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On Cameroon Internet Cut-Off, US State Dept Tells ICP It Has Raised Bilaterally Since Nov 28

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, March 15 – On Cameroon, where the Internet has been cut off by the government in the Northwest and Southwest (Anglophone) regions for 57 days and counting, Inner City Press on March 14 asked the US State Department: "Back on November 28, 2016, the Department issued a statement of 'concern[] over recent Cameroonian government actions to restrict free expression.' Since then, the government has cut off the Internet in the two regions, also known as the Anglophone areas, has arrested journalists and most schools remain closed. Is the US State Department concerned about these developments and if so, what if anything has it done about them?"

  On March 15, a US State Department official answered Inner City Press: "We have discussed this issue with the Government of Cameroon both before and after our statement of concern.  We don’t go into the details of our diplomatic conversations, but we engage regularly with the government on this and other issues as part of our normal bilateral relations." We hope to have more on this.

  On March 9, Inner City Press asked both the International Monetary Fund and the UN Security Council's president about the crisis in Cameroon's Anglophone areas and heard that while the IMF acknowledges the financial risk, the Security Council does not see it as a threat to international peace and security. But the UN's Resident Coordinator Najat Rochdi has said nothing about the crisis, and blocks on Twitter the Press which asks about it. Is the UN system failing, in its new Secretary General's promise of increased preventative diplomacy?

 When the IMF's spokesperson Gerry Rice took questions on March 9, Inner City Press asked about Cameroon, specifically the crackdown in the northwest and southwest of the country. Inner City Press asked, "On Cameroon, after the mission led by Corinne Delechat, what is the status of talks for a program, and since the IMF cited “civil unrest in the neighboring Central African Republic,” please state the IMF's awareness of civil unrest and arrests in Northwest and Southwest Cameroon, also known as the Anglophone areas, and their impact." Rice read out the question and then said, among other things, that the risk factors for 2017 include a continuation of the "social and political events" in the "so-called Anglophone" areas of Cameroon.


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