Public affairs and strategy shop Mercury Public Affairs have inked a $1.2 million pact with the government of the Republic of Cameroon to provide lobbying and media relations in the United States.
The Omnicom public affairs unit will provide consulting and management services, government relations/lobbying, and media issues management, according to Foreign Agents Registration Act documents filed in August.
The Central Africa nation, which has one of the highest GDPs in sub-Saharan Africa, has repeatedly been accused of human rights violations in recent months, including reports of extrajudicial executions by the Cameroonian government in the country’s far north region, which has been under attack from Boko Haram fighters based in neighboring Nigeria and has forced more than 21,000 people to flee into neighboring countries.
United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in July said he’s “deeply worried” about the reports, which includes allegations of killings carried out by Cameroonian armed forces, as well as arbitrary detentions, the torching of houses and torture.
The Cameroonian government, which has denied any allegations of abuses, has continued to refuse the UN Human Rights Office repeated requests for access to the region. In early August, the government agreed to open an independent investigation after a series of videos began circulating the Internet showing troops summarily executing more than a dozen people.
Mercury has been hired as an independent contractor in the campaign through Yaoundé-based company TopCom S.A., with the work funded, controlled, directed and supervised by the Cameroon government.
The pact, which became effective August 1 and runs until July 31, 2019, brings Mercury $100,000 per month as well as a $5,000.00 one-time charge for legal and filing fees.