At what age ...are school-children employed, married and taken to court?
As far as schools are concerned, the provisions of the Constitution and of article 9 of Act No. 98/004 of 14 April 1999 on education guidelines in Cameroon provide that primary education is compulsory, but do not refer to any age limit for school attendance.
Minimum age of employment
In social matters, according to article 1 of Order No. 17 of 27 May 1969 on child labour, "Any person of either sex, whether a wage earner or an apprentice, who is below the age of 18 years shall be regarded as a minor." However, the annex to Order No. 16 of 27 May 1969 contains a list of work prohibited to minors.
According to article 86-1 of the Labour Code, moreover, "Minors may not be employed in any enterprise, even as apprentices, before the age of 14, except as otherwise provided by order of the Minister of Labour in the light of local circumstances and the work that may be required of them." On 14 April 1998, Cameroon adopted a law authorizing the President of the Republic to ratify ILO Convention No. 138 on the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment and thus considers that the minimum age for admission to employment or work is 14 years, in accordance with its domestic legislation.
Minimum age for marriage
[…] With regard to marriage and according to article 52-1 of Order No. 81/02 of 29 June 1981 on the organization of the civil register, "No marriage may be celebrated if the girl is below the age of 15 years or the boy below the age of 18 years, except under an exemption granted by the President of the Republic for serious reasons." […]
Minimum age for criminal responsibility
Since the Decree of 30 November 1928 establishing special courts and the probation system for minors, Cameroon has adopted the principle of the criminal responsibility of certain juvenile delinquents; they are not, however, indiscriminately penalized. Act No. 65/LF/24 of 12 November 1965 instituting a penal code and Act No. 67/LF/1 of 12 June 1967 containing the Penal Code introduced that colonial decree into the law applicable in independent Cameroon and established a classification of juvenile delinquents. They receive differentiated treatment according to whether they are below 10 years of age, between 10 and 14 years or between 14 and 18 years.
Minors below the age of 10 are considered as totally without responsibility; they can therefore not be tried for the acts they have committed. Cameroonian legislation considers this category of minors as completely lacking in discernment. They can therefore never be handed over to the Public Prosecutor’s Office or brought before a judge for sentencing. The parents alone can be sentenced to provide compensation for the harm caused to the victim pursuant to the rules relating to civil liability.
A child between the age of 10 and 14 is criminally responsible; however, only one of the special measures provided for by the law can be imposed on him.
For minors between the ages of 14 and 18 years, the Penal Code provides for parallel measures.
Source: Right to Education