IHRDA and partners obtain a ground-breaking decision in child rape case against Cameroon
Banjul, 4th September 2018: The African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) has issued a ground-breaking decision in favour of the plaintiffs in Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa and Finders’ Group Initiative (on behalf of TFA, minor) v. Republic of Cameroon. The Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), an SRT grantee, provided legal representation in the case.
In its decision, the Committee urged Cameroon to pay ‘TFA’, a victim of rape, compensation for damages worth 50 million CFA (approximately US$90,000), in addition to other structural remedies. This is the first case of sexual violence against a minor decided at the regional level in Africa.
TFA was raped by a wealthy and prominent man in Bamenda in north-west Cameroon in 2012, when she was 10 years old. Despite compelling medical evidence that TFA had been raped, the Cameroon authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation into the incident or prosecute the perpetrator. IHRDA and Finders’ Group Initiative (FGI) approached the Committee in November 2015, alleging several violations of rights protected under the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and other international legal instruments. The plaintiffs appeared before the Committee in Khartoum, Sudan, in December 2017 to argue the case.
The Committee found Cameroon in violation of several obligations, notably protection against child abuse and torture, and non-discrimination. Besides the financial compensation to TFA, the Committee has called on Cameroon to immediately ensure that the perpetrator is prosecuted and punished, and to put in place a series of structural measures for the elimination of all forms of violence against children, including enactment and implementation of relevant legislation, training of the authorities, creation of specialised mechanisms, as well as public sensitisation and education.
IHRDA and their partners praised the decision, which they describe as ‘a major plus to child rights jurisprudence in Africa’.
Full press release from IHRDA’s website: https://www.ihrda.org/2018/09/ihrda-fgi-obtain-ground-breaking-decision-in-child-rape-case-against-cameroon/
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