Children’s Protection, State Priority

Government takes concrete actions for the protection and promotion of the human rights of children to enhance a blossom future.

Cynthia Efopa

According to United Nations, every year, thousands of children are killed, maimed, recruited and used as child soldiers, abducted, fall victims of sexual violence and are often denied access to humanitarian assistance. Their basic and fundamental rights to education and health are threatened by attacks on schools and hospitals. While new international networks and legal mechanisms are helping to reduce the sexual exploitation and abuse of children, millions of children continue to be lured, forced and sold into child prostitution, child pornography and child labour every year.

Cognizant of the fact that today’s children hold the key to building the strong, peaceful society of tomorrows Cameroon, the government is leaving no stone unturned to uphold its role of protector by putting in place of varied and multidisciplinary mechanisms that will drive children  towards a better future. This ranges from strategic, judicial to institutional measures.

Cameroon is signatory to a panoply of international, continental, regional and national conventions and accords that seeks to protect the right of children. On the international scene, she is a member of the United Nations and has ratified a battery of protocols aimed at protecting children. In collaboration with partner organizations like UNICEF, Plan International, non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations, the Cameroon government has carried out activities that prohibits the sale of children; criminalize all forms of sexual exploitation, including prostitution and pornography; and ban the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups. She equally signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child -CRC that seeks to protect children.

The Cameroon Penal code and Criminal Procedure code provides special dispensations under which the criminal responsibility of a child is established. Children do not incur full criminal responsibility until age 18 and a minor as young as 10 is subject to special measures provided by law. Government’s effort to develop public institutions so as to prevent juvenile delinquency has improved. The government created the National Action Plan for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in Cameroon aimed at achieving the integration of human rights culture in Cameroon and put in to effect the objectives in the Strategy Document for Growth and Employment whose section on juvenile justice provide points on the promotion and protection of children.

The Ministries of Social Affairs, Women Empowerment and the Family all have specialized programs aimed at ensuring a healthy socialization and integration of children within the society and family. They organize programs during which they gather street children, reeducate and take them back to their respective families.  At the level of basic education, access to government primary schools is free. This is to enable all children have access to primary education.

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