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Enforced disappearance is a global problem and it needs to stop

As the United Nations marks the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, Contra Nocendi Cameroon and Contra Nocendi International draw attention to the fact that enforced disappearances of people is a huge, widespread and global issue requiring urgent attention.  

The day has been observed on August 30 every year, starting on 2011.   

According to the UN, enforced disappearances has been used as a tactic to create and spread terror in societies and it not only affects the close relatives of those who go missing, but their community as a whole. It used to be seen only in military dictatorships but now it is becoming increasingly common in conflict zones around the world with the forced disappearance of opponents being used as a tool for political control.  

There are three main concerns with this year’s international day against enforced disappearance: the harassment of human rights defenders, relatives of the victims, witnesses and legal counsel working on such cases, the states using counter-terrorist activities as an excuse for breaching their obligations, and how perpetrators get away without being punished for causing enforced disappearances.  

Contra Nocendi supports the UN in drawing attention to these concerns and in also giving special focus to vulnerable groups like children and people with disabilities. We also urge all the countries to provide the affected families with access to look into the cases of disappearance, and investigate them thoroughly and impartially and also provide the victims’ families with remedies.  

Contra Nocendi observes the International Day of Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

Today is the international day established by the UNESCO to “inscribe the tragedy of the slave trade in the memory of all peoples.” At Contra Nocendi we wish to observe this day to take note of the history behind slave trade and analyse the way it has influenced the relations between Africa, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas.  

The UNESCO has also marked this day as an opportunity to consider the consequences of the slave trade, which was a great tragedy with the inhumane trafficking and indiscriminate human rights abuse of people from various parts of the African continent. The UNESCO has invited the Ministers of Culture of all Member States to observe this day every year by conducting events by involving its people especially youngsters, educators, artists and intellectuals.  

The intervening night of August 22 and 23rd in 1791 was the day an uprising began in Santo Domingo located in today’s Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The slave rebels in this revolution played a crucial role in eventually abolishing the transatlantic slave trade and hence the UNESCO has chosen August 23rd to commemorate the role of this landmark in history.  

On this day, Contra Nocendi reflects on salutes the contributions of several important characters in the history of abolition who fought to win back the human rights of people who were caught and faced abuse and torture along the various slave routes between Africa’s west coast and countries and colonies in Europe and the Americas.  

Contra Nocendi stands up for the rights of victims on the first International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism

On the International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, we at Contra Nocendi take a moment to remember all the people who are struggling to get their voices heard after being harmed and violated by terrorist attacks around the world. The international day is being marked for the first time in 2018.  

The United Nations has recognized August 21 as the annual day to remember the victims of terrorism in five of its Member States Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Somalia and Syria.  

Terrorism is one of the most gruesome and difficult issue that the world is facing currently. Not only is it posing a threat to world peace, it is destroying millions of lives around the world with the growing number of attacks. The UN has recognized that victims of terrorism find themselves forgotten and neglected and, their voices ignored as soon as the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack passes. Such neglect has deep consequences for the victims, who have several medium and long-term needs that must be met in order to completely recover and get back to being part of the society.  

On this day, Contra Nocendi Cameroon and Contra Nocendi International recognize the needs of terrorism victims and the support they require to recover physically, emotionally, socially and financially to heal and live a life of dignity. Contra Nocendi also upholds the human rights of the victims and supports all stakeholders working toward promoting, protecting and respecting their rights.  

According to the UN’s sixth review resolution, it is important to build the resilience of victims and their families by providing them with support and assistance immediately after a terrorist attack. This is a very important step in the long term, to recognize that resilient victims are less vulnerable to attacks and could heal and recover sooner after suffering an attack.  

At Contra Nocendi, we recognize and support all the needs of terrorism victims and stand in solidarity with them and their families and all communities that are plagued with wars and violence globally.  

Contra Nocendi marks World Humanitarian Day

Contra Nocendi Cameroon and Contra Nocendi International stand up to take note of World Humanitarian Day. The day signifies the great work and contributions made by aid workers who risk their lives in pursuit of humanitarian services and garner support for people suffering in crisis situations and crossfires around the world.  

Contra Nocendi also endorses the campaign theme for this year’s World Humanitarian Day, which is the #NotATarget movement, whereby world leaders are being urged to do their best to protect civilians caught in armed conflicts around the world.   

While marking this important day, the United Nations also draws attention to people living in cities and towns who don’t have access to food, water and a roof over their heads because of the fighting going on in their regions, because of which they are also displaced from their homes. War situations are badly affecting women and children in several countries, with children being recruited to fight and women being assaulted and humiliated endlessly. When humanitarian workers try to deliver help in the form of aid and medical workers tend to the wounded and sick they face threats, and are not allowed to bring relief to the badly affected victims.  

Workers in such regions, against all odds, struggle to provide aid to those in need. But they continue to suffer from violence and attacks and we acknowledge their sacrifice on this important day.  

Contra Nocendi stands up to support these workers trying their best to alleviate the pains of victims in conflict zones globally, as they put their lives on line to help fellow human beings. We stand up not only for civilians, but also for people with disabilities, migrants, journalists and the elderly too.  

On this day, we also call on the global community, especially leaders to protect and safeguard the interests of people caught in armed conflict, and we would like to assert that civilians are #NotATarget.  

Contra Nocendi submits joint letter on draft guidelines on right to water in Africa

Contra Nocendi International and its independent section, Contra Nocendi Cameroon, have submitted a joint letter expressing their collective views on the Draft Guidelines on the Right to Water in Africa. The Draft Guidelines, which are the result of extensive consultations conducted by the  African Commission’s Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Africa, are a needed effort to bring greater clarity on the law in relation to the right to water in Africa.

 

The joint letter focused on expressing the need for greater clarity on the issue of access to water for vulnerable groups and rights-based approaches to the right to water. Contra Nocendi re-iterated its stance on the inclusion of the respect of sexual orientation and gender identity expression as an indispensable part of the prohibition of discrimination. While noting the lack of expressed inclusion of SOGIE rights in the Draft Guidelines, CNI and CNC praised the collective leadership on SOGIE rights on the part of the Commission and its mandate holders, and encourage this brave leadership to continue and be included on the issue of the right to water.

 

Contra Nocendi also expressed its continuing gratitude towards the Commission and its mandate holders for continuing to provide public consultations on such matters. CNI and CNC also continued to re-iterate their continued support of the Commission and collective respect for their efforts in promoting the practical effectiveness of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

Contra Nocendi marks international day in support of victims of torture

As we mark the international day in support of victims of torture, We at Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon wish to re-iterate our support for victims of torture. Both organisations have vigorously supported victims of torture while advocating for more steps to be taken to prevent torture and more steps to be taken to hold perpetrators of torture accountable. This is a fight we will continue and do so with pride.

 

Earlier this year, Contra Nocendi Cameroon staff were involved in an intervention to help a minor held in pre-trial detention in Buea. The young man showed signs of physical trauma that truly troubled our experienced lawyers, but unfortunately CN Cameroon’s staff have seen issues like this before. His suffering was such that he was transferred from detention to a hospital. While we are unbelievably proud that the intervention led to the release of this young man, he should have never be exposed to such torture in the first place.

 

As part of the Universal Periodic Review for Cameroon, Contra Nocendi Cameroon and Contra Nocendi International called on the government of Cameroon to establish an independent mechanism for the prevention of torture. We will continue to push the government of Cameroon to take active steps to provide practical and durable protections against torture.

 

On this day, we tell all victims of torture that we hear you and we will continue to fight for you.

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