Friday 19 September 2014

A Follow Up Report On Human IS Right's Gender Project

 At last, we have reached the midway point in one of our projects! Our aim, until October 2014, is to help men, women, and children in Ekona town receive official documentation, such as marriage, birth, and death certificates, to help make their lives easier in the future. Because of the rural location of Ekona, and lack of a civil status center in the local area, many people lack these documents which are so important to their future wellbeing. Birth Certificates ensure that parents can apply for benefits for their child, and also help the child in question claim inheritance once his or her parents have passed away. Death Certificates are obviously needed to prove that the person in question is actually deceased, so that their closest relatives can inherit from the deceased. Marriage certificates ensure that should a husband die, his widow and children will not lose even more than they already have; by losing their rights to own and work the late husbands land, their home, because they cannot prove their relationship was legalised, something which is sadly a common grievance here in Cameroon.

In the most recent meeting, we met with the couples who wish to take part in a mass marriage we plan to hold here in Ekona (currently involving 22 couples) so that they can get officially married and legally registered on the same day. We talked with a representative of Muyuka Council, who is looking to assist us in possibly waivering a part of the registration fees set by the government, and talked with the nearest Registrar available who informed us what paperwork would be required to allow the mass marriage to take place. With the blessings and well wishes of the local chief, the helpful assistance from the representatives of the state council and the registrar office, and the hard work of the Ekona Womens Group Malingo Women), we hope to have many joyful pictures coming your way soon.

Written by Shona Flaherty, Prisoners' Rights Project International Intern.

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