Friday, May 5, 2017

From Cameroon to UNSC, "Urgent & Confidential" Memo About Weapons, Copter, Here

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Series

UNITED NATIONS, May 5 – While the UN Security Council visited Cameroon during the 94 day Internet cut off and said nothing publicly about it, Inner City Press has obtained and has exclusively published on Patreon and now Scribd, here Cameroon's "Urgent and Confidential" letter to the UN Security Council, about weapons. It lists Chinese weapons, helicopters and more, to be repatriated to CAR. 

This comes amid reports that armaments Cameroon got ostensibly to fight Boko Haram have been spotted in the Anglophone regions. On May 2 when Inner City Press told the UN's spokesman Stephane Dujarric that it had a question on Cameroon, he walked off the podium, as he has done before. He and the UN Department of Public Information, whose Cameroon mis-information is profiled below, worked together to evict and still restrict Inner City Press. The spin of the Francophone Cameroon government of Paul Biya has now reached the UN Security Council, or at least its media stakeout area. As Inner City Press asked questions at the stakeout on April 28, and telling Morocco's hatchet-man Ambassador that on decolonization Inner City Press errs on the side of the underdogs, video here, Cameroon's Ambassador Tommo Monthe approached. He handed two documents to Inner City Press: a chart of "actions taken by the Government following concerns raised by Cameroon Anglophone teaches and lawyers," and a press release mis-spelled "Realease." Inner City Press has put both online on Patreon, here. But here's how out of touch or worse the UN Department of Public Information, which evicted and still restricts Inner City Press with minders, is: its UNIC ("Information" Center) in Cameroon held a training and wrote it up with a single reference to "social upheaval in English speaking regions," nothing on the Internet cut-off. Here is DPI's full text, from the UN's iSeek intranet: "Tuesday, 2 May 2017 | Yaounde | UNIC Yaounde: Cameroon is currently being rocked by waves of attacks from the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency in the northern region. English-speaking regions have been witnessing social upheaval since November 2016. Overall, young people have been excluded in the peace building process of these conflicts - unaware of UN Security Council resolution S/RES/2250 (2015) on Youth, Peace and Security, which acknowledges the urgent need to engage young peacebuilders in promoting peace and countering extremism.
To tackle this issue, the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Yaoundé organized a one-day workshop on “youth, peace and development”, in partnership with Promise Africa and the Organization of African Youth for Peace. The objective was to educate youth leaders on the fundamentals of peace consolidation, conflict prevention, and crisis management. The hope is to engage them in the peacebuilding process.
During the 13 April session, UNIC Yaoundé’s Jean Njita emphasized the correlation between peace and development, linking to Sustainable Development Goal 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions). The high rate of youth unemployment in Cameroon (about 6.7% in 2013, according to the ILO) was identified as the cause of conflicts. Political authorities were urged to exercise good governance to resolve the issue. While education, public awareness, and training are prerequisites for a durable peace, genuine mediation can be a catalyst in reconciling and healing post-conflict societies.
One participant called on young people to “bury their egoism, be tolerant, and accept different viewpoints for peace to thrive in their hearts…for today’s youths are too proud”. Participants acknowledged the youth’s role in conflict resolution and they were encouraged to use social media to transmit messages of love and reconciliation with a view to rebuild broken homes and their society. Just as war is waged, Cameroonian youths should also ‘wage peace’ by making peace as a full-time activity. NGOs and associations advocating for peace were urged to improve coordination for a greater impact on the field."
 That's UN DPI. On May 1, Inner City Press asked the UN's holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you a Cameroon question.  Over the most recent weekend, there was a guy, Awah Romeo, beaten to death by the police.  And there’s footage of it.  And I’m just sort of wondering, what’s the follow-up of that mission by François Louncény Fall, he said he’s coming back at some other date but…

Spokesman:  Right.  He said I think he was coming back… [inaudible] I think he was coming back in May, which is this month, and I have no doubt his office is following the situation.
Inner City Press: Because the Cameroonian Mission here is now using his statement as sort of to say everything is great.  I was handed just now…

