accessing information on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the wake of COVID-19 — AfricLaw
 
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Posted by on October 22, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Coronavirus In Minnesota: Cameroon Taps Burnsville Man To Develop Online COVID-19 Marketplace — WCCO | CBS Minnesota


A Burnsville man is playing a crucial role in his home country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus In Minnesota: Cameroon Taps Burnsville Man To Develop Online COVID-19 Marketplace — WCCO | CBS Minnesota
 
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Posted by on October 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Will strengthening Anti-Trafficking in Persons (TIPs) policies in Cameroon help curb trafficking in children? By Mrs. Sirri Caroline Nfornah, Public Relations Officer, CACLiTA, 15 October 2020



Listening to children tell harrowing stories of their journey from their home to their place of employment with many complaining of bad working conditions and being deprived of food once they arrive is enough to make someone shed tears. Human trafficking is an issue that has long been witnessing an increasing trend, not only in Cameroon but the world over.


In the past couple of decades, human trafficking particularly in women and children has emerged as a worldwide social problem touching every nation in the world regardless of its past, laws, financial status and/or religious beliefs and addressing it is part of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Agenda. The 2018 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons shows that this problem is on the rise and taking “horrific dimensions” with sexual exploitation of victims being the main driver. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that children account for roughly 30% of those being trafficked, and far more girls are detected than boys. Women and girls make up almost three-quarters of trafficked persons for sexual exploitation, and 35% for forced labour according to the UN. Many victims are migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers who have fled or are fleeing their countries of origin for diverse reasons: conflict, persecution, natural disaster, or extreme poverty.
This social ill has been exacerbated by globalization and has become one of the principal illegal businesses in the world. This is because unlike drugs which can only be sold once, human beings can be sold repeatedly generating enormous revenue for traffickers. Most often overlapping, it is characterized by an exploitative basis and presents itself in different dimensions: sexual and labour exploitation, organ removal or domestic servitude. The United States (US) Department of State posits that TIPs deprives millions of persons worldwide of their dignity and freedom, undermines national security, distorts markets, and enriches transnational criminals and terrorists, and is basically an affront to our universal values.


Reports over the past five years indicate that Cameroon is a source, transit, and destination country for women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking and a source country for men in forced labour, though the Government adopted Law No. 2011/024 relating to the Fight against Trafficking in Persons and Slavery and, Act No. 2005/015 representing anti-trafficking legislation in the country. According to a 2016 report by the Yaoundé-based Interpol Office for Central Africa, thousands of children, alongside men and women, have been forcibly abducted in Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic and other countries in the sub region to be enlisted as Boko Haram fighters in the North of Cameroon, guards, sex partners, servants and spies. Intermediaries lure victims mostly teenagers from poor rural areas by convincing their parents with promises of education or a better life in the city, who are then exploited in sex trafficking or forced labour within or out of the country.


The US Department of State’s 2018 Report on Trafficking in Persons states that the practice is encouraged by gender inequality, armed conflicts, poverty, migration (motivated by the search for jobs/opportunities), the rising demand for cheap workforce and for commercial sex. The present socio-political context in the country characterized by attacks in the far North of the country by the terrorist group Boko Haram terrorists, armed groups from the Central African Republic coupled with the ongoing conflict in the two Anglophone regions of the country are situations that leave children more vulnerable and at the mercy of traffickers. Children from neighboring countries are exploited in spare parts shops or by herders in northern Cameroon and transit Cameroon en route to Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. The report ranks Cameroon on Tier 2 Watchlist stating that the “government of Cameroon does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” but has demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting periods.


This writeup observes that the absence of a Child Protection Code and/or national policy on child trafficking coupled with the laxity in implementing existing anti-trafficking legislation (both national and international), poverty, the lack of awareness and comprehensive, complete and reliable data, and the absence of overall protective systems have underscored efforts made in combating the practice. The situation is further aggravated by the inefficient and corrupt nature of the police and judiciary. Moreover, measures undertaken by the government to ensure thorough investigations and effective prosecutions in order to bring the perpetrators to justice have been insufficient given the subtle nature of the trafficking business. In addition, the Regional Anti-trafficking Taskforces and the Inter-ministerial Anti-trafficking Committee are severely hampered by the lack of funding and other resources to effectively fulfill their mandates according to the 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report by the U.S Embassy Yaoundé.

