Statutory law only grants user rights to local communities; it invalidates customary law and traditional rights. Cameroon has a deeply-rooted unofficial customary forest law which confers ownership of forests and lands to local communities. This is in contrast with the existing codified statutory law which grants lands and forests to the State, with the exception of those held by private entities.
Forest law recognises community user rights. There is no specific summary of the law, but based on the key messages to convey, various NGOs have designed guides, brochures and posters for communities and disseminated them locally. User rights do not grant ownership of the resource; they only allow for removals of non-protected resources for personal use and can be suspended in the public interest, temporarily or indefinitely, by the Minister of Forests and Wildlife.
The prospect of a revision of the forest law should mean that the current situation will improve thanks to an enhanced recognition of customary and traditional rights.
|Title||Law N°94/01 of 20 January 1994 to set out forestry, wildlife and fishery regulations (Articles 8, 26, 29, 30, 36 et 38)|
|Organisation||MINFOF (Forests Department and Legal Unit)|
|Source||www.cameroun-foret.com, www.minfof-cm.org, www.riddac.org/document/pdf/cm-loiforet.pdf|