Spokesman:  That’s… I mean, I think everybody’s free to interpret… I think Mr. Louncény Fall’s statement was fairly clear in what he felt the situation was and what he felt needed to be done.
  Tellingly, behind the "Realease" which tries to justify the cutting off the Internet for more than 90 days is the UN's own press release praising Paul Biya for belatedly "instructing that internet service be fully restored" and urging "avoiding the use of the Internet to incite hatred or violence" - precisely Biya's pretext. To this has the UN sunk. The day after Biya government belatedly restored the Internet he cut in the two Anglophone regions of the country, on April 21 Inner City Press asked long time Cameroonian Ambassador to the UN Tommo Monthe about it. Monthe, set to chair the UN's Fifth (Budget) Committee next year, told Inner City Press "the scissors are in our hands... we will cut it" if it is used not only for so-called hate speech but for secession talk of any kind. For exclusive audio click here. Now Inner City Press has published the 2-page letter demanding the censorship of TV channel Afrique Media for saying “it's a corrupt government” and “France is controlling many African countries." Where is the UN on this? To try to find out, Inner City Press on April 27 asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric, and about Felix Agbor-Balla, UN transcript here: Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you, in Cameroon, again, the… the former UN legal adviser in Afghanistan and MONUC and also a former employee of the Special Court in Sierra Leone, Felix Agbor Balla, is facing death penalty by military trial.  And I wanted to know… there are also many of the other people that were… were… have faced trial today, and I wanted to know, is there any follow-up by the UN system on the issue?

Spokesman:  I will take… I didn’t see those reports.

Inner City Press: There’s also a TV station, Afrique Media, that’s being taken off the cable networks there for having had two statements in English, one that the Government is corrupt, the other one that France controls many countries in Africa.   [inaudible]  Is that a… does the UN think that that’s a reason…

Spokesman:  I will… I don’t… I can’t comment on something I don’t know about.
  Like nearly everything about Cameroon. They won't say who is their acting Resident Coordinator since Antonio Guterres promoted Najat Rochdi to Central African Republic; whoever it is is not speaking about blatant censorship. Then again, today's UN itself is continuing censorship. We'll have more on this. Monthe said people should be jailed for burning the Cameroon flag, and that it was fine to destroy the businesses of entrepreneurs in Southern Cameroons even if they were not involved in secession talk. Cameroon from the top is against freedom of speech and press. On April 25, Inner City Press asked UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric, UN transcript here: Inner City Press:  in Cameroon, a journalist, Ahmed Abba, was yesterday sentenced to 10 years in jail for reporting on the Boko Haram conflict.  And many press freedom groups have expressed concern.  I'm wondering, does the UN have any concern?  And I wanted… I guess I'm just asking you again, who is the Resident Coordinator in the country?

Spokesman:  As soon as the Resident Coordinator has been named, that person will… we'll announce it, and there will obviously be a press release.  As I've said before, the UNICEF representative is the acting Resident Coordinator.

Inner City Press: Right.  And are you aware of this case of the person being sentenced to 10 years?

Spokesman:  I've heard the case.  I think any sentencing of journalists, I think, is something that is of concern to us, and we have to make sure that it is not done for… in reprisals for anything that that person may have said or written.
Which is exactly what has happened. Last week Dujarric repeatedly refused to tell Inner City Press the name of the acting Resident Coordinator in Cameroon after failed Najat Rochdi was promoted and said to ask UNICEF, Inner City Press did. Inner City Press submitted these questions to two UNICEF spokespeople on April 20: "Please state who are UNICEF is the acting Resident Coordinator in Cameroon and what if anything they have said and done about the 92 day Internet cut off in two regions, including to schools, and on the current doctors strikes. What is UNICEF's position on the 92 Internet cut off in Cameroon, as impacts children and otherwise?" UNICEF's Najwa Mekki, Officer in Charge of the Media Section, replied "received, we'll get back to you as soon as we can." Five days later, nothing - not even the name of who's the head of UNICEF in Cameroon, despite a second question to Dujarric (who has declared Press criticism of the UN's performance to be harassment, and threw Inner City Press out of the Press Briefing Room and has it still restricted after 14 months). We'll have more on this.