Combatting TIPs does not only mean indicting traffickers. It is rather a multifaceted challenge that puts victims at the epicenter of all action. In order to make the most of the efforts done to reduce trafficking in persons especially children in Cameroon, measures employed need to be approached from all angles, implicating all stakeholders: ministries, inter-ministerial teams, international/inter-governmental partners, NGOs and the general public. Dealing with TIPs in Cameroon also requires a firmer reaction through institutional reforms and political will to remedy the deeper problems of which TIPs is the symptom.

One of the crucial challenges in addressing TIPs in Cameroon lies in bringing all stakeholders on the same table. For this purpose, the government should establish a permanent, inclusive, and independent national commission to manage the process given that the Inter-ministerial Anti-Trafficking Committee does not involve all concerned stakeholders and has not been able to execute its mandate properly due to financial constraints. The above reform can be made through the creation of an autonomous institution composed of a cross section of stakeholders (researchers, policy makers, government officials, experts, NGOs etc.) charged with combating human trafficking (inclusive of child trafficking) in the country. This institution will have the role to:

  • Identify and create partnerships with donor agencies and not depend only on government funding for its activities and research in the field;
  • Identify and coordinate all counter-trafficking programs and activities of all stakeholders engaged in fighting against child trafficking;
  • Ensure training of dedicated practitioners who will be well armed technically to detect and assist victims thereby guaranteeing that the interests/welfare of the children are protected;
  • Ensure that laws and national policies and action plans adopted are implemented and/or enforced so that traffickers can be duly prosecuted and sanctioned;
  • Monitor and evaluate actions carried out on the subject and make recommendations for further action;
  • Strengthen national data collection and analysis systems by frequently carrying out R&D and field studies to identify victims so as to provide accurate and up-to-date data on victims; In this vein, it is also important to extend the mandate of the Regional Anti-trafficking Task Forces to include collecting comprehensive anti-trafficking data for more reliable and complete statistics on law enforcement and victim identification efforts;
  • Continuously ensure that awareness raising campaigns are carried out to enable the population to understand the ills of trafficking children.
    To address the urgent need to strengthen TIPs measures in the sub region in general, it is important to develop and adopt a holistic, multidimensional and inclusive Anti-Trafficking Regional Approach for Central Africa which will deliver a strategic framework for all concerned stakeholders including external partners like the UN organisations in the region by highlighting a set of priorities and operational responses in the long run. At the same time, this approach will offer sufficient flexibility to adapt to the specific needs of every State in the sub-region through projects and programmes.
    In the long term, reducing the vulnerability of children to exploitative patterns merits a change in public awareness as this will deter traffickers and reduce the number of persons who are left vulnerable to the practice. Extensively involving non-governmental organizations that are active in awareness-raising through public debate, training materials, assisting victims to escape their trafficking location, providing temporary shelter, and other care and re-integration services to survivors is thus important.
    Finally, but not the least, there is also the need for economic reforms to reduce urban/rural polarization and inequality with the aim of improving the delivery of public goods and services to all citizens. The policies to be adopted and implemented include essentially setting up economic projects to accelerate and revitalize development in mostly rural areas: basic infrastructures, education, health etc.
    Despite adopting and ratifying both national and international laws to combat child trafficking, the practice is still a huge challenge for the country validating the argument that human trafficking policies in Cameroon need to be re-adjusted to also encompass children’s welfare and protection. Moreover, given that the current legislation on trafficking in persons in Cameroon covers all forms of trafficking indicated in the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol, any action plan must take the direction towards full implementation of obligations undertaken by Cameroon within the scope of the Protocol.

