Thursday, July 27, 2017

After UN Silent During Biya's Internet Cut, Deputy Offers Words on Southern Cameroons

By Matthew Russell Lee, interviews III

UNITED NATIONS, July 27 – For 94 days this year, Cameroon's Paul Biya government cut off the Internet to millions of people in the Anglophone regions, or Southern Cameroons. Inner City Press asked the UN about it a dozen times, yielding two canned statements. 

Now amid reports that the UN is providingelectoral assistance in Cameroon, where Biya has ruled for more than 30 years, Inner City Press on July 27 asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq about the assistance, and for a read-out of a reported meeting between UN Genocide Prevention official Adama Dieng and a delegation from Southern Cameroons. Video here, from Minute 17:25. 

Haq claimed there is UN electorial role - seemingly false - and said that Dieng rarely gives read-outs. In fact, as Inner City Press learned after waiting to speak to the delegation, it was not Dieng but his assistance Mr. Castro they met with. Periscope of interview(s) here,with Ms. Caleche Bongo and others. Photo here

Given the UN's Francois Fall's false report, it is unclear if Castro will, in fact, get any action from the UN's Human Rights machinery in Geneva. As Inner City Press similarly filmed, Secretary General Antonio Guterres' chief of staff and his Deputy SG Amina J. Mohammed both attended the Cameroonian UN Ambassador's celebration of the extinguishment even of Federalism in the Cameroons. We'll have more on this. 

After Inner City Press repeatedly asked Guterres and his spokesman about Cameroon's Internet cut-off and abuses, the UN's answer after its Resident Coordinator Najat Rochdi was shown to block the Press and then left for the Central African Republic was that the UN Office on Central Africa (UNOCA) envoy Francois Lounceny Fall would be visiting in May. This turned out to be misleading like so much with today's UN system, including UNDP and the UN's media "partners." 
While on July 27 Felix Aghbor Balla and others Inner City Press has repeatedly asked the UN about are hauled back into court, in the UN a group which never asked about Cameroon and actively got Inner City Press thrown out and still restricted says it is hosting the "Southern Cameroons Public Affairs Committee (SCAPAC)... accompanied by their counsel, Foley Hoag LLP.  SCAPAC will also call for the release of a U.S. citizen of Southern Cameroonian origin currently detained in the country by government officials. Ms. Caleche Bongo, Mr. Elvis Kometa, Dr. Stephen Shemlon, Ms. Victorine Bolanga, Ms. Harriet Fomuki, Christina Hioureas, Counsel, Chair, United Nations Practice Group, Foley Hoag. Where: United Nations Correspondents Association." 
But this UN Correspondents Association UNCA is a group which, when Inner City Press sought to covering their event (video here) in the UN Press Briefing Room to see if they discussed having taken full page ads from an entity owned by UN bribery indictee Ng Lap Seng got UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric and then DPI Cristina Gallach to evict Inner City Press (audio here, video here) and restrict it still. 
So on July 27, after the delegation greeted Inner City Press (which had previously interviewed one of them at the UN gate), it waited more than an hour in the hall outside the office it was evicted from, assigned to a former UNCA president, representing Egyptian state media Akhbar al Yom, who rarely comes in, and never asks questions. This is what the UN - and UNCA, the UN Censorship Alliance -- want. While in New York the UN belatedly answered Inner City Press with another statement of concern for the Anglophone areas, it was quietly conferring with the Yaounde racket run for more than thirty years by Paul Biya, rigger of many elections. 
Among the tellingly quiet UN team: Francis Nadjita - one step down from UNOCA's Francois "Failing" Fall - and Pascale Roussy. They were told, again, about the abuse of Anglophones the UN has so long cooperated in. Yet have they said anything? We'll have more on this.  The UN at the highest level is enabling the abuses. UN Office on West Africa director Chambas, when Inner City Press asked him about Cameroon forces killing 97 Nigerians and abuses of Anglophones, said to focus on "bigger ticket items" - Boko Haram. Video here from 8:25. But in that fight, as exposed in detailed by Amnesty International, Paul Biya's forces engage in torture, in the Salak base with French military presence. Amnesty says "Cameroon’s authorities and security forces, including the DGRE and the BIR, have committed systematic human rights violations and violations of international humanitarian law." 
On July 20, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Farhan Haq, UN transcript here, Inner City Press: sure, I wanted to ask you.  Amnesty International has put out a report alleging in great detail torture in Cameroon of… in connection with the fight against Boko Haram, but saying… naming the places where it took place, saying that some of the… some of these bases are also used by international US  and French troops, so I wanted to know what's the response?  I've noticed that there is now a new Resident Coordinator, Allegra Maria Del Pilar Baiocchi.  Is there any response from the UN country team to… to this torture that's been taking place, whether from Mr. [Mohammed ibn] Chambas or anyone else in the UN system?

Deputy Spokesman:  Well, we're concerned about any allegations of human rights abuses and certainly, we hope that this particular report will be followed up by the authorities in Cameroon.

Inner City Press: The authorities have responded today by saying that Amnesty International is working for Boko Haram and that the report is… they are not going to follow up on it, so I just wanted… I'm asking you because Mr. Chambas at the… at the stakeout recently when asked about the… the 97 Nigerians allegedly killed in the Bakassi Peninsula, said it was time to focus on bigger-ticket items, meaning the fight against Boko Haram.  So, is the UN actually in this fight against Boko Haram, taking note like… this is a detailed report of torture of suspects.  There's a journalist actually who's been sentenced to 10 years for reporting on the fight, Mr. Ahmed Abba.  So, I'm… I'm asking for a little bit… something less than generic on this.

Deputy Spokesman:  Obviously, any fight against terrorist entities, whether it's Boko Haram or anyone else, has to be accompanied hand in hand with respect for human rights.  We have made that very clear over and over again, that if basic human rights are not observed in a fight against terror entities and terrorism, the entire battle could be lost.  Part of what you're trying to do is make sure that the population themselves feel respected by the authorities under which they live.  And so it's our point of principle that human rights need to be respected throughout… by whatever authorities are conducting counterinsurgency or anti-terror operations.  
 As to UNESCO, while its 2015 field report on the Dja Reserve, where Hevea’s plantation is having a negative environmental impact, is being cited, why has UNESCO done so little for people in Cameroon, specifically in Southern Cameroons about the scam GCE exam? We'll have more on this. As to UNDP, its Acting Resident Representative in Cameroon.Jean Victor Bouri Sanhouid has been bragging about the agency's work against poverty in the country, on this UNDP entirely French website. UNDP hosts the website of the UN's country team in Cameroon, here. Under Antonio Guterres, it seems - Guterres' holdover spokesman Stephane Dujarric declines to answer Inner City Press' questions on UN "reform" - UNDP functions will be taken over by Guterres' deputy Amina J. Mohammed. What would that change?  Watch this site - and see this Patreon video, the short interview with Southern Cameroonians on July 11 outside the UN gates.

On July 13 the 97 killed by Cameroon were dismissed at the UN in favor of the "bigger ticket item" of Boko Haram. Video here from 8:25. Inner City Press asked the UN's genocide adviser, on the margins of a meeting about religion, about the murder of Bishop Bala as well as other topics - on which he answered, without mentioning Cameroon. Here, near end. Paul Biya, meanwhile, was said to use his Bastille Day letter to lobby to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron, just after the latter's speech decrying African women for having "seven children." Macron video here, and here Inner City Press' question to the French Mission, the talking points of which are passed through by some feting the Mission in New York. Ah, la Franco-Phony. Ah, the UN Censorship Alliance. We'll have more on this.