News

Contra Nocendi marks Pre-Trial Detention in Africa Day

As we mark Pre-trial Detention in Africa Day this year, we are mindful of the fact that arbitrary pre-trial detention is still a serious problem around the globe and in Africa. Our work with Contra Nocendi Cameroon has shown serious concerns about arbitrary detention, especially in the Southwest and Northwest regions. The issue of arbitrary and prolonged pre-trial detention in the Southwest and Northwest regions is of particular concern to us.

 

The use of pre-trial detention must take into account the rights of a person to a speedy trial and the right to not be arbitrarily detained. It must also be remembered that people held on pre-trial detention are being deprived of their liberty without being convicted of a crime. While there can be lawful pre-trial detentions, the prolonged and arbitrary detentions we have witnessed in Cameroon is truly unacceptable.

 

Contra Nocendi Cameroon successfully represented a man who had been held in pre-trial detention for over two years without a trial. This was despite the fact that had he been convicted of the crime he was alleged to have committed, the maximum sentence is one year. Unfortunately for far too many people in Cameroon, this story is not a outlier, but instead, it is an example of the suffering of far too many.

 

On this Pre-Trial Detention in Africa Day, we call on the authorities of Cameroon to respect the right to a speedy trial and the right to not be held in detention arbitrarily. These rights are enshrined in human rights and in Cameroonian domestic law. It is time to stop the needless suffering of far too many Cameroonians.

Contra Nocendi deeply concerned by attack in Buea

Contra Nocendi International is deeply concerned about an incident that occurred in Buea, Cameroon on 6 February 2019. In the early morning hours armed militants entered a neighbourhood in Buea at around 3am. They spent the next three hours firing automatic weapons into the area and burning several vehicles, including taxis and private cars. The incident, understandably, startled the residents of the neighbourhood. Approximately an hour after the militants left, security forces entered the neighbourhood and started what has been reported as mass arrests.

 

We are deeply troubled by this report and condemn the use of force and fear tactics by the armed militants. The destruction of private property, the use of automatic weapons and the timing of the incident leads us to believe that the aim of the event was to strike fear in the neighbourhood. This was done clearly without regard to the rights or safety of the people of the neighbourhood. The government of Cameroon must take steps to protect the local population from such acts of violence.

 

We are also concerned by the report of the conduct of security forces in which members of the security forces reportedly acted without regard for whether detained persons had any real link the attack the security forces were responding to. Such haphazard approaches tend to not take proper regard for the rights of the individuals in question and can lead to mistrust in the security services on the part of the local population. Many innocent civilians in the predominately English speaking regions are being caught between the violence of the non-state actors and violence of security forces. Security forces must recognize this and take the opportunity to correct their approach. Citizens should be looking to their security services for protection and not hiding from them in fear.

Cameroon women’s team to represent Africa in world cup 2019

Cameroon’s women’s football team will soon be participating in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in France. The team was one of the three from Africa that qualified to represent the continent in the coveted world football championship. 

Cameroon’s team qualified after they emerged among the top three in the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations conducted by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in Ghana between November 17 and December 1 last year. The other two teams that have qualified for the FIFA world cup along with Cameroon are South Africa and Nigeria.  

The team made it to the top three teams after defeating Mali in the match to secure the third place. The FIFA world cup for women will be held coming June. 

Cameroon had won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations. Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon congratulate the team on their feat and wish them the very best in France as they compete in the World Cup this summer.  

Cameroon: It is past time to ratify the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

On 1 October 2008, the Republic of Cameroon took the noble step of signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention was a vital step forward in the promotion of the rights and basic human dignity of persons with disabilities around the globe. It has been over 10 years since Cameroon signed the Convention and it still has not ratified the Convention. 10 years is far too long of a wait for Cameroonians with disabilities. The government of Cameroon must show its commitment to the rights of its citizens with disabilities and ratify the Convention.

 

The Convention itself aims “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity”. These are indispensable rights and should be seen as a positive advancement to the human rights situation in any country that ratifies and domestically implements the Convention. The Convention deals with practical matters such as facilitating effective means of communications for persons with disability so that they can communicate and receive information. The ability to communicate is part of what makes human being so unique and special. It is something that we should facilitate for all persons.

 

Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon call upon the government of Cameroon to take steps to promote the rights of persons with disabilities and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

New Contra Nocendi report on migration

10 December 2018

 

As part of our celebration of human rights day, Contra Nocendi International is published its report on the EU Migration Partnership Agreements. We hope that our first in a series of reports will shed light on the practicalities of the partnership agreements and show that there is quite clearly some serious concerns about the lack of due regard for human rights on the part of the European Union. Whether it is a question of respect for international legal norms or looking at the issue of these partnerships with the EU as a future High Contracting Party to the European Convention on Human Rights, it is quite clear that the EU is falling short and must remember that these people are people with inalienable human rights and not just statistical figures.

 

In this report we looked at the issue through the lens of drivers of migration flows from African Union Member States into European Union Member States. We tracked the main migration routes and looked at European Union behaviour at large as well as European Union behaviour in engaging African Union Member States. We were deeply concerned with what appeared to be a preventive stance and an also policing stance on migration into the EU with limited regard to human rights. As our report lays out, the EU partnership agreements with hosting states in the African Union are seriously concerning and at times have limited transparency and accountability. There are concerns that metrics in which these agreements are measured in terms of success do not include human rights concerns of migrants.

 

As we celebrate human rights day today, we will always be mindful of the human price paid for migration policy that does not take proper regard for the human rights and human dignity of migrants.

 

The report can be downloaded here

Contra Nocendi statement on the kidnapping of children from PSS Nkwen

Contra Nocendi welcomes with great relief the news of the release of the 79 children abducted from PSS Nkwen Bamenda. We have expressed our disgust for this act which amounts to a serious violation of international human rights and international humanitarian law. The idea that it is ever acceptable to kidnap children is unequivocally wrong. These children were at a boarding school to be educated and put in a position to have better opportunities in life. Instead their rights have been unquestionably violated and their safety has been put at risk. We are unable to see the logic in such behaviour. Ripping children from their beds in their dorms is not heroic. It is a cowardly act.

Contra Nocendi has in the past repeatedly condemned the use of children as pawns and strongly advocated for the respect of children’s right to access to education. We stand by this declaration and have in the past defended our position. We are guided by the firm believe that children who represent one of most vulnerable groups in every society need special protection from harm. We are equally guided by the array of international laws including IHRL and IHL and the near global support for children’s right specifically their right to education. The collective international condemnation of the recent abductions speaks to this.  We have reiterated the fact that the international community frowns at actions that threaten children’s access to education. We have previously shared the view that very few in this current age will remain indifferent to the plight of children of school going age being forcefully deprived of education. That no entity or party in any conflict is likely to gain credibility in the eyes of the international community for depriving children from education.

Some NGOs have raised concerns about the age of the children that were abducted in terms of them potentially being used in the future as child soldiers. We remind anyone wishing to induce children to join an armed group and/or to induce children to directly participate in hostilities are acting in a manner inconsistent with international law. Doing so during an armed conflict, regardless of the character of said conflict, is a violation of international humanitarian law and is a war crime.

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