The Kengne-Ngalamou centre is a tool for defending, protecting and promoting the human rights of PLWHA in particular and legal issues related to health in general.
In the long term, it aims to cover all legal issues arising from the health system in Cameroon, in particular: universal access to health care, treatment and services, medical liability (civil, criminal and administrative)….
The Kengne-Ngalamou centre offers three types of services: legal, judicial and extrajudicial support.
Legal support for the clinic
This involves educating/sensitizing/training PVRS, administrative, police and judicial authorities through educational talks or lobbying/advocacy actions on:
- Knowledge of human rights related to HIV/AIDS, constitutionally protected minority rights;
- The texts on access to care and treatment in Cameroon and relevant in the context of HIV/AIDS: the legal clinic through this activity, helps PLWHA to access medical services, care, treatment at lower costs and to benefit from the efforts of health authorities to make drugs, reagents accessible. The Kengne-Ngalamou centre, by combating discriminatory attitudes, violations of laws on access to care and treatment aims to ensure that PLWHA, sex workers and PLWHA have free access to social and medical services. This activity also contributes to creating a favourable social environment, allowing individuals to be tested, treated and supported without fear of discrimination.
- mastery of national, regional and international mechanisms for the defence of human rights violations among PVRS;
- Information on legal rights is disseminated through brochures, on the Internet (via the association’s website) and face-to-face.
- Consultations are offered by lawyers, jurists, legal assistants of the clinic. Advice is provided in a variety of cases: civil, criminal, commercial, commercial, social, administrative; all types of litigation.
- The Kengne-Ngalamou centre is also a tool for raising awareness of HIV, human rights and the law among the media, health professionals, employers, trade unions and other groups.
Legal support for the clinic
- This is essentially the Clinic’s litigation activity in the context of a trial against a PVRS or in the context of a trial initiated by a Pvrs when its right to health has been violated.
- The accompaniment consists in providing the PVRS with a lawyer to assist it, represent it or defend its interests before the court seised.
- Representation includes written and oral defence, negotiation in the event of a dispute and preparation of documents.
- Legal aid ranges from the introduction of the legal claim to the exhaustion of various possible legal remedies (appeal, appeal in cassation, opposition, third opposition, civil claim, appeal for review, etc.).
- The support covers all types of trials: civil, commercial, commercial, social, criminal, administrative and constitutional trials, even the referral to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and if the conditions are met, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
- The clinic’s legal actions aim not only to safeguard the fundamental rights of PVRS but also and above all to create precedents in a context where “HIV/AIDS jurisprudence” is not well established and is still slow to be built.
- These strategic litigation or model cases will have other objectives than the interests of the victim taken in isolation. It is to benefit others in similar situations; to establish a new legal standard, to clarify the application of the law or to solve a problem related to a directive, a discriminatory measure.
Extrajudicial support for the clinic: legal clinic as a conciliation and mediation centre, out-of-court justice.
Assistance outside the traditional framework of the trial: the Kengne-Ngalamou center as a structure for conciliation, mediation and arbitration of individual disputes between PVRS between them and PVRS and third parties. This will be:
- Mediation for the protection and restoration of the rights of PVRS in the environments where violations are most common (workplace, criminal, hospital…);
- Reference arbitration centre where other associations fighting for the protection of the rights of Pvrs can refer cases.
- The Clinic’s extrajudicial support does not stop at arbitral justice. It is also proposed in the context of informal, traditional and religious legal systems. Some legal mechanisms based on traditional justice systems use elders, religious leaders (parish justice and peace committees) and other community figures to resolve conflicts. These mechanisms are generally more easily accessible, less costly and less time-consuming than formal case law mechanisms.
Examples of legal issues covered by the Kengne-Ngalamou centre
- Discrimination based on HIV status;
- Problems in access to treatment, care and support services;
- Problems of privacy and confidentiality violations;
- Violence against women, PVVIH;
- Domestic conflicts when one of the partners is living with HIV or is affected by HIV (child custody, alimony, property division, etc.), in the case of serodiscordant couples;
- Criminal law and HIV transmission;
- Conviction and prisoners’ rights (including access to condoms, preventive education and HIV treatment);
Employment issues, including dismissal, discrimination and sick leave entitlements;
- Occupation status, lease, and accommodation;
Public health law and the right to informed consent for screening and treatment.