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Posted by on October 15, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Covid-19 and Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG): Policy Responses for Cameroon by Sirri Caroline Nfornah, Public Relations Officer, CACLiTA,7 October 2020



Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is both a universal issue and a prevalent human rights violation affecting all areas of society regardless of wealth or social status with huge impact on victims/survivors and communities as a whole. Both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations (UN) underscore that globally about 243 million women and girls have been subjected to intimate partner violence is a common form of violence and that even during times of relative calm, about “18% of girls aged 15 to 49 years who have ever been in a relationship have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months”.


The COVID-19 pandemic constitutes an unprecedented challenge to gender equality actions engaged in by many countries around the world in general and Cameroon in particular. According to UN Women, emerging data indicates that VAWG, especially domestic violence, has been on the rise globally since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Countries such as France have witnessed an increase by 30% in reports of domestic violence while Cyprus and Singapore have registered an increase in helpline calls by 30% and 33% respectively. The UNFPA further indicates that in a survey carried out in Cameroon, 62% of respondents indicated that COVID-19 poses an increased risk of VAWG with the main risks being domestic violence and sex for survival.

The impact of VAWG during this COVID-19 pandemic period is substantial. The disruption of income-generating activities; the closure of schools; confinement to places with limited privacy have exposed women and girls to violence including sexual and cyber exploitation, rape and exploitation and abuse of children especially girls through harmful practices such as Child, Early and Forced Marriages (CEFM). Staying indoors has increased the vulnerability of women and girls who increasingly find themselves isolated from people and resources that could help them. Access to help and essential services also remains limited due to movement restrictions. UN Women estimates that the global cost of violence against women and girls stands at US$1.5 trillion.


While the widespread measures employed by governments around the world to curb the spread of the virus has had considerable effect, it has also exacerbated women and girls’ vulnerabilities to different forms of violence. Restrictions on movements and closure of businesses and industries has increased financial strain, particularly on vulnerable persons. Given that most women work in the informal sector, they are less protected from economic downturn in times of crisis especially as they are faced with numerous challenges including: lower-pay, part-time conditions, little or no income security or social protection (health insurance). Loss of livelihood due to job losses leads to vulnerability, exploitation, and abuse as well. This also has an impact on women and girls’ vulnerabilities to mental health issues due to the combination of VAWG trauma and the confinement measures in place.


The prevailing socio-economic disparities places most vulnerable women and girls at an even higher risk of violence. In line with this assertion, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA )Regional Director for West and Central Africa Mabingue Ngom states that: “GBV and gender rapid assessments conducted in West and Central Africa showed strong correlation between COVID-19 and the increased socio-economic vulnerability of women and girls, especially in societies with weak and informal economies.” It will thus not be surprising to witness an escalation of VAWG post COVID-19 as unemployment, financial strains, and insecurity increase. The capacity by organisations advocating for policy reforms on VAWG for service provision in the long run will be impacted as COVID-19 has had a financial strain on most economies in the world.


Having looked at the impact of VAWG during this pandemic period, it is important to shed more light on what is being done to curb its rise. Some governments and civil society organisations have been working to provide responses to the rise in this shadow pandemic. For example, in Canada, domestic violence shelter remained open during the lockdown; in France, alternative accommodation is being provided for domestic violence survivors by hotels when shelters exceed capacity. While in China the hashtag #AntiDomesticViolenceDuringEpidemic with links to online resources was adopted to advocate against by helping to break the silence and exposing violence as a risk during this period, in South Africa, accelerating support for community-level service delivery for victims/survivors especially on women in the informal economy, as well as young girls and women affected by HIV and AIDS. Countries like Australia, France and the UK have allocated supplementary funds to help women undergoing violence and to service providers.


Notwithstanding, there are many challenges faced during implementation of these responses. The Commonwealth has highlighted main challenges that are faced in relation to curbing the rise of VAWG during this COVID-19 pandemic namely: access to data which is important in understanding how COVID-19 impacts women and help to identify specific risk factors (causes, forms and types of violence affecting women and girls, who the perpetrators are, where it happens etc.); increase in the prevalence and forms of violence; limited access to justice especially with the advent of the very necessary public health measures; and the lack of service provision because most governments were forced to redirect resources to address the immediate health and economic consequences posed by the pandemic.


