UNHRC adopts Internet and human rights resolution

By staff on July 14, 2014

The Toronto-based IFEX network reports that Article 19 welcomes the adoption by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of the resolution on Internet and Human Rights.

The resolution had the support of more than 80 co-sponsoring states, said Article 19. It reaffirms that the human rights people enjoy offline also apply online, including the right to freedom of expression.

Based in London, Article 19 promotes freedom of information worldwide. Its vision and principles are supported by the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC).

 “Around the globe, the Internet is the front line in the contest for civic space,” said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of Article 19. “The Human Rights Council's adoption of this resolution by consensus will be critical in our battle to secure Internet freedoms, including freedom of expression, association, assembly and privacy, where they are most at risk.”

Brazil, Nigeria, Sweden, Turkey, Tunisia and the U.S. formed the core group that led the drafting of the text. A total of 82 UN states supported the text at its adoption.

Last week, Article 19 and 62 other organizations called on the UNHRC to defend freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, privacy and other rights online.

The resolution makes three important advancements:

Development: the resolution recognizes that the global and open nature of the Internet is a driving force in accelerating progress towards development, including the implementation of the right to education. It also calls upon states to promote digital literacy and access to information on the Internet.

Internet governance: the resolution takes note of the need for human rights to underpin Internet governance and affirms the importance of the global, open and interoperable nature of the Internet. It calls on states to formulate national Internet-related public policies that include universal access and enjoyment of human rights.

National security and human rights online: the resolution recognizes that respect for the rights to freedom of expression and privacy is key to building confidence and trust in the Internet, and that any attempt by states to address security concerns must be in accordance with international human rights obligations. Critically, the resolution states this must be done through democratic, transparent institutions, based on the rule of law.

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July 14, 2014
Categories:  News

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