Contra Nocendi International is Paris-based international human rights NGO dedicated to promoting human rights and the rule of law in Africa. Our focus areas are access to justice/right to counsel, rights of women, children and minorities as well as SOGIE rights, and monitoring conditions of treatment in detention. We provide direct, pro bono legal assistance to prisoners and pretrial detainees, women and children, LGBTQI+ persons, minors or any others subject to human rights abuses. Our research is shedding light on the urgent need for fair and humane treatment of detainees, and we actively support international human rights mechanisms and organizations.

Taken from Latin, Contra Nocendi means “against harm.”

As an independent, non-partisan human rights organization, we’re committed to promoting the rights of all people — irrespective of race, ethnicity, social standing, economic background, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, age, physical mobility, political or affiliation, or any other grounds prohibited by international human rights law. We believe in the right of all citizens — especially those who are underprivileged — to have access to fair legal aid and services. At the local level, our grassroots training raises awareness and improves understanding of human rights in local communities. This awareness is especially important in Cameroon, where we work, due to ongoing political and regional conflicts, as in other countries in Africa and around the world.

CNI fights for individual victims of arbitrary and/or illegal imprisonment, as well as gross violation of their fundamental human rights, who cannot afford legal counsel or otherwise lack access to external help. We have successfully represented human rights victims at the UN and the African Commission.

We have also held governments accountable for poor treatment of LGBTIQ+ persons and have intervened in the release of innocent persons held in pretrial detention.

In 2020, our legal team won release of 17-year-old Clinton Awungafac, bringing to end 1,074 days of detention in Cameroon. He was arrested without cause at age 14 in stark violation of the African Convention on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. Held for nearly three years in pretrial detention, his case never appeared before an examining magistrate. In 2015, with our legal aid 24-year-old Cameroonian Beng Pascal Ngong walked free after arrest and detention for allegedly not possessing a national identity card. These are just two examples of the cases we’ve taken on, representing the on-going human rights challenges we’re fighting to resolve.

We continue to grow and evolve with our exceptional team of lawyers, activists, academics, journalists, and volunteers all united by the singular cause of protecting human dignity.