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INVESTIGATION INTO THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND POLITICAL REPRESSION IN CAMEROON

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INVESTIGATION INTO THE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND POLITICAL REPRESSION IN CAMEROON

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Following World War I, Cameroon, which was previously under German rule, was partitioned between British and French-administered regions, with the French obtaining authority over the greater portion. The French-administered part obtained independence in 1960, while the British-administered portion achieved independence in 1961. This led to the establishment of the Federal Republic of Cameroon (Branch and Mampilly, 2015). Nevertheless, the first years of independence were characterised by political instability and internal disputes. The era of President Ahmadou Ahidjo's authoritarian administration from 1960 to 1982, followed by the continued leadership of his successor, Paul Biya since 1982, was characterised by a concentration of power and restricted political liberties. Cameroon, situated in Central Africa, has had a tumultuous past marked by a series of human rights abuses and political oppression. Comprehending the intricate dynamics inside the country requires a key understanding of the history of these challenges (Rhoads and Jennifer, 2019). This background research seeks to provide a comprehensive examination of the historical, political, and social circumstances that have played a role in the ongoing difficulties of human rights violations and political oppression in Cameroon. Cameroon has suffered from a dearth of political plurality and competitive elections throughout President Paul Biya's extended tenure. The Cameroon People's Democratic Movement (CPDM) has had a dominant influence, suppressing opposing voices and marginalising alternative viewpoints (Yomi, 2017). The political sphere is marked by a dearth of openness, pervasive corruption, and restricted means for holding individuals accountable, hence intensifying instances of human rights violations and oppression. Human rights violations in Cameroon cover a broad spectrum of abuses, such as unlawful murders, torture, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, and limitations on freedom of speech, association, and assembly. The Anglophone community in the Northwest and Southwest areas, as a minority group, has been disproportionately subjected to prejudice and violence (Radina, 2016). The government's authoritarian reaction to demonstrations and dissent has resulted in extensive censure from international human rights organisations and the global community. Cameroon's internal dynamics are also influenced by the geopolitical setting of Central Africa (Andzogo, 2022). The nation is geographically next to Nigeria, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of the Congo. Cameroon's security difficulties have become more complex due to cross-border wars, refugee flows, and regional instability. These factors frequently provide the government an excuse to enforce oppressive measures in the name of national security..  Therefore, the researcher sought to investigate the human rights violations and political repression in Cameroon.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Cameroon has seen ongoing allegations of human rights crimes and political persecution in recent years, which has caused considerable alarm among foreign observers and human rights organisations. Although the constitution guarantees essential freedoms and rights to its inhabitants, there are many occurrences that indicate a consistent pattern of abuse and oppression by state authorities. This undermines democratic ideals and puts the welfare of the population at risk (Awasom, 2020).

The issue at hand is the widespread occurrence of human rights abuses and political oppression within the socio-political environment of Cameroon. The deliberate violation of fundamental human rights, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and association, not only undermines the intrinsic worth of people but also hinders the democratic procedures necessary for the progress and stability of the nation (Bajaj, 2015). To tackle these problems, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the fundamental elements that contribute to human rights violations and political oppression in Cameroon. An analysis of the legal framework, institutional procedures, socio-economic inequities, and historical settings is required to understand the ongoing perpetuation of these transgressions (Bang, H. N., & Balgah, 2022). Moreover, it is essential to develop efficient tactics to enhance the recognition of human rights, reinforce systems of responsibility, and cultivate inclusive government that safeguards the dignity and entitlements of all individuals in Cameroon (Banks, 2016). The research seeks to explore the various aspects of human rights abuses and political oppression in Cameroon. Its goal is to suggest practical solutions to protect basic freedoms, ensure accountability, and promote democratic governance for the overall well-being of the Cameroonian population. Hence, the study will investigate the human rights violations and political repression in Cameroon.

1.3 Objective of the study

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

To investigate the the prevalent forms of human rights violations in Cameroon.

To analyze the socio-political factors contributing to human rights violations in Cameroon.

To assess the efficacy of existing legal and institutional mechanisms in addressing human rights violations in Cameroon.

1.4 Research questions

The following questions have been prepared to guide the study

What are the prevalent forms of human rights violations in Cameroon?

What socio-political factors contribute to the perpetuation of human rights violations in Cameroon?

How effective are the legal and institutional mechanisms in Cameroon in preventing, investigating, and prosecuting human rights violations?

1.5 Significance of the study

The findings of the study will be significant to the following;

Public Awareness and Advocacy: By raising awareness about human rights violations and political repression in Cameroon, research can mobilize public opinion and advocacy efforts both domestically and internationally. This can empower civil society organizations, activists, and concerned citizens to push for policy changes and reforms aimed at protecting human rights and promoting democracy.

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

1.6 Scope of the study

The study focuses on the human rights violations and political repression in Cameroon. Empirically, the study will investigate the the prevalent forms of human rights violations in cameroon, analyze the socio-political factors contributing to human rights violations and assess the efficacy of existing legal and institutional mechanisms in addressing human rights violations.

1.7 Limitations 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 and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. 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.

1.8 Definition of terms

Human Rights Violations: When those rights aren't protected or blatantly disregarded

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.


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