A new grouping of lawyers known as, Avocats sans frontieres Humanitaires du Cameroun (ASFH-Cam), loosely translated as Cameroon Humanitarian Lawyers Without Boarders recently launched its activities in the country. During the same ceremony, the pioneer national executive members of the association were officially installed.
Headed by Barrister Pelerine Tchatat, the association has as national vice president, the Limbe-based lawyer, Barrister Collins Arrey.
Other members of the executive include the Secretary General Barrister Mandeng Antoine, Assistant Secretary General Barrister Zogo Desire, Treasurer Barrister Nonnah Stephen, Assistant Treasurer Barrister Embollo Yvette, Communication Officer Barrister Mildred Bejuka, Head of Missions N0 1 Barrister Nyimedok Mirreille, Head of Missions N0 2 Barrister Batindi nee Ngongo Fernande N.
NewsWatch, Yaounde-based bi-monthly tabloid met the National Vice President of the organization after his installation and sought to know what the humanitarian organization will be doing. Barrister Arrey Collins spoke to the newspaper’s Ndi Eugene Ndi. Below are exerpts of the interview:
You’ve just been installed as National Vice President of Cameroon Humanitarian Lawyers Without Borders. What will be your priorities?
If you listened to our National President, Maitre Pelerine Tchatat, she described our task as cumbersome. If you take the 2014 report on the state of Human Rights in Cameroon by the Ministry of Justice for instance, you will agree with me that Cameroon prisons are overcrowded. Out of 25,908 inmates, there are 15,853 still awaiting trial and only 10,055 convicted. In 2015, the National Commission on Human Rights of the Cameroon Bar Council also published in its report the statistics on the basis of samples. The ambition of our association is to make its modest contribution to the resolution of this problem and as National Vice President, my role is to support the bureau and ensure I respect the decisions and directives of our National President.
Concretely what will your association be doing?
Our plan of action as presented by the Secretary General, Maitre Antoine Mandeng is in two phases; between June and December 2017, we are going to visit five prisons where we will offer legal, judicial assistance to detainees. In the long term, we plan to organise training and capacity building workshops for advocates. From the plan of action, which you also listened to the presentation, the association plans to organize an information workshop on the new Penal Code; particularly the provisions of article 417 of the Code relating to alternative penalties, an awareness-raising workshop for criminal justice actors in compliance with the laws protecting human rights and a training workshop for human rights defenders on national and international mechanisms and instruments for their protection etc. In cognizance of the fact that majority of the members within our national frame work are colleagues from the civil law system, it’s my ambition to bring on board more Common Law Colleagues in view of ensuring a true reflection of the bi-jural nature of our judicial system toward achieving our goals in protecting the rights of defenceless and the vulnerable persons within our country.
Briefly, who’s Barrister Arrey Collins?
Barrister Arrey Collins is Advocate of the Cameroon Bar Association, public Notary of the South West Regional Court of Appeal and head of Arrey & Associates Law Office in Limbe. I am also corresponding Advocate of the Metz Bar (France) at ED Office Metz. And of course, I am the pioneer National Vice President of Avocats Sans Frontières Humanitaires du Cameroun (ASFH-Cam).