Many individuals across Cameroon are suffering. But the lack of access of justice also has wide-ranging implications for our society as a whole. Our findings recently carried out shows that below 20% of Cameroonians we have talked to believe the justice system works well for citizens and 8 % believe it’s possible for people on low incomes to access justice. More so, one on ten Cameroonian ignores the law on legal aid and the possibility to have access to justice through legal aid.
Legal Aid is an established alternative to the regular course of obtaining justice in Cameroon backed by law. However, prisons and cells in Cameroon are overflowing with persons who do not know of other alternatives to obtain justice from the legal system. In the Buea Central Prison for example, as noticed by recent visit made by some Human Is Right staff, a great number of inmates are either locked up beyond their sentences, imprisoned for offenses which do not warrant imprisonment or simply awaiting trials for periods exceedingly longer than necessary. Ignorance on their parts and on the part of their families is the most important factor keeping them in prison unjustly, causing these persons to suffer in silence. Aside from the prison system, people also face injustices in society without redress which can be attributed to the fact that they are not informed of other avenues which they could use to obtain justice hence the need for activities such as workshops , seminars and training sessions to inform persons about their rights and means available to them.
In line with the Human Is Right advocacy objective, to promote and protect human rights and to ensure that human rights violations are redressed, Human Is Right Cameroon organised a workshop entitled “Facilitating Access to Justice Through Legal Aid – Educating Local Communities on the Possibilities for Obtaining Legal Aid” at Boana village which is a small rural locality in Fako Division, South West Region of Cameroon made up mostly of farmers and people from low income background.