ACHPR 64 | Cameroon must collaborate with regional mechanisms to guarantee the protection of human rights


On 26 April 2019 the organisations present at the 64th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Commission) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt shared their concerns with the delegation of Cameroon through an open letter about the alarming human rights situation in the country and the need for Cameroon to do its best to protect the populations.  

On 26 April, the open letter was also shared with other State parties and delegates present at the ordinary session of the African Commission. The said letter gives an overview of the current human rights situation in Cameroon. It emphasises the lack of political will to adequately respond to the gross and systematic violations of human rights in the country's far North, North and South-West regions. On the basis of the response of Cameroon to a press release published on 6 March 2019 by Pr. Rémy Ngoy Lumbu, the African Commission's country rapporteur for Cameroon, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and Focal Point on Reprisals in Africa, the letter also criticises the intimidating and repressive tone used by the Cameroonian government towards the Commission.

In spite of all the recommendations of national, regional and international organisations for a better protection of human rights in the country, the security and human rights situation has led to the proliferation of armed groups causing a massive flow of refugees and internally displaced persons. This includes human rights defenders and journalists fleeing violence to seek refuge in neighbouring countries and other parts of Cameroon. These armed groups based in the far North, South West and North West regions are gaining ground by committing abuses against civilians, religious, traditional and administrative authorities.

The letter goes on to highlight important concerns in relation to the current situation. ‘We are deeply concerned by the upsurge in sexual violence against women and underage girls and other numerous violations that could constitute crimes against humanity.’

In response to this open letter, the government of Cameroon has to this effect shared with all the participants its misunderstanding of the content of the letter of protest. In fact, it calls on the African Commission to condemn the pernicious and unprecedented accusations of the letter and to engage the responsibility of its authors.  

Contact: Adélaïde Etong Kame, Africa Advocacy Consultant,

Photo: ACDHRS/ John Gbenagnon


  • Africa
  • Human rights defenders
  • Reprisals and intimidation
  • African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
  • Cameroon