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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