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Contra Nocendi condemns the refusal of bail of two transgender women in Douala

Contra Nocendi International has learned of the denial of bail of two transgender women in detained at the New Bell prison in Douala, Cameroon since February 9, 2021. The two transgender women Mildred Loic (Shakiro) and Moute Rolland (Patricia) were arrested by gendarmerie officers (a paramilitary unit) at the Nkoulouloun neighbourhood of Douala, based on allegations of homosexuality.

We are deeply saddened by the refusal to grant bail in a misdemeanour offence punished with “…imprisonment for from six months to five years and a fine of from CFAF 20000 to CFAF 200000”. We are afraid that the refusal of bail in this case is an extreme measure meant to physically and psychologically wear down the detainees.

Bail is predicated on the presumption of innocence, a fundamental principle of human rights which holds that every suspect or accused person is presumed innocent until guilt is established by a fair trial. Cameroon’s constitution and the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) recognise this fundamental principle. According to the preamble of Cameroon’s constitution ‘every accused person is presumed innocent until found guilty during a hearing conducted in strict compliance with the right of defence.’ Meanwhile, Section 8 of the CPC replicates this provision and its application to every suspect, defendant and accused persons.

Cameroon has ratified several human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) which engage the responsibility of the state to guarantee the protection of the right to personal liberty. This protection guarantees inter alia, the right to be released on bail and to a trial ‘without delay’.

Denying the suspects bail in the current circumstances deprives them of these fundamental due process guarantees.

We are equally concerned by their continued detention under unfavourable conditions. The delay in commencing trial while refusing to grant bail deprives the suspects of the right to fair hearing.

We join human rights activists in Africa and around the world to call for their immediate release.

CNI condemns arrest and detention of transgender women in Douala

Contra Nocendi International has been made aware of the detention of two transgender women in Douala, Cameroon on 9 February 2021. The two transgender women Mildred Loic (Shakiro) and Moute Rolland (Patricia) were arrested by gendarmerie officers (a paramilitary unit) at the Nkoulouloun neighbourhood of Douala, based on allegations of homosexuality.

Mildred Loic (Shakiro) and Moute Rolland (Patricia)

Their arrest has gone viral because of how they were publicly paraded and videos shared on social media. Shakiro and Patricia are currently in pre-trial detention at the notorious New Bell prison where they are allegedly being subjected to torture and verbal abuse by prison guards and other prisoners. 

We received reports that the two women were questioned about their sexual orientation and coerced to sign a confession without allowing them to review their statement. They are said to have spent the night in a gendarmarie cell with more than 30 men in a 10-square-meter space where many detainees had to sleep on the floor.

Law Students Get Real World Human Rights Experience, through Partnership launched in 2019 between Contra Nocendi International & University of Grenoble Law Clinic

For the second year in a row, Contra Nocendi International (CNI) is partnering with the University of Grenoble, France’s Law Faculty – Clinique juridique en droit des libertés (Clinidoit) to give future law graduates real-world experience in human rights law. Graduate students are researching, documenting and reporting on the human rights situation in Cameroon, CNI’s focus country.  

Théo Abadie, Pauline Gilbert, Jade Gunther, Flore Jayet and Zelda Montville are the five University of Grenoble law students engaged in this year’s project, managed by CNI’s Farah Jerrari.

Next-gen human rights defenders need more than classroom experience. That’s why this unique partnership is giving future lawyers a glimpse into actual case studies in the field, and an opportunity to lend their voice to proposed legal recommendations and reforms.

Contra Nocendi International commemorates Holocaust Remembrance Day

The 27th of January marks the international day in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The date commemorates the day that Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated, 76 years ago today.

It is a day to remember and honour those who lost their lives to the holocaust and suffered as a result of this horrible part of human history, but also those who have been victims of atrocities and acts of genocide since. We must never forget them. It is a day to remember our collective responsibility to prevent such tragedy from happening to others. Protecting their memory includes making real efforts to stop such atrocities from happening again.

On this day, Contra Nocendi International wish to reassert our commitment to upholding the dignity and worth of all human beings and the equal enjoyment of human rights for everyone.

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