Banjul, 11 December 2017
The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) is today considering communication 006/Com/002/2015: Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa and Finders’ Group Initiative (on behalf of TFA, minor) V. Republic of Cameroon.
By the facts of the case, TFA, a minor, was raped by a wealthy and prominent man in Bamenda in the North West Region of Cameroon in 2012, when she was 10 years old. Despite compelling medical evidence that the girl had been raped, the authorities in Cameroon failed to carry out an effective investigation into the incident or prosecute the perpetrator. Rather, TFA’s Counsel and aunt were eventually sued for defamation against the Examining Magistrate for the case, which had remained pending before the Court in Bamenda, subject to repeated adjournments.
IHRDA and FGI filed their admissibility and merits briefs before the ACERWC on November 14, 2015, alleging several violations of rights provided for in the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights amongst others. These rights include the right to dignity, right to freedom from torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, the right to fair trial, the right to a remedy and the right against gender-based discrimination.
The plaintiffs are requesting the ACERWC to declare that Cameroon has violated the above mentioned rights; and to urge Cameroon to make monetary compensation to TFA for damages, as well as undertake specific structural reforms through the enactment of laws, putting in place of specialised units, and training of competent officers/authorities, in view of eliminating all forms of violence, including sexual violence, against children.
The hearing of the case is part of activities marking the 30th Ordinary Session of the ACERWC underway in Khartoum, Sudan.