ISHR Cameroon Section and FHRD Activity Report 2008/2009
The 2008/2009 Bi-Annual Activity Report
MUJEM FOMBAD Esq.
FHRD Executive president
Mujem Fombad Esq., Barrister-of-Law, Secretary General of the ISHR Cameroon
Afanyi Ngeh, Researcher, FHRD Executive president.
Map of Cameroon
January 11th 2008 the two groups held a working session to spell out the state of the relationship that will bind them henceforth. At the meeting, it was agreed that the partnership between the two does not in any way dissolve their ability to carry out individual projects or activities. It was also agreed that the two shall work together to ensure that a culture of genuine human rights, access to justice and a fight against corruption is jointly conducted in Cameroon.
ISHR/FHRD organized reflections on the National Youth Day celebrations. Its activities were focused around building the consciousness of patriotism in secondary school students. The lectures held in four Secondary Schools were geared to building, in the young students, love for their country, civic responsibility and the desire to be leaders in their country. The programme was in line with the ISHR leadership goals that seek to gradually build a new breed of leaders who will serve the nation rather than letting the nation serve them.
The ISHR/FHRD deployed four of its volunteers around the student residential quarters and the University study environment. The information sought was related to the perception of students and the university community on bribery and corruption at Cameroons higher institutions of learning.
On the 8th of June 2008, the FHRD opened a special Anti-corruption register at The Bernard Fonlon Research Centre in Yaoundé Cameroon. ISHR associated itself with the goals of the register. The aim of the register is to educate the public on how to denounce and record cases of bribery and corruption for consideration by CONAC (National anti corruption commission) –which has been created by the Republic of Cameroon to fight against corruption. As agreed in the leadership meeting which authorized this operation, members of the public and especially victims of bribery and corruption could use a special anti-corruption hotline, present cases in writing or verbally.
By the end of July, the ISHR/FHRD noticed that the time and resources put in through the radio, posters and banners did not yield the desired results. Why? The ISHR/FHRD field investigators noticed that while there are persons who have suffered from abuse in the area of bribery and corruption, they are nevertheless not ready to denounce the perpetrators. They preferred to suffer in silence. Moreover there are those who after suffering from the effects of bribery and corruption, prefer to try again the following year. Those who lost money preferred to try it all over again than report the sales agents.
Also, between the months of May and June, very many students who registered for exams registered for private classes in Yaoundé. The sales agents frequented some of these schools looking for potential buyers.
On the 22nd of June 2008, the ISHR/FHRD had a meeting with students and youth leaders working in the area of education, human rights, governance, peace, development, and related subjects. The meeting was aimed at mapping out strategies on how these groups could develop a common response to the different levels and forms of corruption plaguing the educational sector. Very few of the invited groups turned up.
However, the ISHR/FHRD had fruitful discussions with those who attended. Collectively those present committed themselves to join morally and actively in the fight against corruption being led by His Excellency the Head of State President Paul BIYA. They decided to meet regularly and share ideas on progress on the ground and to share information.
This first ever meeting scheduled the very First National Ecumenical Night Vigil to Pray for Peace and Security in Cameroon and to commit the Fight Against Corruption to the Holy Trinity at the St. Anne parish Obili. Parish Church.
The ISHR/FHRD held a two day meeting (13-14 of August) on Youth and Good Governance with the students and youths of Akum Village in the Santa Sub-division of the North West Province (Bamenda).
August 24th saw the publication of the Interim Report on "The State of Bribery and Corruption" in Cameroon's Training Institutions and on Direct Recruitment into the Public Service. The presentation coincided with ISHR/FHRD activities marking the 22nd anniversary of the departure of Professor Bernard Fonlon and the Lake Nyos Gas disaster.
As a prelude to the ISHR/FHRD report publication, the Executive President of FHRD was interviewed over the National Radio station (CRTV) during its weekly magazine Programme known as 'Cameroon Calling'.
The FHRD deployed investigators around Government Primary schools and colleges to monitor the level of corruption in the recruitment of pupils and students. It was found that this sector also records some cases of corruption.
The ISHR/FHRD held a Public Lecture on "Human Rights and International Terrorism". The purpose was to raise awareness on the threat posed by terrorism on human rights and on state sovereignty. The lecture was followed by a candlelight memorial in honour of the victims of 9/11 in the USA.
The ISHR/FHRD held a workshop for trainers on teaching human rights and citizenship in private schools at the FHRD headquarters (7th October).
The ISHR/FHRD had an open day with freshmen and women into the University of Yaoundé I. The purpose was to present to the students the services offered by the ISHR/FHRD via its research centre.
The ISHR/FHRD also celebrated United Nations Day on October 24th with a Lecture to secondary school students on "The importance of the United Nations".
The ISHR/FHRD held a seminar for 30 youths from six secondary schools in Yaoundé on Human rights, good governance and citizenship. The main facilitator was the FHRD President and its Director of Field Studies and the Secretary General of ISHR - Cameroon.
ISHR/FHRD held a night of prayer for Cameroon, the Head of State and the Government.
ISHR/FHRD held a workshop with 20 youths on 2Youths and Volunteerism" at the Bernard Fonlon Research Centre.
The Month started with ISHR/FHRD education for students on the Human Rights Issues involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The ISHR/FHRD held an Annual evaluation meeting.
The ISHR/FHRD held a Workshop on "Corruption and Education in Cameroon" to mark the international Day for the Fight against Corruption on December 9th.
The ISHR/FHRD had a public lecture at the St. Anne hall Obili on the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many brochures on the UN declaration on Human Rights were distributed. The lecture was part of the ISHR/FHRD routine education on human rights. During the discussion, Barrister Fombad called on the audience to defend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and uphold and respect its goals and values in Cameroon.
Yaoundé Central Prison
A prisoner is starving in a Cameroon jail.
The ISHR/FHRD alliance organized a seminar on the New Criminal Procedure Code with Youth Groups. The meeting was held at the St Anne Hall of Chapelle Obili.
The purpose was to empower the youths with basic knowledge on the Criminal Procedure which will enable them to better fight against human rights abuse.
ISHR/FHRD held a workshop with women groups on "Access to justice." The resource person who was from ISHR Cameroon was Barrister NDAMA MBA Edward, the vice president of the Cameroon Section of ISHR.
The objective of the workshop was to train the women on the legal avenues for pursuing justice in Cameroon. The programme was part of activities marking the International Day of the Woman on March 8th.
The ISHR/FHRD visited the Yaoundé Central Prisons. The purpose of the visit was to evaluate the state of human rights in the prison.
Following the visit, it was noted that detainees suffer from a series of human rights problems. The most important is lack of access to justice for many detainees. The second was detention without trial, which was in clear contravention of Criminal Procedure. Mindful of this, the FHRD/SIDJH decided to develop a project which could facilitate easy access to justice for some of the detainees.
The ISHR/FHRD conducted unofficial visits to several detention facilities in Yaoundé. That is, the fourteen (14) Police and Gendarmerie facilities.
At these facilities, investigators noticed that several minors were illegally detained by the authorities; some were under detention because they had no money to offer. Some female detainees complained of sexual harassment even from members of the security forces.
The ISHR/FHRD held a Three Day training seminar on "Human rights and access to justice for human rights defenders." The training brought together 46 participants from the in Regions of Cameroon.
The purpose of the training was to put in place at Regional level a local defender of human rights who could be proactive in receiving human rights complaints, writing reports to the coalition formed by the ISHR/FHRD for court action. At the end of the training, participants requested that similar training should be extended to the Regions in 2009.
In August, the coalition held a two-day training session on "Corruption and Human Rights in Cameroon". The training brought together Civil Society groups working in the area of corruption and human rights. It was noticed that in spite of government efforts, corruption remains a great threat to the full enjoyment of human rights in Cameroon. The public Service of Cameroon was seen as a main engine of corruption in the country. Participants argued that what is needed is a corrective phase and not only sensitization. To this effect, participants called on the ISHR/FHRD alliance to develop a project that could help the poor and powerless to have access to justice so that perpetrators of corruption could be taken to court.
The ISHR/FHRD held an evaluation meeting of its joint activities. At the end of the meeting, it was decided that the ISHR/FHRD collation should prepare a project to meet some of the needs encountered during the various activities.
Done in Yaoundé, January 2010.