The legal and institutional framework regulating trafficking in persons
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THE BACKGROUND TO STUDY
It is obvious that the Cameroon constitution in its preamble seeks to protect the privacy of the indigenous population.
The right to privacy is an inalienable right which involves that state of being free from public attention or it is the right of an individual to be protected against intrusion into his personal life or affairs, or those of his family, by direct physical means or by publication of information. The right to privacy is our right to keep a domain around us, which includes all those things that are part of us, such as our body, home, property, thoughts, feelings, secrets and identity. The right to privacy gives us the ability to choose which parts in this domain can be accessed by others, and to control the extent, manner and timing of the use of those parts we chose to disclose it is a fundamental human right recognized by the UN and other international and regional treaties. As far back as 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted and proclaimed the right to privacy in its article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with this privacy, family, home or correspondence, or to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference. Demand for per[i]sonal information has exploded in recent y[ii]ears. Especially with the use of internet, in this day and age, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are driving new forms of social interaction and the availability has raised privacy concerns.
Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status. Human rights include the right to life and liberty, right to privacy, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights without discrimination
Vast majority of government’s around the world have upheld the rights individuals have to privacy by enacting statutes and laws that establish the boundaries concerning how information can or should be collected about individuals legally, and the manner in which such information is used.
The preamble of the Cameroon constitution enacted in 1996 serves as an instrument governing the Human rights of Cameroonians. It contains some rights which includes; the right to strike, right to choose a religion, right to privacy, freedom of communication, expression of press, assembly, association and of trade unionism, right to life, right to security, right to work, right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and many others.
Since independence, Cameroon’s successive constitutions have proclaimed its people’s commitment to human rights as set out in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Our country is also party to major international and regional human rights conventions, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).At the national level, the preamble to the constitution declares the Cameroonian people’s commitment to the freedom of communication and expression.Many laws and decrees dealing with freedom of communication and expression and with telecommunications and communications exist in Cameroon, some of which impact on surveillance:Law N° 98/014 of 14 July 1998, which regulates telecommunications, Law N° 2004/016 of 22 July 2004 creating the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms. The commission is an independent institution set up to promote and protect human rights in the country. Though important, none of its statutory provisions hint at the surveillance of communication, Law N° 2010/021 of 21 December 2010 governing electronic commerce ,Law N° 2010/013 of 21 December 2010 governing electronic communications in Cameroon, Law N° 2010/012 of 21 December 2010 on cyber security and cybercrime.The latter “governs the security framework of electronic communication networks and information systems, defines and punishes offences related to the use of information and communication technologies in Cameroon.” While this law was hailed by some as a much-needed step in the right direction to curb Cameroon’s nascent or burgeoning cybercrimes industry, others have criticized it for being light on internet security and heavy on sanctions, particularly with regards to sanctioning online expression.Decree N° 2002/092/PR of 8 April 2002 creating the National Agency for Information and Communications Technologies (ANTIC). The ANTIC was created to facilitate and accelerate the uptake of ICTs in Cameroon so that they can contribute to the development of the country.Decree N° 20regionalR of 10 April 2012 assigning new missions to the ANTIC, including the regulation of electronic security activities and the regulation of the internet in Cameroon. With this decree, the ANTIC became the key factor in terms of restrictions imposed by the government on the free flow of online information.Decree N° 2013/0399/PM of 27 February 2013 establishing the modalities of protection for electronic communications consumers. This decree clearly states that when it comes to electronic services, the consumer is entitled to have his or her protection kept private.
Privacy is therefore important in the following ways; Privacy helps individuals maintain their autonomy and individuality. People define themselves by exercising power over information about them and a free country does not ask people to answer for the choices they make about what information is shared and what is held close. Privacy is essential to autonomy and the protection of human dignity, serving as the foundation upon when many other human rights are built. Privacy enables us to create boundaries and protect ourselves from unwarranted interference in our lives, allowing us to negotiate who we are and how we want to interact with the world around us.
Privacy is about respecting individuals. If a person has a reasonable desire to keep something private, it is disrespectful to ignore that person’s wishes without a compelling reason to do so. Of course, the desire for privacy can conflict with important values, so privacy may not always win out in the balance. Sometimes people’s desires for privacy are just brushed aside because of a view that the harm in doing so is trivial. Even if this doesn’t cause major injury, it demonstrates a lack of respect for that person. In a sense it is saying: “I care about my interests, but I don’t care about yours.”
