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The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Cameroon

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This project entitled “The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Cameroon” is aimed at examining the role of NGOs in Cameroon in the protection of Human rights.

The research work had as the main objective, to examine the role of NGOs in Cameroon in the protection of Human rights, and had four specific objectives which include the following: (1) To bring out the legal framework regulating NGOs in Cameroon. (2) To identify the most prominent NGOs in Cameroon. (3)

To critically examine the roles of various NGOs in Cameroon. (4) To outline the challenges faced by NGOs in Cameroon during the execution of their duties. As a statement of the problem, it has been realized that many NGOs carry out their activities independent of the government of the operating country.

The problem faced by NGOs in Cameroon is government restriction and regulation, a case in point is when NGOs reports against the undemocratic practices of the government

Some of the founders/employees are being arrested. This restrains NGOs from freely and fully carrying out their role as human rights watchdogs. The conclusion was then made as well as recommendations.




A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a non-profit organization that operates outside of government.

NGOs, also known as civil societies, are organizations that are established on a local, national, and international level to support a social or political purpose such as humanitarian causes or the environment.

On a global level, the history of non-governmental organizations dates back to at least the mid-nineteenth century[1]. Active in the anti-slavery movement and the movement for women’s suffrage, they had expanded significantly by the time of the World Disarmament Conference[2].

However, the phrase “non-governmental organization” only came into popular use with the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. Article 71 of Chapter 10 of the United Nations Charter permitted a consultative role for organizations, which are neither governments nor member states[3].

The Council recognized the vital role of the NGOs and other “major groups” in sustainable development in Chapter 27 of Agenda 21, which led to significant arrangements for a consultative relationship between the UN and NGOs[4].

Globalization facilitated the rapid rise of NGOs in the latter part of the 20th century, and the revolution in electronic telecommunications not only reinforced that trend but fostered growing cooperation among NGOs across national borders[5].

Globalization, resulting from neo-liberal economic policies, led citizens of various countries to perceive of international treaties and international financial institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund as too centred on the interests of capitalist enterprises, to the detriment of the poor.

At the same time, the “telecommunications revolution called attention to the disparities in development between the West and the rest of the world…. Instantaneous global communication meant that popular movements throughout the world could draw inspiration from each other”[6].

An attempt to counterbalance neo-liberal policies may have led to the development of NGOs emphasizing humanitarian issues, human rights, developmental aid, and sustainable development.

Non-governmental or, more precisely, non-profit organizations are often used to describe the diverse variety of organizations that make up civil society. In general, such organizations are described as providing an objective other than financial benefit as their raison d’être.

However, this leaves a vast array of explanations for existence, as well as a diverse selection of businesses and activities. Small pressure groups on particular environmental issues or human rights abuses, for example, to educational charities, women’s refuges, cultural communities, charitable organizations, legal foundations, and humanitarian assistance programs are all examples of NGOs.

According to Robert Alan“The evolution of the human rights movements clearly illustrates humanity’s ongoing struggle toward creating a better world”[7].

In contemporary Cameroon, there is the immersion of several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with almost the same ideologies. Some of these non-governmental organizations include; CHRDA (Centre for Human Rights and Development in Africa).

Like every other, it holds as its main objective the protection, and promotion of democracy and good governance through online and offline campaigns, developing strategies and collecting resources to ensure compliance with human rights norms, working international fora, providing legal assistance to victims of human rights abuses (National Courts, African Commission).

It also works with government authorities to strengthen human rights situations, keep violations to a minimum, and promote the ratification of international treaties as well as human rights agreements, at national and in close partnership with legal professionals who provide pro bono programs, provides legal assistance to victims of human rights violations (individuals and groups).

Collaborate with the media to disseminate human rights education and awareness-raising information.[8]Working with members of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches to bring about the requisite legal changes. Acting as a liaison with other human rights-focused non-governmental organizations (both domestic and international), including educational institutions governmental and intergovernmental bodies and charities.

In certain cases, NGOs take on the position of poor people’s spokespersons or ombudsmen, attempting to influence government policies and services on their behalf[9].

This can be achieved by a range of approaches, including demonstration and test projects, involvement in public meetings, the development of government policy and strategies, and the dissemination of research findings and case studies of the poor[10].

 Most organizations work to protect human rights and put an end to human rights abuses all over the world. In Cameroon, human rights organizations are most successful when their calls for reform are backed up by strong public pressure, so public support and disapproval of abuses are crucial to their success[11].

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are an example of such groups. Throughout the world, as a culture, they remind governments to keep their promises in order to resolve injustices against women, girls, and the underclass, which are at the bottom of the social ladder, by actively campaigning to give tangible form to targets set by numerous national and international human rights conventions.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Cameroon work 24 hours a day to record the situation. NGOs are a necessary corollary to the government’s democratic machinery; they are a means of democratic empowerment for those who are less powerful and advantaged, as the government’s machinery and authorized institutions are not always sufficient to guarantee human rights security[12].

In the same light, some human rights organizations such as The Cameroon Network of Human Rights Organizations (CNHRO) , established on January 6, 2010, as an umbrella HRD network dedicated to fostering a culture of human rights in Cameroon, with the main goal of strengthening the capacity of civil society organizations operating in the field of human rights.

The group, to achieve fundamental freedoms enshrined in national, regional, and foreign instruments, raises public awareness of citizens’ rights, ensures that human rights defenders are protected and defended, and coordinates human rights advocacy and lobbying efforts.

They equally prepare a different annual report on Cameroon’s human rights situation; collaborate with national, regional, and local organizations In Cameroon, work with national, regional, and international authorities and organizations to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms[13].

  • Some popular NGOs in Cameroon include;Education for all in Africa (EDUCAF) Based in Yaounde Cameroon. Education for All in Africa (EDUCAF) – NGO. …
  • Destinee charityfoundation – NGO. …
  • Mbonweh Womens DevelopmentAssociation Cameroon – NGO. …
  • Unique Child Initiative CIG – NGO. …
  • INterFaith Vision Foundation – NGO. …
  • Ductu Foundation NGO – NGO.[14]
  • Association for the Protection of Women’s and Children’s Rights in Cameroon (APWCR) base in Yaounde Cameroon
  • Cameroon Association for the Protection and Education of the Child(CAPEC) base in Limbe Cameroon
  • Center for Democracy and Electoral Studies base in Tiko Cameroon
  • International Children’s Welfare Foundation (ICWF) based in Limbe[15] Cameroon and many more all work endlessly to insure the protection and promotion of human rights in Cameroon.


It has been realized that many NGOs carry out their activities independent of the government of the operating country.

Some of the founders/employees are being arrested. This restrains NGOs from freely and fully carrying out their role as human rights watchdogs.

This research shall first provide a brief overview of the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), their main objectives in general.

Cameroon has been our case study, I am going to examine the role of non-governmental organizations in Cameroon, their relevance towards the Cameroon society, how necessary are NGOs in a country like Cameroon toward the protection and promotion of human rights.

In addition, this research shall examine the Cameroon government actions towards human rights activities of NGOs and the various problems encountered in the exercise of their duties not foregoing their weaknesses.


1.3.1 General Research Question

What is the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Cameroon?

1.3.2 Specific Research question

  • What is the legal framework regulating NGOs in Cameroon?
  • What are the most prominent Human rights NGOs in Cameroon?
  • What are the roles of various NGOs in Cameroon?
  • The challenges faced by NGOs in Cameroon during the execution of their duties?.

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