Given that Cameroon is not spared from this current pandemic, there is the need for urgent action to reduce women’s and girls’ vulnerability to violence in the country. How then can Cameroon address this growing and challenging issue?
Apart from increasing supplementary funding to issues dealing with VAWG, it is also important that the government of Cameroon and all other stakeholders adopt a gender- sensitive and responsive strategy in dealing with the fall-out of the COVID-19 crisis. This includes:


• Establishing COVID-19 data-tracking mechanisms which consider incidences of VAWG implement contact-tracing initiatives which can allow women and girls to report incidences of VAWG;
• Prioritizing VAWG “One-Stop Centres” as essential services which allows victims/survivors to benefit from psychological support in addition to socio-economic assistance and by linking survivors of VAWG to these specialized services;
• Including women in decision-making to ensure that valid gender concerns are adequately captured;
• Mainstreaming VAWG services in medical and other health related services to treat COVID-19 through training/orientation to COVID-19 service providers on VAWG, Child Marriage, caring for child survivors and also on VAWG data collection;
• Intensifying media based VAWG sensitization campaigns through community radio or TV stations especially those with good coverage;
• Increasing women and girls access to technology and full connectivity to increase online advocacy by helping to break the silence and exposing violence.


In conclusion, though it may be difficult to ascertain the extent to which women and girls are under greater risk during this pandemic period, it is important that the government of Cameroon draws lessons from other health emergency situations like Ebola pandemic whereby evidence suggests that women and girls are particularly vulnerable to violence. This will also be some sort of preparedness strategy for future emergencies.
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Posted by on October 7, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

A Proposed Way forward for the Anglophone Crisis — cecilendam


Introduction The ongoing Anglophone crisis is a resurgence of the controversies, resistance, and opposition as to the legality of the independence of South Cameroons by joining “La Republic du Cameroon”, into the independent Federal Republic of Cameroon in 1961. The 2016 crisis was incited by neglect and underestimation of the peaceful protests of lawyers and […]

A Proposed Way forward for the Anglophone Crisis — cecilendam
 
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Posted by on October 1, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Cameroon: Government Action – Management of Public Funds Explained — Main News


The Supreme State Audit Office in a conference during the ongoing 9th edition of the Fair on Government Action in Yaounde on September 23, 2020 stated its mission. Participants in the ongoing 9th Edition of the Fair on Government Action (SAGO 2020) better understand the mission of the Supreme State Audit Office (CONSUPE) in the […]

Cameroon: Government Action – Management of Public Funds Explained — Main News
 
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Posted by on September 25, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Cameroon: Decentralisation and Local Development – Nasla Now Takes Flesh — Main News


The titular Minister, Georges Elanga Obam, commissioned top authorities of the Institution last Friday in Buea amidst a host of anxious observers. Ten members of the Board of Directors, Mr. Mouthar Ousmane (Chairman), Mr. Tanyitiku Enohachuo Bayee (Director General) and Mrs. Ongolo Nyanguinda Lidwine (Deputy Director General) of the new National School of Local Administration […]

Cameroon: Decentralisation and Local Development – Nasla Now Takes Flesh — Main News
 
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Posted by on September 25, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

The ‘forgotten tribe’: Persons with disabilities in Ethiopia and the State’s response to COVID-19 — AfricLaw


Author: Dagnachew B. Wakene Institute for International and Comparative Law (ICLA), Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria A person with visual impairment residing in Dire Dawa – Ethiopia’s second largest city in the Eastern part of the country – was recently reported to have set himself on fire in broad daylight and in public, apparently […]

The ‘forgotten tribe’: Persons with disabilities in Ethiopia and the State’s response to COVID-19 — AfricLaw
 
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Posted by on September 25, 2020 in Uncategorized

 
 
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