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UN Human Rights in Central Africa

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The United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa), also referred to as the OHCHR Regional Office for Central Africa (CARO) - based in Yaoundé, Cameroun - was created at the request of member states of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and pursuant to General Assembly resolutions 53/78 A and 54/55 A.

CARO supports the promotion and protection of human rights and democracy through monitoring the human rights situation, informing on the trends, promoting prevention, capacity building, advocacy and advisory services to national authorities, national human rights institutions, civil society and international organizations. It covers 10 countries of the Economic Community of Central Africa States (ECCAS), notably Burundi, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Sao Tomé and Principe. It participates actively in meetings of the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Peace and Security in Central Africa.

Type of engagement Regional Office
Year established 2001
Field offices Yaoundé
Number of staff 14
Annual budget needs US$ 1,610,000


  • States cooperation with human rights mechanisms: CARO supported countries of the subregion in preparing their periodic reports to human rights treaty bodies in response to States' requests. This support which was both technical and substantive enabled member states to submit reports in time for the UPR and committees sessions.
  • Security and Early warning: CARO has ensured that human rights feature permanently in the agenda of all meetings of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security in Central Africa, especially in crisis situations. CARO has also been in the forefront of the UN-wide efforts to divert and resolve the political and social crises prevailing in many of the countries, by emphasising the human rights dimension in the stakeholders' interventions and conducting human rights monitoring, investigation and reporting, including remotely as well as engaging proactively with institutions of law enforcement, the judiciary, parliaments, and other institutions to ensure they abide by human rights principles and hold perpetrators accountable.
  • Morevover, CARO has reinforced its cooperation with the UN Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council regarding the political crisis in the South-West and North-West regions of Cameroon, resulting in communications sent by Special Rapporteurs to the Government of Cameroon, press releases and Op-ed published in national newspapers. CARO has also triggered the creation of a network of human rights organizations of the Far North of Cameroon known as "COSDHEN" following a series of capacity building activities on human rights monitoring and reporting in the context of counterring terrorism and violent extremism.
  • Protecting Civic Space and People's Participation: CARO has constantly advocated and carried out capacity building activties with key stakeholders for a better political participation of specific groups such as indigenous people, women and people living with disabilities. One positive result is that, since the 2013 parliamentary, municipal and senatorial elections and the 2018 Senatorial and Presidential elections in Cameroon, the participation of persons with disabilities in the elections has substantiallly increased. 
  • Democracy and Rule of Law: CARO enjoys the unique mandate on democracy, which underpins its interventions in ensuring good governance, the rule of law and accountability across the region. The Centre has played a key role in the establishment of mechanisms in Burundi and in Cameroon to ensure the human prevention and protection in the context of elections.
  • Support to the media: CARO has put in place a pool of journalists in the subregion by training media professionals on human rights issues. This has greatly improved OHCHR's visibility in the subregion. More than 184 articles were published in the written and online press on human rights and democracy activities organized by CARO in countries of the subregion, in addition to several dozens of TV and Radio reports broadcasted on human rights issues.
  • Development: corporate bodies -having learnt of CARO's engagement and successes with four companies in Cameroon and Gabon- are paying greater attention to human rights in their business operations. Thanks to its active participation in meetings of UNCTs of focus countries, CARO has acquired a strategic postion with State owned and private sector companies for the promotion and protection of human rights in all areas of buisness activities.

Partners and Donors

Partners: UN agencies, Human rights field presences, International and regional organization such as the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), National human rights institutions in Central Africa, Governments of the sub region, Electoral management bodies, Parliaments, Law enforcement officials, Media and Civil society.

Donors: OIF, Belgium.

UN Human Rights Focus Areas

Thematic pillars
  • Mechanisms: Increasing implementation of the international human rights mechanisms outcomes
  • Development: Integrating human rights in sustainable development
  • Accountability: Strengthening rule of law and accountability for human rights violations
  • Non-discrimination: Enhancing equality and countering discrimination
  • Participation: Enhancing and protecting civic space and people's participation
  • Peace and Security: Early warning, prevention & protection of human rights in situations of conflict & insecurity
  • Prevention
  • Global constituency
  • Civic space
  • Inequalities
  • Corruption
  • People on the move
Spotlight populations
  • Women
  • Persons with disabilities

Last reviewed: June 2020