On April 17 and 20 2017, Veritas Law Offices in collaboration with the Media Legal Defence Initiative instituted two (2) separate court actions challenging the shutdown of Internet in the two English speaking Regions of Cameroon.
Acting for a consortium of five civil society organizations in Cameroon to wit; Reseau des Defenseurs des Droits Humains en Afrique Central (REDHAC), Global Forum for the Defense of the Less Privileged (GFDLP), Global Conscience Initiative (GCI), Global Links International, (GLI) and Global Concern (GC), an Originating Summons in Suit No HCF/006/OS/17 filed at the High Court of Buea – Southwest Cameroon against Cameroon Telecommunications, MTN Cameroon, Orange Cameroun, Viettel Cameroun, and the State of Cameroon as Defendants.
The consortium of five (5) also caused an action to be instituted in the Constitutional Council of Cameroon. With Registration No 439, the constitutional challenge is filed against The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Cameroon Telecommunications, and The State of Cameroon as Respondents.
In substance, both actions seek the legal determination of two important questions:
(a) Whether the shutdown of Internet in the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon is inconsistent with the rights to freedom of expression and access to information of the Plaintiffs?
(b) Whether the shutdown of Internet in the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon is inconsistent with the Plaintiffs right against discrimination based on language?
The actions in substance seek the following reliefs:
(a) That the shutdown of Internet in the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon violates the constitutional rights to freedom of expression and access to information of the Petitioners.
(b) That the shutdown of Internet in the Southwest and Northwest Regions of Cameroon violates the constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination based on language.
(c) Compel the Respondents to immediately or as soon as reasonably possible following this order, ensure that the internet is switched back on so that the access to the Internet in the Northwest and Southwest Regions of Cameroon is made available.
(d) Restrain the Respondents from any future interference with access to the Internet in the Northwest and Southwest Regions or any other Region or part of Cameroon in ways that are inconsistent with the constitutional rights of the Petitioners and other residents.
(e) Costs of these proceedings be assessed and ordered against the Respondents herein.
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