Wednesday, 18 October 2017

24 US Congress Members Petitions The US Representative To The UN On The Anglophone Crisis

Amid the killings by Cameroon's Paul Biya government, Inner City Press on October 17 asked the UK ambassador to the UN when his country will call a UN Security Council meeting about the crisis. He replied that any Council member can.


Later on October 17, after Inner City Press put Cameroon question to Secretary General Antonio Guterres' spokesman and interviewed Abu Fri of Southern Cameroons in front of the UN, it exclusively obtained and now publishes a letter from 24 US Congressmembers including Republican Daniel Donovan (R-NY) to US Ambassador Nikki Haley, to convene a Security Council meeting. Letter here, on Patreon.

(Just after the interview, Abu Fri made a similar but shorter pitch to Haley's deputy Michele Sison, on First Avenue; to get back into the UN and file this story, Inner City Press due to UN targeting and censorship had a long wait with toursts at the metal detectors). But here is the letter - via Cameroon American Council, here. Watch this site. Inner City Press on October 11 interviewed the government's ambassador to the UN, Tommo Monthe. He contradicted what UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric told Inner City Press, that "Mr. [Francois] Fall and the Government are in discussion about when he can go.
24 US Congress Members Petitions The US Representative To The UN On The Anglophone Crisis
The Government has expressed its willingness to welcome him. It's now a matter of finding the dates." Inner City Press two days after Dujarric's quote - which Dujarric has twice refused to expand upon - asked Cameroon's Ambassador Monthe who replied of Fall,"Why he should visit Cameroon?” Audio here. While there is still no date for Fall to visit Cameroon, people are being summoned in to see the police, in a campaign of intimidation. There are new mass graves. On October 16 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: on Cameroon, since we’ve heard now for this Fall visit for almost two weeks since the mass killings of 1 October, I wanted to ask you, over the weekend, a mass grave was found near Buea, and documents have emerged of people being summoned into the police. And what’s reported is that people are being told what to say and not to say if and when… which I guess it’s now when… UN investigators arrive. So, I just wonder, is the UN aware of this? How do you explain that if… if Mr. Fall was going to go, like, it’s extremely serious situation. Is there some… the ambassador here said that there’s no reason for him to go. You’re saying he’s totally welcome; it’s just a matter of dates. Who… is the problem with Mr. Fall’s schedule or the Cameroonian schedule? Because people are very upset… [Inaudible] Spokesman: I think, as with any visit from a UN senior official or anyone from the UN, it needs to be done in agreement with the Government. Inner City Press: So his team that went there before — I’d asked you this before — is it possible to know the level that they were and if, in fact, they went to Buea, the city in which bodies are being found… [Inaudible] Spokesman: "I’ll see what I can get. Okay?" No, not OK. Six hours later, nothing, while UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid was being praised by Cameroon, and saying nothingabout the country. Inner City Press asked the UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, to inquire into torture in Southern Cameroons, video here, and then submitted to his office a formal request for action. (He said he can act on requests by journalists). Meanwhile Inner City Press' journalism on Cameroon is being hindered in the UN by restrictions continued by the UN Department of Public Information under Alison Small, see hereand here and watch this site. Several but not all of the human rights violations by Cameroon authorities on which Inner City Press has asked and reported are confirmed by Amnesty International. So Inner City Press on October 13 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I have a number of other ones, but I wanted to ask you about Cameroon. Some of the things that, I guess, I have asked you about, there's now… now, I would assume that you've seen the Amnesty International study, which says that… that hundreds of people are detained without charge, packed like sardines, paying bails, people shot in the legs so they can't protest, people fleeing the hospital to avoid the authorities. So they obviously got in, were able to gather this evidence and they've called for other international organisations to send people. Has the UN sent anyone, and if not, why not? Spokesman: We have… as you know, we have a presence in Cameroon. We've seen the Amnesty report, which raises a lot of issues of great concern to us, and I should have… hopefully have a bit more for you later. Inner City Press: Including on the [François Louncény] Fall visit? Spokesman: Yes. Well, when I have something on the Fall visit, I will share it with you." Eight hours later, nothing. AI confirmed for example: At least 500 people remain detained in overcrowded detention facilities following mass arbitrary arrests in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon, and many wounded protestors fled hospitals to avoid arrest... In Bamenda, the capital of the North-West Region, at least 200 people were arrested and the majority transferred to the prison in Bafoussam. In Buea, the capital of the South-West region, at least 300 people have been arrested since the 1st October protests, including a series of mass arbitrary arrests between 6 and 8 October. On Sunday 8 October, for example, police arrested up to 100 people walking to church in the Mile 16 area of Buea, and entered the building to arrest church staff. In one incident on 3 October in Buea, a police officer threw a teargas canister into a vehicle containing a dozen protestors, who had to smash the window to let in air. In one facility run by a mobile police unit, the Groupement Mobile d’Intervention (GMI), in Buea, detainees were described as being 'packed like sardines.' A young man who was left with multiple fractures after being shot in both legs by member of the armed forces was taken home by his family before he could be stabilised. According to a doctor treating the patient “he had lost more than a litre of blood. I do not know whether he is still alive, he may likely die.' On October 12, Inner City Press asked the UN Spokesman, now Deputy Farhan Haq, UN transcript here, Inner City Press: I wanted to ask about Cameroon. Stéphane has said a couple times that Mr. [Francois Lounceny] Fall is… he's definitely going. The Government has welcomed it. It's just a matter of days. Yesterday, I spoke to the Permanent Representative of Cameroon, Tommo Monthe, and he said: “Why should he visit Cameroon?” So, I'm just wondering, have you gotten… has… has… one, has the UN spoken with the Cameroonian mission here in New York? Because they don't, at least according to that, seem to be on board with the visit. And two, when will the visit take place? And will it include the Anglophone areas? Deputy Spokesman: We are in touch with the Cameroonian authorities about a visit. They have agreed in principle to that, and we're working out the dates and arrangements. Inner City Press: Do you think, because there… there… there are commemorations of the 1 October killings scheduled for this Sunday, 14 October… is… does he intend to go before then? Does he… is he aware of the potential for a repeat of what took place on 1 October? Because the… what's alleged now is that people were thrown out of helicopters, that live individuals picked up in the Anglophone areas were flown in helicopters and dropped to their death. Deputy Spokesman: "We want to make sure that all parties respect the rights to freedom of assembly, the rights to freedom of expression and, at the same time, of course, want to make sure that all protest is carried out peacefully. Regarding Mr. Fall's travels, we'll provide further details once we have an announcement to make." Eight hours later, nothing. On October 11 Monthe, his usual talkative self, told Inner City Press of the Anglophone zones, "There are three groups: the corporate interest... that's good, that's legitimate... The second group is hooligan, that's casseur, the people who burn the flag... the third group, they are entering political campaign.” Of the recently announced Anglophone candidate to replace Biya, Monthe said, "He will have problem with the secession people.... traitor. People say that his father was a traitor." Inner City Press asked him about documentary evidence of money paid to pro-Biya associations for support during the General Assembly week: 'That guy is now with the tribunal, he said, 'I'm guilty.' He went to PNC Bank, we are no longer with that bank, we sued the bank..." On Inner City Press' questions during GA week to Nigeria's foreign minister, Monthe said: "Nigeria helps us, they do not want Biafra..." We'll have more on this. When Cameroon's President for the past 30-plus years Paul Biya came to meet Antonio Guterres on September 22, before he went back to the Hotel Inter-Continental in Geneva, he was accompanied by his state media and... Inner City Press. Biya, still in Geneva, directed his forces to use water cannons and more in Buea, as they shoot to kill from helicopters in North-West and South-West Cameroon and once again cut off the Internet and social networks, see below. On October 9 Inner City Press asked Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric about raids on churches, gunfire from helicopters, and corporate complicity in censorship. Video here; from the UN transcript: Inner City Press: I want to ask you about Cameroon. Over the weekend, several churches in Buea and… and other places in the Anglophone areas were raided by the military. And up to 200 people were arrested, and high bail is being charged to release them. There's also now some footage of the Government firing from helicopters on unarmed civilians on the ground. So I'm wondering, does the UN still stand behind this ten dead figure that was used by Prince Zeid last week? What… what's the status of Mr. [Francois Lounceny] Fall going? And… Okay. Go ahead.

