News

Contra Nocendi marks International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

The pain, anguish and suffering of victims of torture does not end once the physical scars go away. On the international day in support of victims of torture, Contra Nocendi wish to express our support once again for survivors of torture and their right to reparations and rehabilitation. There is no doubt that the prohibition of torture is absolute and there is no justification for the employment of methods, acts or behaviour that inflict torture on another person. There are no circumstances in which it may be acceptable to subject another human being to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. While this prohibition is clear, so to is the fact that all victims of torture deserve our full support.

Contra Nocendi's work on detention centre monitoring and providing legal counsel to pre-trial detainees has given a first-hand glimpse at the impact torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment can have on. The impact of living in overcrowded detention centres has been a glaring and continuous issue. The living situations can become so poor that this may amount to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment. The issue of overcrowding has continued to be more acute during the covid-19 pandemic. There is much more to be done for the detention conditions to be humane. Contra Nocendi will continue to monitor the situation in detention and fight for humane detention conditions as a means to prevent torture, inhuman or degrading treatment and to promote the human dignity of all persons held in detention.

Survivors of torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment have a right to rehabilitation and reparations for what happened to them. The Guidelines and Measures for the Prohibition and Prevention of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in Africa adopted by the African Commission in 2002 underlines that the right to reparation from the state exists regardless if there is a successful criminal prosecution or not. Contra Nocendi contributed with our views during the consultation in preparation of the general comment no. 4: The Right to Redress for Victims of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Punishment or Treatment adopted by the African Commission in 2017. The general comment states that “Reparation includes restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction - including the right to the truth, and guarantees of nonrepetition.” This right is central for survivors to have a chance to heal and move forward.  

Contra Nocendi calls on all countries to respect international and regional standards and fight to eradicate torture in all its forms. We call on Cameroon and all states in Africa to support and fully implement the above-mentioned guidelines to prevent torture and offer rehabilitation and compensation for the survivors. The prohibition of torture must be practically implemented and must protect all persons from the infliction of torture.

Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon will continue our work against torture in all its forms. We remain deeply committed in our support to victims of torture and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Contra Nocendi seeks a new field researcher on women's right in Cameroon

Contra Nocendi is looking for a field researcher to support our programming on women's rights. The researcher will be based in Buea and will work with both Contra Nocendi Cameroon staff and Contra Nocendi International staff. The role is a voluntary role and the successful applicant will already have the right to work in Cameroon as no visa support can be provided for this opportunity. See below for more role particulars.

 

Job Description: Field Research Assistant (FRA), Contra Nocendi Cameroon

 

 

Brief description:

The Field Research Assistant (FRA) position for Contra Nocendi is designed to assist the research team of Contra Nocendi to gather information on the rights of women in detention at the Buea Central Prison. Ultimately, the information gathered will be used to design a project of assistance based on the needs of these women. The FRA will work with prison populations and will occasionally have to come into contact with prison and administrative authorities. The FRA will also be required to work on other projects as their supervisor deems fit. This role is a voluntary role.

 

Qualifications

  • Bachelor's degree in law or other social sciences;
  • 1-2 years previous working experience with NGOs or other civil society organizations;
  • Availability to travels to various sites within Buea, as appropriate to the objectives of the study.
  • Professional candor and respect for the proper handling of sensitive material and conversations.
  • Desirable: Previous working experience or research in women’s rights in Cameroon; have a good mastery of the Cameroon legal system and a good understanding of the functioning of the Cameroon Human Rights Commission, the state counsel, the courts and the Procureur General Services;

Tasks

To discharge their duties, The FRA should be able to perform the following tasks:

 

Data Collection: Collect, edit, process, and coordinate research as directed by supervisors. The RFA will be required to gather information, check facts, proofread, and edit research documents to ensure accuracy. They will arrange and conduct field interviews; administer surveys and distribute questionnaires; and record research data in accordance with specified protocol and procedures.

 

Data Analysis: The FRA will manage the processing of field data and ensure that all components of a given survey or questionnaire are filled. They will ensure the accuracy of data and present an analysis of the data to the principal researchers for approval.

 

Observational skills: The FRA needs to be able to work in a highly accurate manner, paying close attention to detail and keeping records of their work. Skill in identifying and recruiting research subjects as well as observing the environment and identifying situations to be avoided.

 

Communication: Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. Given the importance and sensitive nature of the tasks and information collected, the FRA must reflect emotional intelligence, friendliness, confidence, empathy, respect, open-mindedness, and compassion. Prison monitoring is sensitive and requires gender friendly approaches and good communication so as to promote the respect of the human dignity of the subjects.

 

Administrative skills: Effective time-management skills to meet project deadlines and accomplish your goals; Prepare, present, and write technical reports; Knowledge of planning and scheduling techniques; Computer data entry skills and use of programs especially MS Word and Excel

 

Deliverables

  • Initial site visit, brief report detailing first impressions of subject population and prospects for research in their opinion.
  • Design survey questions and compile questionnaire.
  • Population sampling.
  • Initial report on the state of women’s rights in the Buea Central Prison
  • Establish initial rapport with prison authorities and subjects.
  • Detailed report of findings after survey(s), to enable researchers to plot subsequent course of action.

 

Note: This role is a voluntary position without remuneration due to funding constraints. This role must also be held in Buea. Applicants must have the right to work in Cameroon.

 

To Apply: Please send a cover letter of not more than 2 pages addressing your motivation for the role and how you fit the requirements for the role along with an updated copy of your CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

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