Banjul, 23 March 2021: The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) has today 23 March 2021 held a virtual hearing on the implementation of its decision in the matter between IHRDA/Finders Group Initiative on behalf of TFA (a minor) and Government of Cameroon (Communication 006/Com/002/2015, Decision 001/2018).
In the hearing which took place during the ongoing 37th Ordinary Session of the ACERWC, the Cameroon delegation outlined some measures the Government of Cameroon had taken to implement the said decision. These include commencing the prosecution of the alleged perpetrator of the violation, supporting TFA’s education and providing her psych-social support, providing training to law enforcement and judicial officers on child protection, and adopting policies for child welfare and child protection in the general interests of children in Cameroon.
The complainants on their part observed that, while Government of Cameroon has made some efforts towards compliance with ACERWC’s decision, notably supporting TFA’s education, there was still a lot to do to be done to achieve full and satisfactory level of compliance with the Committee’s decision. The complainants submitted that most of the steps outlined by Government of Cameroon were not specific to the victim, TFA.
The ACERWC and the complainants equally observed that the procedures to prosecute the accused and to compensate the victim have been quite slow, considering that the decision was made public since September 2018. The ACERWC has urged Cameroon to intensify its efforts in the implementation of the decision, and to submit to the ACERWC a roadmap and quarterly progress reports on status of implementation of the decision.
The TFA case concerns the rape of TFA (a minor) by a prominent personality in 2012 when she was 10 years old and the failure of Government of Cameroon to effectively investigate the violation and bring the perpetrator to justice. The case was filed before the ACERWC in 2015 and the ACERWC ruled in favour of the complainants in 2018, urging Cameroon to properly investigate the violation and bring the offender to justice, pay TFA compensation worth 50 Million FCFA (about 90,000 USD) for damages suffered, and put in place a series of structural measures to prevent such violations. The full decision is available at https://acerwc.africa/wp-content/uploads/2018/13/Cameron%20Rape%20Case.pdf.