Spokesman: Sorry. Mr. Fall and the Government are in discussion about when he can go. There was a team that went last week at the working level from his office. But we're still in discussions with the Government. The Government has expressed its willingness to welcome him. It's now a matter of finding the dates. As for the number of casualties, I don't have any updated numbers beyond what our colleagues at the Human Rights Office were able to confirm. Inner City Press: And I wanted to ask you, you'd said last week the Internet should be on and social net… social networks. So I wanted to ask you, there's a French firm, Orange, that has a Cameroonian subsidiary. And they've said publicly that, when the Government tells them to turn stuff off, they just turn it off. They're a member of the Global Compact. And what I'm wondering is, does the UN believe that private telecom companies that a… ascribe to these human rights views as put forth in the Global Compact should, without notice to people and in a sort of a devious way where they say, sorry for the interruption; we're working to get it back on, obey the Government and turn the Internet off on people? Spokesman: "Look, the Global Compact has processes to which to review whether or not companies should remain members of the Global Compact. That's existing. That's up to them to comment on. Our principled line continues to be that people should have access to the Internet, that the Internet is a critical tool for which people now every… in everyday lives to conduct their lives, not only to have access to information. As to the regulatory framework in each country and who's responsible for what, I can't comment on, but on a… because I don't know about it, because, obviously, as a matter of principle, we feel people should have access to the Internet." The real world social network of the church is also under attack: for example, on October 8 people in churches in Buea were arrested en masse.




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