Délégation générale à la Sûreté nationale

The national police service in Cameroon is called the Délégation générale à la Sûreté nationale, which translates to General Delegation for National Security in English. The primary objective of the General Delegation for National Security is to ensure the protection and respect of institutions in Cameroon, public freedoms of persons, and property.

In terms of structure, the General Delegation for National Security is composed of the following: Delegate General, who is the head of the police; the Office of the General Delegate; the central administration; and external services.

The General Delegation for National Security falls under the control of the President’s office, which has been associated with serious abuse, including extrajudicial killings, torture, degrading and inhuman treatment, arbitrary arrest of members of opposition political and civil groups, long detention of suspects, and widespread corruption and extortion. According to reports by Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, arbitrary arrests and detention are common, and persons who speak against the government are routinely targeted and tortured by police services and often disappear.

Oversight Mechanisms

In principle, the judiciary should serve as a mechanism of oversight, however, courts in Cameroon are often subject to political influence and corruption, with judicial appointments being made by the president. Accordingly, courts have been described as ineffective.

Further, despite having a human rights commission in operation since 1990, the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms (NCHRF) has been subject to the control of the President. According to a report conducted by Human Rights Watch in 2001, the NCHRF engages in promotional activities but avoids investigating and reporting cases of human rights violations committed by Government or security agencies, and is therefore largely ineffective.

Finally, although there are various NGOs in Cameroon, none of these groups appear to be working on issues relating to police oversight and accountability. Consequently, the General Delegation for National Security is allowed to operate with impunity.

  1. Security Sector Reform Monitor, Burundi. 2010. Available at: https://www.cigionline.org/sites/default/files/SSRM%20Burundi%20v3.pdf. <Accessed on 30 March 2016>.
CameroonNews Story2016Timeslive ‘Cameroon police detain 60 regime opponents’Source
CameroonHuman Rights Report2015/2016Amnesty International Country Report for Cameroon 2015/2016Source
CameroonConcluding Observation2014Concluding Observations by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights on the 3rd Periodic Report of the Republic of CameroonSource
CameroonResearch Publication2013Amnesty International submission to the UN Universal Periodic ReviewSource
CameroonState Report20133rd Periodic Report of the Republic of Cameroon to the African Commission on Human and People’s RightsSource (PDF)