Privacy enables people to manage their reputations. How we are judged by others affects our opportunities, friendships, and overall well-being. Although we can’t have complete control over our reputations, we must have some ability to protect our reputations from being unfairly harmed. Protecting reputation depends on protecting against not only falsehoods but also certain truths. Knowing private details about people’s lives doesn’t necessarily lead to more accurate judgment about people. People judge badly, they judge in haste, they judge out of context, they judge without hearing the whole story, and they judge with hypocrisy. Privacy helps people protect themselves from these troublesome judgments.
In relationships, whether personal, professional, governmental, or commercial, we depend upon trusting the other party. Breaches of confidentiality are breaches of that trust. In professional relationships such as our relationships with doctors and lawyers, this trust is key to maintaining candor in the relationship. Likewise, we trust other people we interact with as well as the companies we do business with. When trust is breached in one relationship that could make us more reluctant to trust in other relationships
Personal data is essential to so many decisions made about us, from whether we get a loan, a license or a job to our personal and professional reputations. Personal data is used to determine whether we are investigated by the government, or searched at the airport, or denied the ability to fly. Indeed, personal data affects nearly everything, including what messages and content we see on the Internet. Without having knowledge of what data is being used, how it is being used, the ability to correct and amend it, we are virtually helpless in today’s world. Moreover, we are helpless without the ability to have a say in how our data is used or the ability to object and have legitimate grievances be heard when data uses can harm us. One of the hallmarks of freedom is having autonomy and control over our lives, and we can’t have that if so many important decisions about us are being made in secret without our awareness or participation.
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The recording of information about specific interest activities has become one of the biggest threats emerging as concerns internet privacy. Every time a user accesses a web page, the server holding the page logs on the user’s internet address along with the time, date, same site place. Most individuals too are very uneasy with their personal media like the internet. Violation of privacy particularly with technology is a very great problem which has to be dealt with.
It is also a problem to know what is to be considered private. This is because people have different customs and backgrounds. What may be considered private to someone may not be the same to another person. Also what are various boundaries to be set in which a particular is considered private and the other is not.
Another problem which is very common nowadays is the issue of the government protecting privacy without it leading to another social problem. For example in the government in trying to protect the rights to women by letting women have a right to abortion could create another socioeconomic problem of law percentage of population or high death rate. It could also put their lives at high risk leading to a slowdown in economic growth. Lastly it could lead to the breakdown of families. Now the question is how the government can protect ones privacy on the society.
Another violation of the right to privacy is also seen in Nigeria where the Cyber Crime Bill was submitted to the National Assembly by Good L9uck Jonathan .The Federal government decision to get the national Assembly to pass into empower security agents to intercept and record electronic communications between individuals and seized usage data from internet services providers and mobile network has raised concerns in legal circles.
According to section 22 of the bill titled “Interception of electronic communication”. Where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the content of any electronic communication is reasonable required for the purposes of criminal investigation or proceedings , a judge may on the basis of information on oath , order a service provider through the application of technical means to collect, record ,permit or assist competent authorities or authorize a law enforcement officer to collect or record such data through application of technical means .Section 21 of the Bill also states that security agencies can order internet service providers or telecom companies to preserve ,hold or retain any traffic data , subscriber information. Where a service provider refuses to release its subscriber’s data by the security agencies, the firm is liable to 10 million naira fine while each of its directors, managers or officers shall be liable for three years jail term, seven million naira fine or both. The Crime Bill is illegal as it is inconsistent with the fundamental rights of people to privacy and freedom of expression guaranteed by the constitution of Nigeria and the African Charter of Human and People Rights Act. Is one big problem face in the protection of right to privacy?
How can it be proved that a protected privacy has been violated? To what extend can the government through its laws protect privacy.
1.3. RESEARCH QUESTION
1.3.1. MAIN RESEARCH QUESTION
How is the right to privacy protected in Cameroon?
1.3.2. Specific research question
- what is the right to privacy?
- How is the right to privacy protected under international and Cameroon law?
- How is the right to privacy protected in Cameroon?
- What policy recommendation can be made on the protection of the right to privacy in Cameroon?
1.4. OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
1.4.1 GENERAL OBJECTIVE
This study seeks to examine to which the right of privacy is protected in Cameroon.
1.4.2 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE
- To examine what the right to privacy is all about.
- To analyse the protection of the right to privacy both under international and Cameroonian laws.
- To access the extend to which the right to privacy is protected in Cameroon.
- To propose policy recommendations on the protection of the right to privacy in Cameroon