Access to information: The worrying case of Cameroon submitted to the UN
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Paris, 28 September 2017 – The right to access to information is under threat in Cameroon, according to a report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee by NGOs Internet Without Borders and Access Now. In 2017, Cameroon joined the growing list of African countries, which shutdown the Internet to their citizens.
“On January 17, 2017, the government ordered the suspension of internet services in the Northwest and Southwest anglophone regions of Cameroon. The shutdown lasted 94 days and adversely impacted the region’s 5 million residents », the report says, adding that despite clear international commitments, Cameroon violates the rights and freedoms of its citizens online.
“Shutdowns like Cameroon’s stop free expression when people can’t tweet and newspapers can’t publish online. But they also prevent us from accessing data. Patients can’t find medical advice, students can’t learn, and entrepreneurs can’t research potential markets and investors. This access to information that the internet enables is what shutdowns aim to thwart. The Human Rights Committee should strongly condemn shutdowns in Cameroon and beyond on these grounds » said Peter Micek, General counsel at Access Now.
“On this international day of right to access to information, we think it is important to point out to Cameroon, and to the many states, which choose to deprive their citizens of the fundamental right to access information on the Internet, that civil society organizations around the world are more than ever mobilized to protect online rights and freedoms from Internet shutdowns, ” added Julie Owono, Executive Director of Internet Without Borders.
In its Resolution No. A / HRC / 32 / L.20, the UN Human Rights Council strongly condemned Internet access shutdowns, stating that online and offline rights must be protected with the same strength by States.
For more information, contact
Executive Director | Internet Sans Frontières
General Counsel | Access Now
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Download the report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee by Internet Without Borders and Access Now
About Internet Sans Frontières (Internet Without Borders)
Internet Sans Frontières is a non profit organization with the non-profit status under French law. The organization promotes and defends freedoms in the digital space, including freedom of expression and the right to privacy, and an open web accessible to all, without discrimination.
About Access NowAccess Now (www.accessnow.org)
Access Now is an international organisation that works to defend and extend digital rights of users globally. Through representation in 10 countries around the world, including engagement with stakeholders and policymakers in Cameroon, Access Now provides thought leadership and policy recommendations to the public and private sectors to ensure the internet’s continued openness and the protection of fundamental rights. We engage with an action focused global community, and our Technology Arm operates a 24/7 digital security helpline that provides real time direct technical assistance to users around the world.
Access Now advocates an approach to digital security that promotes good security policies that protect user rights, including privacy and freedom of expression. Access Now has worked extensively to draw attention to digital rights in Cameroon, including commenting on the January 2017 internet shutdown.