By Matthew Russell Lee
UNITED NATIONS, April 17 – The United Nations’ failure on Cameroon including the now-90 day Internet cut has spread throughout the UN system. When Inner City Press first asked the UN spokespeople, they said they hadn’t heard of it. (Later lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric would say that criticism by @InnerCityPress of the UN’s then-Resident Coordinator Najat Rochdi for silence on the issue verged on “harassment”).
When the UN Security Council visited Cameroon, only one member – Sweden – said the issue had been raised, in only informally. That answer came via Twitter Direct Message. Back at the entrance to the Security Council chamber, French Ambassador Francois Delattre told Inner City Press he was unaware of the Internet cut by Paul Biya, whom France has long supported. Video here. Delattre said he would revert with a response but has yet to by the time of this writing weeks later.
On UN Television UK ambassador Matthew Rycroft said his country was aware of the plight of Cameroon’s Anglophones but did not think it constituted a threat to international peace and security. He added, as not transcribed by the UK Mission to the UN, that the UK keeps the situation under constant review – he’s said the same thing about continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia to use in air strikes on Yemen.
After Inner City Press got a more substantive answer about the Cameroon Internet cut-off from the International Monetary Fund – that is a financial risk in 2017 – and after when asked by Inner City Press about Cameroon’s Anglophone areas UN Deputy Secretary General Amina J. Mohammed of Nigeria said she was working on it, finally the UN’s Central Africa envoy Francois Lonseny Fall visited and spoke on the issue. But even then all he said, as put in French on a UN Development Program website and in English on UN News Center, was that he hopes that the Internet will be “gradually re-established.” Gradually?
The UN system’s World Bank has recently given money to Paul Biya’s government, apparently without condition. UNICEF for now has the acting UN resident coordinator to the country. The UN system is failing, and we will continue to push on it – watch this site.