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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAUSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES AND POLITICAL REPRESSION IN CAMEROON

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AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAUSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES AND POLITICAL REPRESSION IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Situated in the region of Central Africa, Cameroon has endured a prolonged period of human rights abuses and political persecution spanning many decades. The nation's intricate socio-political environment, historical inheritances, and present-day obstacles have fostered an environment conducive to the continuation of human rights violations and political repression. The primary objective of this research is to examine the many complex elements that contribute to the prevailing human rights challenges and political oppression in Cameroon (Landman, 2016). In order to comprehend the current state of human rights and political oppression in Cameroon, it is essential to delve into its historical backdrop. The permanent sociocultural fabric of Cameroon has been shaped by its colonial history under German, British, and French domination, as well as its subsequent independence in 1960 and subsequent reunification in 1961. The enduring impact of colonialism, characterised by the establishment of arbitrary boundaries, ethnic fragmentation, and power disparities, has contributed to the escalation of tensions and grievances, so establishing a foundation for political instability and violations of human rights. The political environment of Cameroon is distinguished by a mostly centralised power structure, whereby the governing party, the Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM), and its leader, President Paul Biya, have held power since 1982 (Ozoigbo, 2017). The absence of substantial political plurality, inadequate institutional structures, and a prevailing culture of impunity have contributed to the facilitation of the repression of dissent and those expressing opposition. The electoral process, often characterised by anomalies and accusations of fraudulent activities, has exacerbated the erosion of democratic ideals and diminished public confidence in the political system. The ethnic and geographical composition of Cameroon, which encompasses more than 250 distinct ethnic groups, has resulted in societal fragmentation and the emergence of rivalry for resources and political representation. The Anglophone areas of Northwest and Southwest Cameroon are home to marginalised populations that have longstanding concerns over perceived political and economic marginalisation by the central government, which is mostly Francophone (Andzogo, 2022). The government's assertive reaction to nonviolent demonstrations and demands for more self-governance or independence in certain areas has heightened tensions and resulted in extensive violations of human rights. Furthermore, the presence of socio-economic inequities, which have been intensified by inconsistent development plans and widespread corruption, has further worsened social inequalities and fostered feelings of animosity among marginalised populations. Elevated levels of poverty, unemployment, and insufficient availability of fundamental services have intensified dissatisfaction and played a role in societal turmoil (Awasom, 2020). The inability of the government to effectively address the fundamental socio-economic issues has resulted in the perpetuation of a cycle characterised by instability and repression. The international community's approach to Cameroon's human rights status and political repression has been impacted by its strategic significance, both regionally and globally. The Cameroonian government's activities are subject to inconsistent or muted criticism from foreign powers, such as former colonial rulers and significant funders, who often strive to strike a compromise between their strategic interests and concerns over human rights violations (Bajaj, 2015). Moreover, the interplay of regional factors, such as the counterterrorism activities in the Lake Chad Basin and Cameroon's involvement in peacekeeping endeavours, has influenced the level of foreign involvement with the nation. The underlying factors contributing to human rights concerns and political oppression in Cameroon are complex and firmly rooted in its historical, political, socio-economic, and international circumstances. The resolution of these intricate difficulties necessitates the implementation of a comprehensive strategy that effectively addresses systemic concerns, fosters inclusive government, and defends the principles of human rights and the rule of law. The achievement of durable solutions to promote peace, stability, and respect for human dignity in Cameroon necessitates the collaborative endeavours of the Cameroonian government, civil society, and the international community (Bang & Balgah, 2022). Therefore, the researcher sought to investigate into the cause of human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Cameroon won independence from France and the United Kingdom in 1960 and 1961 respectively, starting on a road towards self-governance. However, the post-colonial era has been defined by periods of authoritarian government, ethnic conflicts, and civil unrest (Banks, 2016). The nation is characterized by a diverse ethnic mosaic, with Anglophone and Francophone communities coexisting, albeit not necessarily peacefully. This language and cultural difference has contributed greatly to the political turbulence and human rights abuses experienced in the nation(Branch and Mampilly, 2015). The topic at hand centres on the persistent occurrence of human rights abuses and political repression in Cameroon, which continue to erode the fabric of the society and obstruct its progress towards democracy and development(Radina, 2016). Despite attempts by the government and international community to resolve these concerns, they continue, raising questions about the basic reasons and underlying processes fuelling such transgressions. Hence, the study will  investigate into the cause of human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the study

The broad objective of the study is to investigate into the cause of human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon. The specific objectives is as follows

Investigate the factors contributing to human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon.

Evaluate the impact of government policies on human rights violations and political repression in Cameroon.

Explore the relationship between different political institutions and power structures that perpetuate human rights abuses and political repression in Cameroon.

Propose strategies aimed at  mitigating human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

What are the factors contributing to human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon?

What is the impact of government policies on human rights violations and political repression in Cameroon?

Is there a relationship between different political institutions and power structures that perpetuate human rights abuses and political repression in Cameroon?

What are the strategies aimed at  mitigating human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon?

1.5 Significance of the study

The study will be significant to the following

Government: Understanding the root causes of human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon is crucial for the development of targeted interventions aimed at promoting peace, stability, and respect for fundamental rights. By shedding light on these underlying factors, this research seeks to inform policymakers, civil society organizations, and international stakeholders about the complexities of the situation in Cameroon, thus facilitating more effective strategies for addressing these pressing issues.

Academia: the findings of the study will be of benefit to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on investigating into the cause of human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon.  Empirically, the study will investigate the factors contributing to human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon, evaluate the impact of government policies on human rights violations and political repression in Cameroon, explore the relationship between different political institutions and power structures that perpetuate human rights abuses and political repression in Cameroon and propose strategies aimed at  mitigating human rights issues and political repression in Cameroon.

1.7 Research Methodology

Research methodology deals with the different ways or methods the researcher applied in order to carry out the research as well as the instrument used for gathering the data. There are several research methodologies appropriate for answering the research questions. The type of research methodology used in this research to gather data and relevant information is the historical research and the study will adopt descriptive method of data collection. This will involve the collection of materials from secondary sources, such as books, journal articles, magazines, internet sources, international and national conference proceedings, published and unpublished articles..

1.8 Limitation of the study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.

1.9 Definition of terms

Human rights : rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status

Political repression: the act of a state entity controlling a citizenry by force for political reasons, particularly for the purpose of restricting or preventing the citizenry's ability to take part in the political life of a society, thereby reducing their standing among their fellow citizens


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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