Volume 6, Special Issue, October 2016 Juridical Tribune
Yet, as Professor Bernard Audit pointed out, ‘a well organised international
society should enact the status of foreigners applicable in all countries, without
prejudice of a more favourable arrangement by agreement, or even by voluntary
concession of the host country’
. But, looking at it on one hand, the rise of
nationalism is greatly due to migratory phenomena and on the other hand,
regarding economic considerations, we can assert without doubt that concerning
this matter, we are not drawing close to a universal agreement.
According to Article 2 of law n°97/012 of 10 January 1997 in relation to
the entry, sojourn and exit conditions for foreigners in Cameroon,‘...a foreigner is
without a Cameroonian nationality;
with a foreign nationality;
Or, with no nationality’
In Cameroon law, a foreigner is that individual with a foreign nationality or
still, without any nationality. Nationality, it should be recalled, ‘is the political and
legal link that unites individuals to a state that constitutes the national community
and gives to the subjects the status of being members of the state’
. Finally, two
categories of people are concerned with the status of foreigners in Cameroon:
holders of foreign passports and stateless persons.
It is generally admitted that whatever be the societal forms, the foreigner is
always treated differently from the national. Foreigners do not enjoy the same
rights as the nationals, and are not assigned either to the same task
. Cheikh Anta
Diop demonstrated in his book, l'Afrique noire précoloniale, that this distinction in
treatment dates back from the ancient city. Indeed, it reads thus that, ‘patriotism, so
characteristic of ancient Rome and Greece, is understandable because the society
had not made provisions for foreigners who, because of this was the n°1 enemy,
without rights, who could have been killed with impunity, whose look only, soiled
. The foreigner, culturally different from the national, is seen as
an enigma and so making it sometimes difficult to predict their behaviour. In
modern societies, this feeling of strangeness grew with security constraints in spite
of the influence of fundamental rights.
Beyond these considerations, the status of foreigners today meets a
‘minimum standard’; for, as the International Court of Justice pointed out in the
Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Company Limited Case, ‘from the time a
State admits on its territory (...) foreign nationals, (...) it has the duty to grant them
the protection of the law and assume certain obligations as to their treatment’.
Audit B., Droit international privé, Paris, 6th ed., Economica 2010, n°1048, p. 884.
Loussouarn Y. et Bourel P., Droit international privé, 2nd éd., Dalloz, 1980, n°704, P. 788.
About the historic background of the statu s of foreigners, read for example, Loussouarn Y. and
Bourel P., op. cit., p.754 and s.
Cheikh Anta Diop, L'Afrique noire précoloniale, Présence Africaine, Second ed.,1987, p. 26.
Order, C.I.J. Rec. 1970, p.3; On the protection of the foreigners' properties, v. CPJI avis n°7, prec.
Bindschedler, La protection de la propriété privée en droit international public, RCADI, 1956,
1.173; Petrén, La confiscation des bien etrangers et les reclamations interna tionales auxquelles
elle peut donner lieu, RCADI, 1963, 11. 847.