Overview

Although civic freedoms are technically respected in law, people in Cameroon cannot criticise the authorities or offer alternative opinions to those of the government. While the constitution provides strong guarantees for basic freedoms, other laws, including the penal code, are used to undermine civic space. Human rights activists are regularly arrested, intimidated and threatened, and the offices of civil society organisations are raided, while media brave enough to publish stories critical of the government are routinely suspended or shut down by the national regulator. Civic freedoms are even more restricted in the far north of the country because of the terrorist non-state group Boko Haram, which has carried out several violent attacks on civilians in recent years. An anti-terrorism act was introduced in 2014 as an attempt to combat Boko Haram but, because of vague wording, the law also impedes the peaceful enjoyment of civil liberties in Cameroon.