UNITED NATIONS, June 11 – The United Kingdom's silence about the plight of Anglophone residents of the former British Southern Cameroons and its role in Yemen has persisted even in the face of a Freedom of Information Act request from Inner City Press. In February 2018 Inner City Press appealed the UK's denial in full of its request. Now the UK has released a few bland documents about Yemen, largely on its concern for women in the failing peace process, and has not released a single document on Cameroon. Attached hereto.
This while UK Minister Liam Fox brags about London-based company New Age signing a one and a half billion pounds natural gas contact with Paul Biya's government, accused of summary executions and the burning and looting of villages. The "internal review" denial letter which is attached states, "The disclosure of information detailing our relationship with the Yemen and Cameroon governments could potentially damage the bilateral relationship between the UK and Yemen and Cameroon. This would reduce the UK government's ability to protect and promote UK interests through its relations with Yemen and Cameroon which would not be in the public interest. For these reasons we consider that, the public interest in maintaining this exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing it." Yes, the UK promotes its interests - and that of its companies like New Age. We will be pursuing this - watch this site.
Nine months ago on 15 August 2017 Inner City Press asked the UK government for records concerning Cameroon. After repeatedly extending the time to response, now the UK has denied access to all responsive records, letter here, saying that "the release of information relating to the UK’s discussion on UN business could harm our relations and other member states of the United Nations (UN)."
Here on Patreon is the full denial letter, from which Inner City Press is preparing an appeal, on Yemen as well - it has 40 working days.
This is shameful - the UK is also exiting transparency.
On February 6 in front of the UN Security Council, Inner City Press asked the United Kingdom's Deputy Ambassador Jonathan Allen for the UK's comment on Nigeria's forced repatriation of 47 to Cameroon. From the UK transcript: Inner City Press: Nigeria did a forced repatriation of 47 Cameroonian leaders. The UNHCR said it was illegal. The US has commented on it. Does the UK have any view? Amb Allen: I’m afraid I wasn’t aware of that before. I’ll have to get back to you on the details." Video here. At day's end, a UK Mission spokesperson sent Inner City Press a short comment, here.
As Inner City Press pursues these questions at the UN, it remains restricted to minders by the head of the UN Department of Public Information Alison Smale, who it is noted is British - and functionally a censor. A retaliator, too? Smale has not explained why Inner City Press' long time work space is assigned to no-show, no-question Egyptian state media Akhbar al Youm.
Meanwhile the French government, which claims at the UN and elsewhere that human rights is in its DNA, has ignored the refoulement, limited its condemnation instead, via Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes Von der Muhll, on "new killings of law enforcement officials that took place on 1 February in Cameroon."
In Yaounde, France's Ambassador Gilles Thibault is focusing, like Reuters' ostensibly charitable arm, on the cultivation of pepper, see here. This is colonialism.Are these the relations that the UK claims would be hurt by complying with FOIA? Watch this site.