Paris-Yaoundé, 19 May 2010
On May 14, 2010, the United Nations’ Committee Against Torture released their concluding observations following the fourth periodic report presented by Cameroon. The observations largely mirror the recommendations of FIACAT and ACAT Cameroon. Specifically targeted were fundamental legal guarantees surrounding detention, conditions of detention, the systematic surveillance of private places of freedom, and the impunity that resulting from the violence of February, 2008.
The Committee is particularly concerned that, in practice, those who are detained are only rarely granted their rights under the Penal Procedure Code after their arrest. These rights include contact with family members, access to a lawyer, and the chance to consult a doctor. The committee calls on Cameroon to take urgent measures to ensure that conditions in all places of detention, including police stations, conform to the United Nations’ minimal rules for the treatment of detainees. The committee points out that living conditions in places of detention are deplorable. Prisons are experiencing overpopulation, violence between detainees, corruption (for example, in the choice of the location of cells, and the sale of medical supplies), lack of adequate food and hygiene, uncertain sanitation, absence of adequate health care, and violations of the right to visits. Moreover, certain defendants are not freed until they have already served longer than their prison sentence.
In the matter of the repression of the demonstrations of February 2008, the Committee recommends the opening of a comprehensive investigation concerning these events that is independent and in depth. It also asks the authorities to publish the report on the inquires that it affirms having led and to submit a copy to the Committee for evaluation. The Committee directs Cameroon to initiate prompt, impartial, and exhaustive inquiries on the subject of the allegations of extrajudicial executions and acts of torture and cruel inhuman, or degrading treatment committed by the forces trying to keep order. Officials in Cameroon must ensure that the responsible parties are brought to justice and given appropriate punishment.
FIACAT and ACAT Cameroon call on the Cameroon Government to put in place the concrete recommendations addressed to them by the Committee Against Torture without delay.
Nathalie Jeannin- FIACAT Permanent Representative to the United Nations
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