The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), François Louncény Fall, has called for Cameroonian authorities to restore the Internet to the English-speaking North-West and South-West regions.
Cameroon's English-speaking regions remain offline following a series of violent protests in January. In response, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications issued an order to CAMTEL, Cameroon's national telecommunications and internet service provider, requiring the ISP to cut off access to certain regions.
"This is a deplorable situation. But I am convinced that this important tool for development, communication and collective development will be gradually re-established throughout Cameroon," François Louncény Fall said before leaving Cameroon after a four-day official visit on 13 April 2017.
As part of his visit, Fall also met and spoke with some of the people arrested and detained in the North-West and South-West regions, including Felix Nkongho Agbor Balla and the facilitator of Cameroon's Radio Mancho Bibixy.
"I encourage the Cameroonian government to take all the measures it deems appropriate, as soon as possible and within the framework of the law, in order to create conditions conducive to strengthening the confidence needed to end the crisis," he said.
"The pursuit of a sincere and constructive dialogue taking into account the achievements is paramount", Mr Fall added. "Where appropriate, the United Nations remains ready to continue accompanying this dynamic in order to contribute to the efforts of the authorities and their partners in the search for consensual and lasting solutions to this situation"
Previously, David Kaye, a United Nations special rapporteur for the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, called on the Government of Cameroon to restore internet services to the predominantly English-speaking parts of the country where access was cut off.
With this added pressure, it is hoped that Cameroon's government will heed the call and restore Internet services to the affected regions.