Every Monday from 6:30 to 7:00 pm, GCI broadcasts Human Rights Hour in partnership with Lake City Radio 91.8 FM. Human Rights Hour addresses a broad range of topics, including the rule of law, women and children’s rights, workers’ rights, the media, law enforcement, prisoners’ rights, good governance, and democracy. GCI staff members, interns, and GCI-associated professionals regularly speak on the radio program, with special guests ranging from human rights activists to legal professionals, to experts on the aforementioned issues.
Since radio is the main form through which most urban and rural Cameroonians interact with the media, Human Rights Hour is an important component of GCI’s work. Broadcasting shows about human rights issues helps us effectively reach constituents that would otherwise fall outside the limits of our influence.
Below is a list of recent Human Rights Hour topics.
Show #32: Freedom of press – 6 May 2013
The freedom of press has always risen several issues. What is the role of the State? Does this freedom have to be circumscribed within definite borders? Taking the opportunity of the 3rd of May, World Press Freedom Day, GCI’s staff tried tackling such issues.
Even though the Cameroonian law provides a protection for the free press, the way for achieving a well-informed society is still far. Several mistreatments against journalists have been denounced by Amnesty International and the non-governmental medias have to be approved by a State commission.
The press is still a tool that lays in the State’s hand, but, hopefully the impact of the internet will help to move society forward.
show #31: Right to work 29 May 2013
1st May being Labor day, GCI’s staff took the opportunity to talk about the right to work. It is a holiday which takes place in more than 80 countries and it celebrates the achievements made by workers and trade unions over the years. The right to work principle protects a free access to the labor market. Nonetheless, access to the labor market is useless if the working conditions are not acceptable. A minimum standard of conditions has to be ensured by the State, guaranteeing a worthy life to any employee and his family. The Cameroonian Labor code aims to do this, determining, for instance, a minimum wage (28,246 CFA per month) and guaranteeing maternal leave (14 weeks, which may start 4 weeks before the date of confinement).
Show #30 & 31 (01 – 08/04/13): Electionwatch
With Cameroonian senatorial elections around the corner, GCI’s staff took the opportunity to talk about the right to vote, and to raise awareness about the implications of the election.
The right to vote is a fundamental right of any citizen and is one the most important tools of democracy. It allows citizens to take part in the public life of their own country and determine its future direction. The first show asked about the requirements to vote in Cameroon and discussed how the right to vote is protected at home and abroad.
The second show focused on corruption in elections. The team talked about various techniques that are used to manipulate election results, and asked how we can fight against this. Practical advice was given in regard to senatorial elections and what they mean for the political environment in Cameroon.
Show #29 (18/03/13): Freedom of Expression
The team took some time to discuss freedom of expression and its application in Cameroon. Joined once again by Barrister Elonge, the team discussed freedom of expression in theory, in Cameroonian and international law, and in practice, in the media and on the street. The international interns provided interesting insights on freedom of expression in the West.
Show #27&28 (04 – 11/03/13): Women: Roles and Rights
March 8th being International Women’s Day, GCI seized the opportunity to talk about women. Two shows were dedicated to the cause with the first being devoted to the day’s theme for that year: the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women. Psychological, social and physical violence were all discussed with a special emphasis on two practices that still occur in Cameroon: female genital mutilation and breast ironing. The second show focused on the role of women in the Cameroonian society. After a brief introduction on what Cameroonian law says about women, a debate took place about whether the role of women in Cameroon needed to change. Several arguments were put forward, ranging from culture to development and political participation, and both sides were given fair consideration.
Show #26 (25/02/13): Freedom of movement
Freedom of movement is guaranteed within the borders of the state of Cameroon. In order to enjoy this right, one must have – in addition to a reasonable amount of money to cover transportation costs – a national identity card, and must frequently deal with checkpoints. However simple the law is, free movement in Cameroon is restricted and often dependent on bribery.
Show #24&25 (11 – 18/02/13): Child Labour
February 11 was Youth Day, a national holiday in Cameroon. On this occasion GCI chose to commit two shows on Child labour, a problem throughout the country. Aided by our two studio lawyers, we explained the intricacies of national and international legislation on the matter and compared it with the facts. In addition to young street vendors or agricultural workers, more severe forms of child labour, such as child trafficking or sexual exploitation, still exist. Widespread poverty is often considered as a major contributing factor behind child labour as poor families rely on their children to improve their chances of attaining basic necessities.
Show #23 (04/02/13): Torture
One of the most pressing issues in Cameroon is torture. A recent amnesty international report highlighted the wide prevalence of torture in prisons across the country. Despite the fact that both International and Cameroonian laws protect us against torture, it happens all over the world and Cameroon is no exception. In show 23 the GCI team raised awareness concerning the different forms of torture that exist, and that occur in Cameroon.
