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Issues in Women's Land Rights in Cameroon

Lotsmart N. Fonjong

Publication Year: 2012

This book explores the customary, social, economic political and rights issues surrounding access, ownership and control over land from a gender perspective. It combines theory and practice from researchers, lawyers and judges, each with track records of working on women and rights concerns. The nexus between the reluctance to recognize and materialize womenís right to land, and the increasing feminization of poverty is undeniable. The problem assumes special acuity in an essentially agrarian context like Cameroon, where the problem is not so much the law as its manner of application. That this book delves into investigating the principal sources and reasons for this prevalent injustice is particularly welcome. As some of the analyses reveal, denying women their right to land acquisition or inheritance is sometimes contrary to established judicial precedents and even in total dissonance with the countryís constitution. Traditional and cultural shibboleths associated with land acquisition and ownership that tend to stymie womenís development and fulfilment, must be quickly shirked, for such retrograde excuses can no longer find comfort in the law, morality nor in ìmodernî traditional thinking. The trend, albeit timid, of appointing women to Land Consultative Boards and even as traditional authorities, can only be salutary. These are some positive practical steps that can translate the notion of equal rights into ìequal powerî over land for both sexes; otherwise ìequalityî in this context will remain an unattractive slogan.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-ii


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pp. iii-iv

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pp. vii

Working on a book of this nature with authors from different professional backgrounds and locations can be very demanding. These same factors almost thwarted the book but for the constant encouragement and support from many people who have helped to make this book possible. ...

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pp. ix-x

It is befitting at this time, to dedicate an entire volume to Issues in Women’s Rights to Land in Cameroon, as the title of the book announces. As I have observed elsewhere, the concept of equality between the sexes and human dignity everywhere, irrespective of race, is gaining ground in modern democratic thought. ...

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pp. xi-xv

Land rights in Africa are governed by legal pluralism animated by statutory, customary, and Islamic laws which, instead of complementing each other, tend to contradict, particularly in the management, acquisition, ownership and disposal of a piece of land. In Cameroon, land rights are regulated by statute, customs and informal arrangements which follow this trend. ...

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Chapter One - Introduction to Land and Rural Women in Cameroon

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pp. 1-17

In Cameroon, the fact is that absolute rights on a parcel of land reveal an individual’s status within his community. Land thus carries along with it a symbol of authority, easy and /or difficult relations with other people in the community. ...

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Chapter Two - Equal Rights but Unequal Power over Land: Rethinking the Process of Engendering Land Ownership and Management in Cameroon

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pp. 19-41

This paper gives an overview of the issues of gender, power and women’s land rights with focus on Cameroon. It highlights the state of women’s land rights in which women have mere access but not control; in spite of the fact that they make up a majority of agricultural work force and more than 50% of the world’s population. ...

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Chapter Three - Women’s Inheritance Rights in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon

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pp. 43-64

This paper presents the different applicable laws and jurisdictions in Cameroon that deal with the question of inheritance and succession. It also makes a distinction between testate and intestate succession. Using examples from case law, we examine the validity of a will, the place of nuncupative wills and the determination...

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Chapter Four - Exploring Women’s Rights within the Cameroonian Legal System: Where do Customary Practices of Bride-Price Fit in?

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pp. 65-86

Colonization came along with different civilizations, giving traditional rulers subordinate positions, which were seemingly adopted later by government after independence. The government instituted laws with unprecedented human rights for women, notably in the constitution and the Civil Status Registration Ordinance of 1981...

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Chapter Five - Women and Land Registration in Anglophone Cameroon: Lessons from South Africa

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pp. 87-100

The Anglophone region of Cameroon has a significant problem of inequality in land holding between men and women. This paper reviews the land registration mechanism in the region in the context of this inequality of the landholdings between the sexes, which has resulted in a situation where over 80% of the registered lands...

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Chapter Six - Mediating between Customs and Statutes in the Process of Land Registration and Enforcement of Women’s Rights in Cameroon: The Role of the Administration

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pp. 101-118

This paper highlights the importance of land ownership and land disposition, and distinguishes between land possessions from land ownership. It examines the statutory stance for women to own land and how the customary law contradicts statutory law in Cameroon. ...

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Chapter Seven - Land Reforms in South Africa and Uganda: Practices for Enhancing the Process in Cameroon

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pp. 119-133

Many African states have experienced changes in their land tenure due to colonial impact and an evolving administration. The dynamics in tenure arrangements have affected community life and caused gender inequalities in regards to access to land. Prior to colonization, this important natural resource was very accessible to the poor...

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Chapter Eight - Discrimination in Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights in Cameroon: The Role of Human Rights NGOs in Promoting Gender Sensitive Land Reforms

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pp. 135-156

The main land legislation regulating land tenure in Cameroon is over 36 years old and, although it has been undergoing some amendments, it is still far from complying with current realities. Even though every Cameroonian citizen has rights to land ownership as per the laws, this is not the case in practice where growing inequalities exist. ...

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 157-160

Back cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956727018
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956726837

Page Count: 178
Publication Year: 2012