MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Cameroon – B8-0245/2019

B8‑0245/2019

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Cameroon

(2019/2692(RSP))

The European Parliament,

– having regard to statements by the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / V…

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Answer – VP/HR – Blocking of internet access by the authorities in Cameroon – E-002617/2017

The Internet connexion previously cut off in the Anglophone regions was restored on 20 April 2017.

The European External Action Service (EEAS) has been following the situation closely (including the trial of the leaders of Anglophone organisations). Both the EEAS headquarter and EU Heads of Mission are maintaining regular contacts with the authorities, calling both sides to peaceful dialogue and to a negotiated solution which can respond to the concerns of the Anglophone minority while respecting the rule of law and fundamental freedoms of all citizens. Implementing the decentralisation reform foreseen in the Constitution would be a key step in this process.

The EU cooperation programme with Cameroon aims at reducing inequalities, promoting inclusive growth and job opportunities and improving governance. Addressing the issue will get to the roots of some of the country’s biggest challenges (e.g. terrorism and social tensions in several areas).

The ongoing Recovery and Peace Building Assessment jointly carried out with the United Nations and the World Bank will result in recommendations which could certainly apply to all regions. The Commission is also working on a budget support in the rural development sector, which will provide opportunities for dialogue on inclusive growth and reducing inequalities. Other programmes also intend to promote rural development at decentralized level and social cohesion.

All Economic Partnership Agreements include non-execution clauses linked to the Cotonou Agreement, which provides that the EU may take appropriate measures in case essential elements of the Agreement (e.g. human rights) are not respected. These measures range from political dialogue to the last-resort option of suspending trade preferences.

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Written question – VP/HR – Blocking of internet access by the authorities in Cameroon – E-002617/2017

Since 17 January 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 at around EUR 2.69 million. In addition, the ‘irresponsible use of social media’ has become punishable by law.

Is the VP/HR aware of the Internet shutdown and, if so, has she addressed the issue with Cameroonian authorities at the highest level?

How 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 the various regions of Cameroon so as to address the different levels of socioeconomic development at a decentralised level?

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 developments?

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Text adopted – Stepping-stone Economic Partnership Agreement between the EC and Central Africa *** – P7_TA(2013)0272 – Thursday, 13 June 2013 – Strasbourg – Final edition

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the draft Council decision (14757/2012),

–  having regard to the draft Interim Agreement with a view to an Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Central Africa Party, of the other part (13485/2011),

–  having regard to the request for consent submitted by the Council in accordance with Article 207, Article 211 and Article 218(6), second subparagraph, point (a), of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (C7–0369/2012),

–  having regard to Rules 81 and 90(7) of its Rules of Procedure,

–  having regard to the recommendation of the Committee on International Trade and the opinion of the Committee on Development (A7-0190/2013),

1.  Consents to conclusion of the agreement;

2.  Instructs its President to forward its position to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and of the Republic of Cameroon.

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