FEDEV Drills Legal Minds On Torture: Human Rights

An aspect of human rights.
By Tembe Ophilia E.
Making up a majority of the resource persons, FEDEV participates in a three days workshops organized by the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA). The workshop is aimed at improving Human Rights protection in the conflict-affected regions of Cameroon. In the midst of more than 20 legal minds in Bamenda, the Foundation for Environment and Development drilled them on torture in Cameroonian law, the different forms of torture, and how to prove torture.

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Speaking on torture in Cameroonian law, Barrister Nchunu Justice Sama contextually defines torture as the infliction of intense pain to the body or mind to punish, extract information, or obtain sadistic pleasure. He states that respecting an order from an official does not justify torture. Political instability is not a justification for torture. Listing a number of sanctions against torture, he adds that the punishment when it leads to death is life imprisonment. The Cameroon law of 1996 as amended is the freedom from torture.

Picture of Nchunu.

The FEDEV executive director respond to worries raised by revealing some universal human rights instruments that prohibit torture in Cameroon. He equally reveals that the criminal law limits us and that an act by a private person to another relates to the act of torture, drawing the line between what the penal code says and issues of fundamental human rights. The legal mind concludes, there is no justification for an act of torture according to article two of the United Nations Convention. In an event of an account tribunal, it is none degradable.


In a one-hour presentation, Barrister Tamon Olivia Mah talks about what constitutes torture. She equally elaborates on the material element which could be physical, psychological, and sexual with its effects. She equally expatiates on how to prove torture as a lawyer.


As human rights bodies, it is important to document aspects of human rights torture. No solution should be expected soon for it. Torture is a crime against humanity. There are sanctions for disrespecting dictatorial order and not acts of torture.

“…the workshop was held at this time in the northwest as a result of the ongoing conflict. Our target is lawyers who are trained on how to carry out legal assistance to survivors of torture. This is to improve the human rights protection of persons in the northwest and the southwest region. Reduce the rate of human rights violation within the conflict”. Dr Fokom Violate is the Executive Director of the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa.

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Some participants expressed satisfaction after the workshop.“I have realized that most of the victims of torture suffer because of a lack of courage from some of them lawyers who are negligent to follow up on cases because of fear for one reason or the other. As a lawyer, he learned that there is so much on them as advocates of human rights. He has to go the extra mile to assist victims of torture”. Barrister Sama Henry of Deputy Law Chambers.

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