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Internet Freedom Promoted in Human Rights Council

June 13, 2013|By Ryan Kaminski, Leo Nevas Human Rights Fellow
On Monday, 70 countries, including the United States, joined together in issuing a cross-regional statement supporting Internet Freedom during the current session of the UN Human Rights Council. The statement labeled the Internet as well as social media as vital platforms for “participation, transparency and engagement in socio-economic, cultural and political development.” It also firmly called on UN members to “ensure strong protection of freedom of expression, privacy and other human rights online in accordance with international human rights law.” The statement also pointedly rejected attempts to misuse “security” concerns as a vehicle to interfere with online access. 

The statement closely dovetails and recalls the central focus of Resolution 20/8, “The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet,” which successfully passed the Council by consensus last summer. Sponsored by Sweden and supported firmly by the United States, the resolution declares unambiguously that people everywhere should have the same human rights online as they do offline. While not considered legally binding on UN members, the Council’s statements and resolutions can accomplish much in keeping the global spotlight on key issues as well as supporting the efforts of human rights defenders within civil society. The Council is expected to conclude its current session at the end of the week.

Labels: Advocacy

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