Cameroon 1972 Constitution (reviewed 2008)


We, the people of Cameroon,

Proud of our linguistic and cultural diversity, an enriching feature of our national identity, but profoundly aware of the imperative need to further consolidate our unity, solemnly declare that we constitute one and the same Nation, bound by the same destiny, and assert our firm determination to build the Cameroonian Fatherland on the basis of the ideals of fraternity, justice and progress;

Jealous of our hard-won independence and resolved to preserve same; convinced that the salvation of Africa lies in forging ever-growing bonds of solidarity among African Peoples, affirm our desire to contribute to the advent of a united and free Africa, while maintaining peaceful and brotherly relations with the other nations of the World, in accordance with the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations;

Resolved to harness our natural resources in order to ensure the well-being of every citizen without discrimination, by raising living standards, proclaim our right to development as well as our determination to devote all our efforts to that end and declare our readiness to cooperate with all States desirous of participating in this national endeavour with due respect for our sovereignty and the independence of the Cameroonian State.

We, the people of Cameroon,

Declare that the human person, without distinction as to race, religion, sex or belief, possesses inalienable and sacred rights;

Affirm our attachment to the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter of United Nations and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and all duly ratified international conventions relating thereto, in particular, to the following principles:

  1. all persons shall have equal rights and obligations. The State shall provide all its citizens with the conditions necessary for their development;
  2. the State shall ensure the protection of minorities and shall preserve the rights of indigenous populations in accordance with the law;
  3. freedom and security shall be guaranteed each individual, subject to respect for the rights of others and the higher interests of the State;
  4. every person shall have the right to settle in any place and to move about freely, subject to the statutory provisions concerning public law and order, security and tranquillity;
  5. the home is inviolate. No search may be conducted except by virtue of the law;
  6. the privacy of all correspondence is inviolate. No interference may be allowed except by virtue of decisions emanating from the Judicial power;
  7. no person may be compelled to do what the law does not prescribe;
  8. no person may be prosecuted, arrested or detained except in the cases and according to the manner determined by law;
  9. the law may not have retrospective effect. No person may be judged and punished, except by virtue of a law enacted and published before the offence was committed;
  10. the law shall ensure the right of every person to a fair hearing before the courts;
  11. every accused person is presumed innocent until found guilty during a hearing conducted in strict compliance with the rights of defence;
  12. every person has a right to life, to physical and moral integrity and to humane treatment in all circumstances. Under no circumstances shall any person be subjected to torture, to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment;
  13. no person shall be harassed on grounds of his origin, religious, philosophical or political opinions or beliefs, subject to respect for public policy;
  14. the state shall be secular. The neutrality and independence of the State in respect of all religions shall be guaranteed;
  15. freedom of religion and worship shall be guaranteed;
  16. the freedom of communication, of expression, of the press, of assembly, of association, and of trade unionism, as well as the right to strike shall be guaranteed under the conditions fixed by law;
  17. the Nation shall protect and promote the family which is the natural foundation of human society. It shall protect women, the young, the elderly and the disabled;
  18. the State shall guarantee the child’s right to education. Primary education shall be compulsory. The organization and supervision of education at all levels shall be the bounden duty of the State;
  19. ownership shall mean the right guaranteed every person by law to use, enjoy and dispose of property. No person shall be deprived thereof, save for public purposes and subject to the payment of compensation under conditions determined by law;
  20. the right of ownership may not be exercised in violation of the public interest or in such a way as to be prejudicial to the security, freedom, existence or property of other persons;
  21. every person shall have a right to a healthy environment. The protection of the environment shall be the duty of every citizen. The State shall ensure the protection and improvement of the environment;
  22. every person shall have the right and the obligation to work;
  23. every person shall share in the burden of public expenditure according to his financial resources;
  24. all citizens shall contribute to the defence of the Fatherland;
  25. the State shall guarantee all citizens of either sex the rights and freedoms set forth in the Preamble of the Constitution.