Statement by civil society on the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) in Cameroon
Presented at the 47th session of ESCR Committee in Geneva, 22 November 2011.
Organizations of civil society, the signatories to this statement, note that Cameroon has significant resources to ensure a better protection and greater respect for ESCR in favor of its citizens. But in fact, the resources invested produce an effect and a very low impact on the lives of the majority of the population. Corruption that plagues the public services and economy-wide limits the efficiency and effectiveness of programs. Add to these factors, the low inclusion of ESCR in budgeting and public policy. In addition, some laws and regulations guaranteeing the ESCR and demanding their justifiability are lacking. In several sectors, the institutions set up to steer public policies have not adapted to changing conditions and demands of modernity. Cultural influences are many and strategies implemented to minimize negative impacts on the promotion of ESCR in particular those of women are mostly of a very low efficiency. With these findings, the signatory organizations of this statement present the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights with the following recommendations for and the State Party and Government of Cameroon.
For implementation of the right of indigenous peoples
1. Promote corporate social responsibility to ensure compliance and protection of ESCR of indigenous people living near major structural projects selected within the GESP;
2. Implement education programs and outreach to promote the participation of local populations in different phases of these programs
For the use of resources in the progressive realization of ESCR
3. Sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR;
4. Take steps to improve access of civil society to information and strengthen citizen control of public policy.
For the implementation of the right to gender equality
5. Develop and adopt a law on social security for all, taking into account the informal sector, domestic and farm workers;
6. Develop and implement eligibility criteria for social housing programs by including measures to facilitate the inclusion of women;
7. Adopt and promulgate the Family Code and the law on violence against women;
8. Make available disaggregated data on such an approach the implementation of ESCR in favor of minorities, ethnic groups, urban and rural populations.
For the implementation of the free choice to work and the protective measures
9. Implement facilities for collective action for local initiatives of solidarity by seeking the help of the specialized agencies of international cooperation;
10. Recognize the legitimacy of informal sector associations self-promoted and involve them in planning operations that impact on their operations.
Regarding the right to fair and favorable working conditions
11. Specify the basis for calculating the minimum wage and revalorize by increasing it to a threshold that would guarantee workers the right to an adequate standard of living and increase the salaries of civil servants at least as it was before the devaluation in 1994;
12. Define the legal status of agricultural and domestic work in accordance with the Convention of 16 June 2011 on domestic workers and promote the organization of workers into unions in these sectors.
Regarding the right to social security
13. Implement the national strategy for social development adopted in 2004 and extend coverage of social security to workers in informal and agricultural sectors;
14. Complete the code in working with specific texts on the rights of disabled workers in the informal sector, domestic workers and agricultural as well as specifications on the operation of their unions;
15. Take steps to facilitate the access of small rural producers to productive resources especially financial, technological and land.
About the implementation of housing rights
16. Passed a law and a national strategy to facilitate the development and operations of unions and cooperative housing projects;
17. Set up a guarantee fund to mortgage, a national office for social housing, a grant of building materials, a housing bank to support housing programs, including those worn by private developers, the cooperatives and mutual housing;
18. Develop and implement national policy on resettlement guaranteeing the rights of victims of the operations of eviction and expropriation of public utilities.
Regarding the right to food
19. Adopt all needed adequate measures to protect small-scale producers and communities against the negative effects of land grabbing and large scale projects on communal land and ensure that land negotiations are participatory and transparent with clear monitoring and complaint mechanisms.
20. Include the right to adequate food, access to land, and other key elements related to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in a specific section of the constitution.
21. Speed up process for the revision of the 1974 land tenure ordinance and take into consideration customary land rights and women`s access to and control of land.
Regarding the implementation of the right to health
22. Implement the national strategy for the promotion and development of mutual health adopted in 2006;
23. Accelerate the adoption of the law on mutuality in order to create an environment for the development of micro-health insurance;
24. Increase the share of budget allocated to health financing, in accordance with WHO recommendations and commitments made by Heads of State and Government at the 2001 summit in Abuja, Nigeria.
Regarding the implementation of the right to education
25. Take steps to minimize the negative impact of parents` associations on the implementation of free primary education and the rising cost of education in secondary education;
26. Bring the education funding by 7% of GDP in 2011 to 10% by 2015.
Done at Geneva, 21 November 2011
Platform ESCR Cameroon
HIC-HLRN and Collectif Inter-africain des Habitant--CIAH /Cameroun
Parallel Report on the Right to Housing and Forced Evictions in Cameroon, 2011 (in French)
Parallel Report on the Right to Housing and Forced Evictions in Cameroon, 2010 (in French)