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Imagine you woke up one day to find out your internet was off because of the language you spoke. Yet your neighbors, not far away, could access the internet just fine. For more than a month now, millions of people in English-speaking regions of Cameroon have been living that nightmare due to a government-ordered internet shutdown.
Anglophone communities in the country have been protesting a lack of government services and the imposition of French-speaking officials into key administrative posts. In response, the government shut down the local internet, plunging everyone in the region — even French speakers — into darkness. The government’s response harms everyone’s human rights, and as tensions continue to heighten, the shutdown sets the stage for even further rights violations.
UNESCO has stated that linguistic diversity is a cornerstone of the internet, and that “speakers of non-dominant languages need to be able to express themselves in culturally meaningful ways, create their own cultural content in local languages and share through cyberspace.”  When the internet is shut off, it’s hard to do that. You can’t express yourself culturally, reach emergency services, or even conduct business.
That's why we, together with our partners at Internet Without Borders and the #KeepitOn coalition, are calling on local service providers — MTN, Orange, and NextTel — to push back against the government shutdown and help to #BringBackOurInternet. Take action now!
Access Now and our partners also sent a letter to each company urgently requesting restored access and providing recommendations on how to push back against the government-requested shutdown. It is available in both English and French.