Show #22 (28/01/13): Arbitrary arrests
During this show Cameroonian and International laws that protect the population against arbitrary arrest were explained by our studio Lawyers, Barristers Elonge and Ernest. Practical advice was given about how individuals may protect themselves from such practices
Show #21 (21/01/13): Witchcraft
The team discussed witchcraft in Cameroon and how the perception of witchcraft can lead to Human Rights abuses. Cameroonian and International members of staff expressed their opinions and experiences on the subject.
Show #20 (14/01/13): Workers Rights
The issue of labour rights was discussed and practical advice was provided about the correct procedures to follow in the event of worker disputes or contract violations.
Show #19 (07/01/13): Presentation of CAM’s project.
The updated CAM’s project was introduced and its upcoming activities for the new year were advertised.
Show #18 (10/12/12): Human Rights Day
General awareness raising and celebration of International Human Rights Day. This was conducted as part of the wider GCI programme of activities for that day. For more information about our programme for that week click here.
Show #16 & 17 (16 – 26/11/12): Violence against women
November 25th was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women. As such GCI devoted two shows to the topic in which violence against women in Cameroon was addressed and debate took place over whether this can ever be justified under the mantel of Traditional Cameroonian Customs.
Show #15 (6/8/12)- Rachel Braden, Ariel Bilyeu, and Ntebo Ebenezer returned once more to the topic of corruption for this week’s broadcast. This time, the question presented was: Can peace and corruption co-exist? Interns Rachel and Ariel disagreed on this. Rachel proposed that literal peace, that is, the absence of war, can certainly exist side-by-side with corruption. Her main example was Cameroon: Americans are consistently told that the country is a safe one to visit; that it is peaceful and that violence is relatively rare. Yet the country is overrun with corruption. Ariel disagreed. She believed that peace did not exist as long as people were consistently suffering from the effects of corruption. Every time a person had to pay a bribe, had to suffer because of a corrupt politician – that was the absence of peace. Both Rachel and Ariel agreed, however, that if corruption continued within Cameroon at the level on which it currently exists, the people of Cameroon will eventually rebel in one form or another. And that this rebellion would likely not be peaceful.
Near the end of the program, Ebeny mentioned that it was Rachel’s last week at GCI. He asked her to say a few words about her time in Cameroon, and to thank anyone she wanted to mention on the radio. Rachel stated that she had a wonderful and very formative experience in Cameroon. She thanked her friends she had made in the past two months, and above all, the staff at GCI. Rachel will be sad to say goodbye to GCI and to Cameroon, but she will remember her time here for the rest of her life.
Show #14 (30/7/12)- GCI acting director Ntebo Ebenezer and interns Ariel Bilyeu and Rachel Braden continued this week discussing the topic of corruption. All staff members agreed that transparency and accountability are the best ways to fight corruption, and each person offered their own ideas on how to combat this serious problem. Proposals included introducing transparency measures for government officials (for example, requiring release of their tax information) and improving education regarding corruption for Cameroon’s school-age population.
Show #13 (23/7/12)- This week, GCI staff began discussing corruption. This topic will be the feature of the next three radio shows as well. Unfortunately, corruption is a huge problem in Cameroon – in fact, many would argue it is the country’s biggest problem. This week’s program introduced the concept, and GCI staff provided definitions as well as well as explanations of the different ways corruption can manifest. Interns Rachel Braden and Ariel Bilyeu shared their personal encounters with corruption during their stay in Cameroon. GCI staff also discussed the important, high-profile case currently going on in Cameroon: that of former interior minister Marafa Hamidou Yaya, who has been charged with embezzling $29 million intended as a down payment on a presidential jet. For more on this story click here
Show #12 (16/7/12)- For our final program regarding International Justice, the GCI team discussed the International Criminal Court. (Remember, The Day Celebrating International Justice is July 17!) The Court, which was founded in 1996 with the signing of the Rome Treaty and counts Cameroon among its member states, has jurisdiction over the following important crimes: War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity, and Crimes of Aggression. The ICC was created in response to the many International Criminal Tribunals that were established in the wake of such Human Rights atrocities as were committed in Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and Sierra Leone, among others. The purpose of this International Criminal Court is to provide a forum where heads of state and other important government officials may be held responsible for their actions in war, when their own governments either decline to or are incapable of holding them responsible in their own judicial system. In this week’s Human Rights Hour, we focused on how the ICC is relevant to the daily lives of our listeners. Although the ICC seems far away (it is headquartered in The Netherlands) and far removed from the average person’s daily life, it is in fact incredibly important for all citizens of our world. First of all, it serves as a guarantee to people everywhere that even the most powerful politicians and government officials will be held responsible for their actions, and that those who suffer as a result of these actions will indeed see justice. Secondly, while the crimes over which the court has jurisdiction seem nebulous and abstract, they in fact affect real people all over the world every day. People in Cameroon suffer torture, are conscripted as child soldiers, are victims of child trafficking and forced marriages, and suffer rape – every day. The ICC has jurisdiction over all these crimes, and therefore its creation directly affects everyone in Cameroon who has suffered any of these violations of their Human Rights. Through our discussion of the ICC and its applicability to the Cameroonian population, the GCI team hoped to illustrate one of the important ways International Justice is observed today.
