On Monday 22 August 2011, a young nurturing mother and her 1-year-3-months-old baby were detained for three days without a bed to sleep on in the Second Police District in Bamenda. The mother and child were held for 72 hours under deplorable conditi
ons without charge – in violation of Section 119(2a) of the Criminal Procedure Code of law No. 2005/007 of 27 July 2005, which provides that “the time allowed for remand in custody shall not exceed 48 hours renewable once.”
The young mother, identified by Civitas as Emmanuella, was sent by a friend to collect on her behalf a sum of 32,000 CFA from a third party. The struggling mother collected the money and used 17,500 CFA out of the money to pay
her house rents which was overdue. The landlord was threatening to throw her out, together with her two kids, should she fail to pay the pending rents. Fearing for the well-being of her children and herself, she used part of her friend's money to pay her rents.
Unable to repay her friend, she was arrested and detained with her baby in the Second Police District.
For three days, the mother and child had no bed to sleep on. They were forced by circumstances to sleep on a narrow wooden bench and had no toiletries or other basic necessities needed by a nurturing mother and a baby.
When she was discovered by Civitas on 25 August 2011, she was soaked in her baby's urine.
Civitas condemns the detention of a mother and a 1-year-3-months-old baby under poor conditions without basic necessities and in violation of the Criminal Procedure Code and international human rights standards.
Article 37(b) of the Convention of the Child (CRC) to which Cameroon is party states that no child shall be unlawfully or arbitrarily deprived of his or her liberty and that the detention of a child shall be in conformity with the law. A child shall be detained only as a “last resort” and for the “shortest appropriate period of time”. Article 37(d) states that a detained child shall have the right to “prompt” legal and other assistance. The circumstances under which Emmanuella and her baby were detained also violated Article 10(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which states that “all persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”.
With the intervention of Civitas, Emmanuella was released
on 25 August 2011.