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Cameroon - Universal Periodic Review - Gender-Based Violence

Date: April 5, 2023
Country: Cameroon
Type: Intl Mechanism Submission
Issues: Gender-Based Violence
Mechanism: Universal Periodic Review
Report Type: Stakeholder Report
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The Cameroonian government fails to protect women from acts of violence and abuse.Despite criminalization of such acts within the Penal Code, victims of sexual violence and female genital cutting continue to lack assistance from law enforcement and perpetrators continue to act with impunity. The armed conflict within Cameroon has exacerbated the issues of violence against women, with increased reports of domestic violence.  

Women, especially in rural areas, face significant barriers to healthcare, with little to no access of basic medical care in hard-to-reach areas.The armed conflict has resulted in mass health care facility closures, with those that remain open operating at limited capacity. Women are further limited from accessing health care.Pregnant women lack access to care during pregnancy and delivery, which is a contributing factor to Cameroon's high maternal mortality rateAdditionally, as abortion is outlawed, many women are forced to seek unsafe and/or delayed abortions. 

Despite the Gender Policy Document and National Action Plan to reduce inequality between men and women, discrimination remains widespread and systemic, especially due to articles in the Cameroonian Civil Code and Civil Status Registration that authorize men to exert control over their wife's finances and decision-making. Although the legal age of marriage is 18, forced and early marriage continues to exist due to several exceptions to the Civil Code. 

LBIQ+ (lesbian, bisexual, intersex, queer, and other sexual minority) and transgender women are vulnerable as homosexual conduct is criminalized under the Cameroonian penal code. Cameroonian police forces target and prosecute transgender women with forced anal exams and HIV and STI testing. Cameroon is one of the few countries that criminalizes both male and female consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults.