In general, the legislative framework in Cameroon offers a fair protection of Human rights. The framework was reinforced in 2007 with the entrance into force of the Criminal Procedure Code. A new disposal offering better protection regarding detention conditions is now enforceable: habeas corpus, restriction of the scope of preventive detention and custody and a new bill instituting judicial assistance in 2009. A national Action Plan for the Promotion and the Protection of Human Rights in Cameroon intends to enhance Access to Justice and the Protection of detained persons’ rights (2015-2019) The Bill 2016-7 (12th July 2016) created new alternative sentences and penalties in the Criminal Code to fight bad detention conditions and prison overcrowding. So far, the Bill is not enforceable.
In this context, vulnerable people’s rights such as the LGBTI community, women and children remain at risk.
RECAJUD aims at reinforcing the capacities of members of the entire judicial system to protect and enforce detained persons’ rights. It particularly targets vulnerable people and the promotion of alternative sentences and penalties.
Hence, RECAJUD project has two main focus:
Promotion of detained persons’ rights and handling of the most blatant cases (e.g lack of detention warrant, expiry of preventive detention duration, discrimination, etc.)
Promotion of an effective exercise of alternative sentences and penalties in relevant cases.
The project will be conducted in Bafoussam, Bamenda, Limbe/Buea and Yaoundé during 21 months with the following actions being carried out:
Training law practitioners in terms of rules which guarantee the rights of people which are deprived of their freedom, in particular members of vulnerable groups
Free legal consultations within prisons and handling of cases
Round table discussions about access to justice and alternative sentencing for people deprived of freedoms
Advocacy with the authorities for the signature of the implementation decree and/or the effective application of alternative sentencing
Awareness campaigning in regard to individuals who have been deprived of their freedom
The conduct of the RECAJUD Project will be carried out hand in hand with the national network of Human Rights organisation in Cameroon (RECODH) and Lawyers Without Borders Cameroon. The Crises and Support Center from the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs and the embassy of France in Cameroon support the project.