Annual Report: Cameroon 2010

May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Cameroon 2010

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Head of state Paul Biya
Head of government Philémon Yang (replaced Ephraim Inoni in June)
Death penalty abolitionist in practice
Population 19.5 million
Life expectancy 50.9 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 151/136 per 1,000
Adult literacy 67.9 per cent

Government opponents, journalists and human rights defenders were arrested, detained and tried for offences relating to criticism of the government or its officials. At least one man was detained for alleged same-sex sexual activities. Detention conditions remained harsh and often life-threatening. Members of the security forces implicated in human rights violations in February 2008 continued to enjoy impunity. An unknown number of prisoners were on death row.


In June, President Paul Biya replaced Prime Minister Ephraim Inoni with Philémon Yang in a government reshuffle.

President Biya appointed a new electoral commission to prepare for general elections in 2011. Opposition political parties and civil society organizations called for a reform of the electoral commission known as Election Cameroon (ELECAM). Critics of the government said that the commission was dominated by supporters of the ruling Democratic Rally of the Cameroonian People (Rassemblement démocratique du peuple camérounais, RDPC).

Arrests, detentions and trials continued of former government officials and heads of government-owned companies accused of corruption. In August, the National Anti-Corruption Commission published a report accusing 47 Ministry of Agriculture officials of embezzling funds for maize production. In September, a local NGO, the Citizen Association for the Defence of Collective Interests, lodged a complaint before the High Court against the 47 officials.

Political prisoners

  • The trial of John Fru Ndi, leader of the Social Democratic Front political party, and at least 20 others charged with involvement in the murder of Grégoire Diboulé in 2006, was repeatedly adjourned and did not take place.
  • In June, the Court of Appeal in Douala confirmed the conviction and sentence against musician and political activist Pierre Lambo Sandjo by the High Court in 2008. He was convicted of taking part in the February 2008 riots and sentenced to three years in prison.

Freedom of association

Members of the Anglophone Southern Cameroons National Council (SCNC), a non-violent secessionist group, continued to face arrest and imprisonment.