The Republic of Cameroon is a member of the United Nations and the African Union. It has ratified many UN Human Rights Conventions (compare list on the right) and thus has made binding international commitments to adhere to the standards laid down in these universal human rights documents.
Cameroon is a French- and English-speaking country in Central Western Africa. With an area of 475,442 square km, it is a middle-sized country with a coastline to the Atlantic Ocean. On a global scale, its population density is low. The capital of the country, which became independent on 1 January 1960 from France and on 1 October 1961 from the United Kingdom, is Yaoundé. Cameroon is a member of the regional economic community ECCAS.
With a Human Development Index of 0.52 Cameroon ranks 153rd of 182 countries ranked in the UNDP Human Development Report of 2009. Life expectancy of the 18.9 million inhabitants at birth is 50 years, population growth is 2.0 percent per year. GNI is 1,150 US-$ per capita. External debt is 15.3 percent of gross national income.
In as far as Cameroon has ratified the Optional Protocols for UN Human Rights Conventions or has accepted the Competence of the corresponding UN Treaty Bodies (compare list on the right), the inhabitants of Cameroon and their representatives are able to invoke their human rights through these bodies.
All inhabitants of Cameroon may turn to the UN Human Rights Committee through procedure 1503, to the Special Rapporteurs for violations of specific human rights or to ECOSOC for women's rights violations.
Since Cameroon is a member state of UNESCO, its citizens may use the UNESCO procedure for human rights violations in UNESCO's fields of mandate.
Employers' or workers' and certain other organizations (not individuals) of Cameroon may file complaints through the ILO procedure in the cases of those conventions which Cameroon has ratified.
Since Cameroon is an AU member, its citizens and NGOs may file complaints to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
They may also file complaints according to the EU guidelines (on Human Rights Defenders, Death Penalty and Torture) to Embassies of EU Member States and the Delegations of the European Commission.
In cases of human rights violations by multinational enterprises, they may also invoke the National Contact Point in an OECD member state.
Cameroon has not yet joined the International Criminal Court.