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Volume 698: debated on Wednesday 6 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will press the Commonwealth Secretariat to make representations to the Government of Cameroon about freedom of expression and assembly for opponents of President Paul Biya's plan to change the constitution to allow him to contest the presidential election in 2011. [HL1637]

We are in discussions with our international partners, including the Commonwealth Secretariat, about governance and democracy in Cameroon, including the question of possible amendments to the constitution. While this is a matter for Cameroonians to decide, the UK has stressed to the Government of Cameroon the importance we attach to a full, free and fair debate about altering the constitution. Opponents to the abolition of presidential term limits should be free to express their views and have the right to free assembly.

Our High Commission in Yaoundé makes regular representations to the Government of Cameroon about maintaining freedom of expression, including lobbying against the imposition of any kind of restriction of press freedom.