Research Key

Rectification and reconstitution of civil status Certificate in Cameroon

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1.1 Background Study

In Cameroon, ordinance No. 81/02 of 29th June 1981 organizes the official observation of birth, marriages, and deaths by a system of civil status documents. This ordinance was modified by the National assembly that drafted apart the family code, a number of bills dealing with family law issues such as Article 74 of the 1981 ordinance.

The modification of this ordinance came as a result of the law No.2011/011 of 6th May 2011 modifying and completing specific provisions of ordinance No.81-02 of June 29th, 1981 applying to the organization of civil status and various provisions relating to the status of persons.

Article 74 of the 1981 ordinance  of Cameroon civil status organization and others such as Article 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,15,18,19,30,31,32,34,78,79,and 83 were subsequently amended by the law No.2o11/011 of 6tt May 2011 thereby bringing more clarifications on the 1981 ordinance.

As a result of the mess performed by some authorities in some civil status centers, the head of state enacted decree No: 2013/031 of 13 February 2013 relating to the organization and working of the national office of the civil status known in its French acronym as BUSNEC (bureau  Nationale de  l’etat civil).

The seat of the NOCS was agreed to be found in Yaoundé which is the capital of Cameroon under the delegation of a board of directors and as such decentralization came as a result of this new law which will enable citizens to quickly have access in civil status registration office and authorities in their divisional and sub divisional jurisdictions.

However, some  provisions of the previous law [Ordinance No81/02 29 June 1981] were maintained such as the civil status records still held in civil status centers, one record each for birth, marriage, and death certificates, two categories of civil status centers which are the main registration center and the special registration center, civil status documents written by civil status registrars such as government delegates, mayors, city managers, and their deputies,  and they have limited competence which obligate them to act only within their jurisdiction.

Moreover, some provisions of the 1981 Ordinance were changed during the modification of this Ordinance in the 2011 law thereby introducing the NOCS according to the decree of 13 February 2013 which give the NOCS the competence of administrative control and the verification of the civil status register which was previously done by the state council and administrative authorities.

The NOCS as the new organ governing civil status in Cameroon was also placed as the body in charge of the vocational training of registrars and civil status secretaries as well as other members of the system. In a nutshell, the NOCS is the main coordinator of all the activities carried out in all civil status centers across the country to ensure the effectiveness, flexibility, and clarity of civil status registers and registrars working across the country.

1.2  Problem Statement

In Cameroon, the duration for the acquisition of civil status by an individual citizen has been put in place by the former law of Ordinance Number 81/6 of June 1981 which states in its Article 31 that acquisition of civil status must be declared to the civil status officer within 30 days and it can be birth, marriage or death. But in the new law No: 2011/011 of 6 May in its article 30 provides a fixed period of sixty days (60) and goes ahead to add an extra duration of thirty days (30) under article thirty-one (31) which has no justification.

The addition of these thirty days (30) brings it down to ninety days (90) which is three months. The problem that begs for an urgent answer is; what is the purpose and justification for the duration introduced in Article thirty (30) and thirty-one (31) of the new law of 2011? What is the duration expected to reflect? Hence, this long period of formality is too broad and long, which is time-wasting as it takes a lot of time for an individual citizen to acquire the status he/she had long declared, thereby making the ninety days which is three months incoherent and improper with the longer duration put in place to acquire a civil status By An Individual Citizen.

1.3 Research Methodology

The methodology adopted for this is purely qualitative. The research method adopted in accomplishing this methodology is the doctrinal research method and interview of key informants on the subject. The doctrinal research consists of primary and secondary data respectively.

1.4 Research Questions

1.4.1 General Question:

To what extent is the civil status organization effective and advantageous after its modification?

1.4.2 Specific Questions:

What is the phenomenon of civil status in Cameroon?

What is the legal framework in the acquisition of civil status?

What are the major challenges and setbacks for the acquisition of civil status?

What can be done to remedy and amend this phenomenon of acquisition of civil status in Cameroon?

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