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19 Mar 2017

Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

APC's statement on the internet shutdown in Cameroon

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The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) notes with grave concern the restrictions on internet access – commonly known as internet shutdowns – ordered by the government of Cameroon. The restrictions, which have been in effect since 17 January 2017, have specifically targeted Anglophone regions of Cameroon, reportedly following protests against the marginalisation of Anglophone Cameroonians’ cultural and linguistic rights by the government...In July 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC) adopted a landmark resolution on the Promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet, unequivocally condemning measures to “intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online in violation of international human rights law.” The UN HRC went further to call on “all States to refrain from and cease such measures.” In November 2016, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) reaffirmed the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa, and specifically that “everyone shall have an equal opportunity to exercise the right to freedom of expression and to access to information without discrimination,” through the adoption of the Resolution on the Right to Freedom of Information and Expression on the Internet in Africa...APC therefore calls on the government of Cameroon to: Order the immediate reinstatement of internet connectivity for all citizens and residents of Cameroon...Take urgent measures to align Cameroon’s policy, statutory and regulatory instruments with international law with respect to the application of all recognised human rights to the online space. In particular, we draw the government’s attention to the instructive African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms which provides an African-developed framework for the governance and regulation of the internet in an African context...Guarantee that the human rights of all people in Cameroon are fully respected both online and offline.