A conglomerate of worldwide advocacy groups has called on telecommunications companies in Cameroon to urgently restore internet services in the North West and South West regions that have been rocked by crisis.
Organizations worldwide, including Committee to Protect Journalists, Access Now and Internet Without Borders, are urging telecommunications companies in Cameroon to take their responsibility and push back on the internet shutdown order.
“We write to urgently request your support in restoring internet access in the South West and North West regions of Cameroon,” Access Now said in a letter to MTN Cameroon CEO Philisiwe Sibiya, NextTel CEO Nguyen Duc Quang, and Orange Cameroon CEO Elisabeth Medou Badang on Wednesday February 15.
Access Now is made up of a group of civil society organizations that defends and extends the digital rights of users at risk around the world. It said the shutdown has significantly interfered with citizens’ daily lives and conservatively estimates that the shutdown has already cost more than US$1.39 million so far “and grows daily.”
The group said it has “clearly informed” the Cameroon government of its responsibility to protect human rights and restore access to the internet stating that businesses too, have the responsibility to respect human rights, and mitigate or remedy harms they cause or contribute to.
“As Cameroon’s leading telecommunications providers, you enable Cameroon citizens to exercise their rights and enjoy the economic, social and cultural benefits of the global internet. Without internet access, entire communities are left more isolated, vulnerable, and at risk,” the group said in the letter.
The statement also cites a July 2016 United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution on freedom of expression and the internet that “condemns unequivocally” intentional disruptions to access or dissemination of information online.