[Cameroon] Universal Periodic Review

On 1 May 2013, Cameroon’s human rights record will come under review at the United Nations 16th Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

In preparation for the review, in October 2012 PEN International, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Internet Sans Frontières (ISF) filed a joint report to the UN expressing their concerns relating to freedom of expression in Cameroon. The report details how Cameroon has consistently failed to meet its obligation to protect freedom of expression, despite its international human rights commitments and provisions in domestic law. The persecution of Cameroonian writers, musicians and journalists raises other critical human rights issues in the country, including criminal defamation law suits, pre-trial detention abuses, torture in custody, a politicised media licensing regime, a lack of access to public information, and restrictive laws and policies regarding the internet and digital technologies.

Read the full report here

Of particular concern to English PEN is the case of writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse who is currently serving a seven-year prison sentence on charges that are widely believed to be politically motivated. Throughout his time in prison Meyomesse has continued to write prolifically, and in November 2012 self-published a powerful collection of poetry he had written whilst in detention, Poème carcéral: Poésie du pénitencier de Kondengui (Les Editions de Kamerun, November 2012). Since 5 April 2013, Meyomesse has reportedly been prevented from writing in prison and has effectively had three of his new works confiscated.

We consider Enoh Meyomesse’s incarceration to be in violation of his right to free expression and are continuing to call for his immediate and unconditional release. 

To show our support for Enoh Meyomesse and to help raise and maintain awareness of his case, English PEN is working on a crowd-sourced translation of his poetry collection, from French to English. We are posting translations of Meyomesse’s poems on our website regularly, and will be publishing e-book and print-on-demand collections later this year.

**If you would like to be informed when the book is available, please email cat@englishpen.org**

The following is an extract from Enoh Meyomesse’s poem ‘Je vous remercie’, translated from the French by Ruth Clarke:

 

I thank you

     you through whom my name has continued

     to boom like a monumental drum           

     in the ears of these people 

 

I thank you

     you who have continued

     to place my thinned-out face

     in the entrails of the daily papers

     of these people 

 

I thank you

     you who have continued

     to reveal my nameless ordeal

     to the entire world

 

and they shook

and they railed

and they protested

their innocence

NO!

We have done nothing

to him

NOTHING AT ALL

 

shame on those who would tarnish the image of the nation

shame on those who would sour the sweet face of the nation

shame on those who would frighten away friends of the nation

the purveyors of happiness

 

NO!

We have done nothing

to him

NOTHING AT ALL

 

TAKE ACTION

Send a message of support

If you would be interested in sending a message of support directly to Enoh Meyomesse, please email cat@englishpen.org for further details.

Send a letter of appeal

Please send appeals:

  • Protesting the conviction of writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse on politically motivated charges and the seven-year prison sentence handed down to him on 27 December 2012;
  • Calling on the Cameroonian authorities to quash the conviction and to release Meyomesse immediately and unconditionally.

Write to:

His Excellency Mr. Nkwelle Ekaney
Cameroon High Commission
84 Holland Park
London
W11 3SB 
Fax: 020 7792 0608
Email: info@cameroonhighcommission.co.uk

Or you could use the form below.  A sample letter is provided but it is always better if you put the appeal in your own words.

[ecampaign ‘to=info@cameroonhighcommission.co.uk’ subject=”Freedom for Enoh Meyomesse”]

Your Excellency,

I am writing to you as a supporter of English PEN, the founding centre of the international association of writers, to protest the continued detention of writer and activist Enoh Meyomesse.

According to PEN’s information, on 27 December 2012 writer Enoh Meyomesse was sentenced to seven years in prison on charges that are widely believed to be politically motivated. He had already been detained for 13 months prior to this conviction, despite all previous charges against him having been dropped in June 2012.

Enoh Meyomesse continues to be held in the over-crowded Kondengui Central Prison in Yaoundé where he has been held in solitary confinement and subject to torture. Since 5 April 2013, Meyomesse has reportedly been prevented from writing in prison and has effectively had three of his new works confiscated. There are widespread concerns for his health and well-being.

I believe that Enoh Meyomesse has been detained in violation of his right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and respectfully call on the Cameroonian authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.

I would welcome your comments on my appeal.

Yours sincerely,

[/ecampaign]

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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