Show #11 (9/7/12)- Yesterday’s show was the second in our series on international justice. For this segment, we concentrated on two cases of international justice occurring on the African continent: the Special Court for Sierra Leone and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Interns Ariel Bilyeu and Rachel Braden shared background information on the two judicial bodies, and Director Ntebo Ebenezer lead an engaging conversation regarding convicted Liberian head of state Charles Taylor. The show focused particularly on how these two tribunals are relevant for citizens of Cameroon. Not only do Cameroonian judges serve on each of these tribunals, but the creation of the tribunals sends important messages to citizens all over the world. First, it shows the world that people who commit such crimes – even heads of state – will be held accountable for their actions. Secondly, it sends a message to the victims and potential victims of such crimes. It tells them that their suffering was not in vain; that the world heard their cries and that they will receive justice. Our final show on Monday July 16th will be all about the International Criminal Court (ICC) – the final word in international criminal justice.
Show #10 (2/7/12)- For our first show in July we introduced our next topic: international justice. Tuesday, July 17th is the Day for International Justice, and our next three shows are in observance of this important holiday. For show #10, we introduced the theme and defined international justice. We then had a discussion as to whether international justice does in fact occur in today’s society. Rachel and Ariel disagreed on this point: while Rachel believed it did, Ariel said it did not.
Show #9 (25/6/12)- Interns Rachel and Ariel spearheaded this final show in our International Day Against Torture Series. Each intern spoke about research she had been conducting on the topic. Rachel mentioned the work she has been doing with the Mbalangi community, as this past Friday she and the Mbalangi Traditional Council had an involved discussion on the use of force to punish convicted criminals. Ariel spoke of her research regarding victims of torture here in Cameroon, and of their difficult fight to have their stories told. Both women reminded our listening audience that only by coming forward and speaking of their abuse can victims of torture hope to put an end to this ugly cycle.
Show #8(18/06/12)- GCI welcomed new intern Ariel Bilyeu, who joined the team that very day! We also continued with our month’s topic of torture. Rachel spoke about her experience working with a victim of torture under the UN Convention Against Torture, and Ariel shared some of the topics she wished to address during her tenure as our Prisoners’ Rights Project intern. Rachel also spoke about the upcoming workshops the CAMs project will be hosting in the nearby village of Mbalangi.
Show #7(11/06/12)- Ebenezer and international interns Dimitrios Lais and Rachel Braden introduced Human Rights Hour’s topic for the month of June: torture. June 26 is the International Day Against Torture, and in light of this, GCI is focusing all its June broadcasts on this very important topic. Ebenezer introduced new intern Rachel Braden, who joined the GCI team on June 4th. Rachel, Ebenezer and Dimitrios each shared their perspectives on torture and how they believed it was defined, and a special guest spoke of his experience as a prisoner in the Cameroonian prison system. We also bade goodbye to Dimitrios, who left the following Thursday to return to his home country of Greece.
Show#6(12/03/2012)- Ebenezer and international interns, Dimitrios Lais, Melina Hildebrand, and Leah Kelly alternated their experiences with each respective project and its progression. Also, in light of International Women’s Day the week before, both Leah and Melina shared their experiences and thoughts on Women’s Day and its relation to debates about gender equality in Cameroon.
Show #5(27/02/2012)- After an introduction to Global Conscience and its projects for 2012, Ebenezer opened the lines for callers to ask questions regarding Human Rights violations.
Show #4 (6/12/11): The Universal Declaration of Human Rights- Ebenezer and Daniella reviewed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with Mary Louise, taking call-in questions on the application of human rights ideals as enshrined in the UDHR in everyday Cameroonian life.
Show #3 (29/11/11): Introduction to Women’s Rights- Daniella sat down with RJ Mary Louise to deliver an introduction to women’s rights to the people of Kumba. The girls covered the basics of gender equality and women’s rights by looking at the difference between sex and gender, listing and describing various women’s rights, and laying out why gender equality is important for community development and all members of society.
Show #2 (22/11/11): Personal Mediation- Daniella and Tessa joined RJ Mary Louise in discussing personal mediation, or the method of resolving conflicts one-on-one. The girls offered conflict resolution advice to several callers and SMS messangers from the Kumba area. They also detailed the programme for Human Rights Week on Dec. 4-10.
Show #1 (15/11/11): GCI Reintroduction- CAM’s Director Orogo Minet and GCI International Interns Daniella Montemarano and Tessa Levine sat down with Ocean City RJ Mary Louise to relaunch Human Rights Hour on the Kumba airwaves. The ladies discussed the CAM’s Project, the Human Rights Club Project, and the upcoming Human Rights Week.