Cameroon: Rights of the Child - Special Measures Against Exploitation Proposed

A bill tabled in Parliament recommends the State adopts exceptional measures in protecting children from all forms of abuse.

In other to shield children from unlawful treatment, bill No 1059/PJL/AN has been tabled in Parliament and it's currently under scrutiny. The bill seeks to authorise the President of the Republic to ratify the optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, on the Sale of children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography. The protocol comprising 17 articles signed by Cameroon in 2001 and entered into force in January 18, 2002, recommends that the government takes special measures to end all forms of child exploitation. Ratifying certain provisions of the said protocol by Cameroon is a commitment made during the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council in September 2018. Although many of its provisions are already reflected in the legislation of Cameroon, with the ratification of the protocol, aspects of the Criminal Procedures Code pertaining to testimony by minors who are victims of offenses, which currently is not covered and which fall under ordinary law would be amended. It serves as a basis and provides further protection to minor victims in criminal proceedings. The protocol institutes a system truly protecting minor victims by reinforcing some aspects of the fight against child pornography on the internet. This includes criminalization of the production, distribution, intentional possession and publicity of child pornography materials. The ratification of this protocol, going by explanatory notes of the tabled bill, will enable Cameroon complete its accession to the entire body of the United Nations Normative Framework for Child Protection to clearly assert its determination to combat child abuse and ensure better protection of the rights of the child. The legal instrument has therefore been tabled in Parliament for scrutiny and subsequent forwarding to the President of the Republic for ratification so that the rights of the child in Cameroon can be well respected.

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