The Advocates for Human Rights in collaboaration with the Centre Pour La Promotion Du Droit (Center for the Promotion of Law) submitted a report for the Pre-Sessional Working Group of the Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding the administration of juvenile justice and the use of children by armed forces in Cameroon.
Although the Cameroonian government has taken steps to reform its penal code and develop public institutions for children in need of protection, serious problems persist in the country's juvenile justice system. These problems include the low legal age of criminal repsonsibility at 10 years, insufficient measures to prevent juvenile delinquency, limited alternatives to detention, and the absence of specialized courts and judges for minors. In addition, children continue to be detained with adults in violation of Cameroonian law and face poor conditions in prisons, including inadequate medical care, overcrowding, malnutrition, and lack of access to education.
The government has also failed to protect children from the armed group Boko Haram's increasing abduction and exploitation of Cameroonian youth, subjecting them to abuse, forced marriage, and recruitment as soldiers, human shields, and suicide bombers. The government does not have any program in place for demobilizing these children and helping them reintegrate into society.
The Advocates identified questions the Committee should ask during its review of Cameroon's compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child to emphasize the ways in which Cameroon should better protect the rights of children in conflict with the law and children involved in armed conflict.
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