Cameroon: UN urges authorities to restore Internet in Anglophone regions
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Mr. François Louncény Fall, urges the Cameroonian authorities to examine with diligence the difficulties of the populations and entrepreneurs of the English-speaking regions of North West and South West, which have been deprived of Internet since mid-January 2017. "This is a deplorable situation. But I am convinced that this important development and communication tool will be gradually re-established throughout Cameroon", he said before leaving Cameroon on 13 April after a four-day official visit.
The visit, the fourth since he took office on 1 November 2016, and the second, mainly devoted to the situation in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon, enabled Mr. Fall to take stock of the situation and to assess the impact of recent measures taken by the government to address the concerns of English-speaking lawyers and teachers. "I have had fruitful and encouraging exchanges with all the stakeholders," Mr. François Louncény Fall told journalists during a press conference in Yaoundé on 12 April, in reference to his meetings with the Secretary General of the Presidency of the Republic (Mr. Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh), the Minister of Justice (Mr. Laurent Esso), the Minister of External Relations (Mr. Lejeune Mbella Mbella) and the Delegate General for National Security (Mr. Martin Mbarga Nguelé). The Special Representative also had fruitful discussions with members of civil society, opposition leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and the United Nations system.
In addition, the Head of UNOCA had the opportunity to meet with some detainees who were arrested in connection with the situation in the North West and South West, including Barrister Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla and a Radio Presenter, Mancho Bibixy. Their defence lawyers and those of other concerned citizens briefed him on the current situation, which the United Nations is following with great attention. "I encourage the Government of Cameroon to take all the measures it deems appropriate, as soon as possible, and within the framework of the law, in order to create conditions conducive to confidence building in order to end the crisis," noted Mr. François Louncény Fall. In this regard, he stressed that "a sincere and constructive dialogue was important, taking into account the gains made." He also reaffirmed the willingness of the United Nations to continue ‘to accompany this dynamic and contribute to the efforts of the authorities and their partners in the search for a consensual and lasting solution ‘ to the situation in North West and South West Cameroon.
The Special Representative invites the various stakeholders to maintain the spirit of patriotism that they have demonstrated since the beginning of the crisis. He also welcomes their determination to address the situation, keeping in mind the interest of the nation, respect for the Constitution as well as international treaties to which Cameroon is a signatory.
Mr. François Louncény Fall will return to Cameroon on the occasion of the 44th ministerial meeting of the United Nations Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) scheduled to take place in Yaoundé from 29 May to 2 June 2017. UNOCA serves as Secretariat of the Committee.