Access to information: The worrying case of Cameroon submitted to the U.N.

This media release cross-posted at Internet Without Borders

The right to access to information is under threat in Cameroon, according to a report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Committee by NGOs Internet Without Borders and Access Now. In 2017, Cameroon joined the growing list of African countries which shut down 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 five million residents,” write the organizations, 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 U.N. Human Rights Council strongly condemned Internet access shutdowns, stating that online and offline rights must be protected with the same strength by States.

Download the report.

For more information, contact

Julie Owono
Executive Director | Internet Sans Frontières
[email protected]

Peter Micek
General Counsel | Access Now
[email protected] | +1-888-414-0100 x709