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Thursday, 21 April 2011 00:00
Religious Freedom Ranking:
2.5 out of 5 stars: Poor


Cameroon is a multi-party state.  It has a population of 19.4 million citizens. Among these people, approximately 69.2 percent are Christian, and 20.9 percent are Muslim. Of the Christians, 38.4 percent are Roman Catholic, 26.3 percent are Protestant, 0.5 percent are Orthodox, and four percent make up other Christian groups. The remaining citizens are either animist (5.6 percent), not associated with any religion (3.3 percent), or participate in another religion (one percent).

While the government generally respects the right of religious freedom, the country has been criticized by the U.N. and Amnesty International for extrajudicial killings by the police and security units and widespread use of torture. According to the U.S. International Religious Freedom Report, such human rights abuses have at times occurred at religious sites.

The media is tightly controlled by the government. However, the Catholic Church does operate two of the few modern private printing presses and prints a weekly newspaper, L’Effort Camerounais. These presses also print secular newspapers. The state sponsored radio and television station also broadcasts Christian and Islamic religious services.

The constitution provides for freedom of religion and, according to the US State Department, the government generally does not restrict it in practice. The constitution declares that the human being, without distinction as to race, religion, sex or belief, possesses inalienable and sacred rights. No one shall be harassed because of his origin, opinions or beliefs in religious, philosophical or political matters, subject to respect for public order. Freedom of religion and freedom to practice a religion are guaranteed. The state is described as secular, and the neutrality and independence of the state in respect of all religions are guaranteed.

Religious groups must be approved and registered with the Ministry of Territorial Administration in order to function legally. However, Cameroon does not register indigenous religious groups, claiming, that the practices of traditional religion are a private concern observed only by members of particular ethnic or kinship groups or the residents of particular locations. Also, the practice of witchcraft, defined as any act of magic or divination liable to harm another person or property, is illegal. While witchcraft is a criminal offense, the government does distinguish witchcraft from traditional indigenous beliefs, and there were no accounts of trials involving witchcraft that infringed upon people’s religious freedom.

2010 U.S. State Department International Religious Freedom Report on Cameroon

Cameroon - New World Encyclopedia

Cameroon Country  Profile- BBC News

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2011 18:30