Today, Marietje Schaake submitted the following questions to High-Representative Federica Mogherini on the blocking of the internet in parts of Cameroon since January 2017.
Since January 17th 2017, access to the internet in English speaking regions of Cameroon has been blocked. The internet shutdown, a response to protests starting in October 2016 against the political, economic and social marginalisation of English speaking communities in Cameroon, comes on top of continuous violations of freedom of expression and ongoing human rights violations, including unfair trials before military courts, torture and harassment of LGBTI people throughout the country.
The economic costs of the internet shutdown are already estimated around 2.69 million euros. In addition, the ‘irresponsible use of social media’ has become punishable by law.
1. Is the HR/VP aware of the internet shutdown and if so, has she addressed the issue with Cameroonian authorities at the highest level?
2. In what way will this latest violation by the Cameroonian government affect the 2018-2020 programming under the European Development Fund for Cameroon and will separate budget lines be set aside for Cameroons various regions to address the different levels of socio-economic development on a decentralised level?
3. Have any political conditions been included in the EU-Cameroon Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and will these be discussed during the next EPA committee meeting in Brussels, taking into account the latest development?