Organized by the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Bamenda, this One Day Workshop took place on Tuesday the 29th of April 2014 at the Paul VI Memorial Pastoral Centre, Bamendakwe.
Key facilitators during this workshop were Mr. Chungsi Joseph of the Center for Human Rights and Peace Advocacy (CHRAPA), Mr. Ndi Nelson, Secretary for the Regional Commission for Human Rights, North West, and General Tiwa Jonas, Superintendent of the Bamenda Central Prison.
Participants came from the 05 prisons that fall within the Archdiocese of Bamenda namely; the Bamenda Central Prison, and the Ndop, Fundong, Mbengwi and Wum Principal Prisons.
It had as objectives;
- To provide information on International Human Rights Standards relevant to the work of prison personnel;
- To encourage the development of skills necessary to transform that information into practical behaviour;
- To sensitize prison personnel on their particular role in promoting and protecting human rights in their daily work;
- To reinforce prison personnel’s respect for, and faith in human dignity and fundamental human rights.
This was globally to enable participants in particular and the population of the Archdiocese in general to reshape their thoughts of prisons/inmates as bad places/people, thereby working in a consensus to promote the respect of the rights of inmates.
Highlights of modules presented in the workshop:
A) AN INTRODUCTION TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND PRISONS, taken by Mr. Chungsi Joseph
Here, participants were enlightened on some Human Rights Instruments. Amongst them were;
- The Charter of the United Nations Organization
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- International Treaties: Covenants and Conventions
Participants were encouraged to find time to carefully study no only the laws of the Cameroon on Prison Administration and Care for inmates, but also relevant international laws.
B) MAKING PRISONS SAFE PLACES, taken by Mr. Ndi Nelson
In this module, the concepts of prisons, imprisonment and the purpose of imprisonment were reviewed. More so, the factors that make prisons unsafe were examined and strategies to make prisons safe places were formulated. The Minimum Standards Regulating Life in Prison and the duties of each stakeholder involved in prisons were also highlighted.
C) THE ADMINISTRATION OF PRISONS AND PRISON PERSONNEL, taken by General Tiwa Jonas
A brief history of Prison Administration in Cameroon, and the Nature and Structure of the Prison Personnel were explained. More so, Prison personnel were also clarified on their Rights and Obligations, while also emphasizing on the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, The International Convention against Torture and The Code of Conduct for the People Responsible for the Execution of Laws.
These modules were interspersed with discussions, questions and answers, individual and group works.At the end of the workshop, participants per prison came up with action plans on short and long term actions to be put in place in order to improve on the situation of their respective prisons and inmates.