Prisons in Cameroon are slums in paradise. The prison conditions are harsh. They fall below international standards. Over-crowding is a cause for concern. Rehabilitatory services are non-existent. Medical or basic health care is absent. Studies within the Mbengwi Judicial Division between 1993-96 revealed a systematic violation of the rights of prisoners and other detainees in the Mbengwi Principal Prison. The country trend is the same.

International Law makes it incumbent on States including Cameroon to respect the U.N. Charter. The UN Resolution 43/173 of the 09/12/1988 on the Body of Principles on Detention or Imprisonment is constantly being violated especially Principle n° 1: -

“All persons under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be treated in a humane manner and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”.

These are the considerations which gave birth to VPI. Reforming the penal system of any civilized state is important in attempts to move towards good governance and the respect for human rights.


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