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This chapter provides a brief historical background and a description of major events in Cameroon. It also provides basic political, economic, and social data arranged in the following categories: polity, economy, population, purchasing power parities, life expectancy, ethnic groups, capital, political rights, civil liberties, and status. The chapter discusses the progress and decline of political rights and civil liberties in Cameroon. Cameroon's human rights record came under international scrutiny in 2001, when nine young men disappeared after being detained by a notorious anticrime squad called the Operational Command. Although Cameroon's constitution provides for a multiparty republic, citizens have not been allowed to choose their government and local leaders by democratic means. Cameroon's courts remain highly subject to political influence and corruption. Numerous nongovernmental organizations generally operate without hindrance. Various intelligence agencies operate with impunity, and opposition activists are often held without charges or disappear while in custody.