UPR submission Cameroon
On 5 April 2023, Lawyers for Lawyers submitted a report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Cameroon. The next UPR of Cameroon will take place in November 2023.
The UPR report highlights issues regarding Cameroon’s compliance with its international human rights obligations to ensure that lawyers can function effectively without harassment or hindrance, as outlined in the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers and other instruments.
The report highlights the harassment of lawyers. They have faced intimidation and harassment for their work on cases involving the protection of minority groups in Cameroon, such as ‘Amazonian Nationalists’ or ‘Separatists’ in the Anglophone parts of the country. This harassment has taken the form of threats (including death threats) as well as verbal and physical assault. Attacks against human rights defenders have intensified in recent years, particularly since the beginning of the socio-political crisis in the Anglophone regions, which has led to serious human rights violations.
Another concern that the report discusses is that Cameroon passed an Anti-Terrorism Law (Bill 2014/028) which lays out new grounds for implementing the death penalty and the jurisdiction of military tribunals over civilians. L4L has received reports of misuse of this law, specifically concerning the arbitrary detention and trial of lawyers in military tribunals.
Lastly, lawyers in Cameroon who defend human rights cases are often subject to harassment and intimidation based on their expressed views. It has been reported that on a number of occasions, lawyers in Cameroon face repercussions for choosing to represent clients from minority groups, such as the Anglophones, and expressing themselves about their rights. The lawyers are sometimes also identified with their clients’ causes and threatened as a result. L4L has received information about this type of harassment, particularly in the cases of lawyers defending people connected to the “Anglophone crisis” and LGBTQ+ individuals.
In light of these serious concerns regarding the situation of lawyers in Cameroon, Lawyers for Lawyers has made multiple recommendations to the Cameroonian governement.
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