In order to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights in Cameroon, bill (No 1055/PJL/AN) relating to the establishment, organisation and functioning of the Cameroon Human Rights Commission has been tabled in plenary and defended before the Committee on Constitutional Laws at the National Assembly by the Minister Delegate at the Ministry of Justice Jean de Dieu Momo. Abbreviated “the Commission,” the Minister Delegate presented the major changes the reformed structure will witness given it is a modification to the existing National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms. Deliberations before the Committee took place in the presence of the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Relations with the Assemblies, Bolvine Wakata.
Going by the explanations of Minister Jean de Dieu Momo, the Commission shall be an independent institution for consultation, monitoring, evaluation, dialogue, conciliation and deliberation in the promotion and protection of human rights and shall also serve as a National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture (NMPT) in all places of detention. The duties of the Commission in the promotion of human rights shall include amongst others raising public awareness on various human rights topics including gender issues and the rights of vulnerable groups, popularising human rights legal instruments, improving cooperation ties in the human rights domain and advocating for the improvement of legal and institutional frameworks for human rights. As concerns the protection of human rights, the Commission shall handle petitions and denunciations of alleged human rights violations, monitor the human rights situation in the country and provide human rights advice and guidance as the need arises.
As a mechanism for the prevention of torture, the Commission, the Minister Delegate said, will carry out regular visits to all places of detention, participate in monitoring the implementation of observations made by the United Nations Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, and initiate constructive dialogue with authorities in charge of the administration and management of places of detention. The Commission as per its composition shall comprise 15 members including a Chairperson and a Vice-Chairperson with the Commissioners being chosen amongst Cameroonian personalities with a reputation of integrity, intellectual honesty and a good mastery of human rights issues. Minister Jean de Dieu Momo said the intention of the bill is to improve the human rights culture in Cameroon and prevent