Joint oral statement: The Internet and Human Rights

Thursday, June 19, 2014
26th Session Human Rights Council Item 3, General Debate
The Internet and Human Rights
19 June 2014
Joint Oral Statement
Delivered by Andrew Smith, ARTICLE 19
Thank you Mr. President, ARTICLE 19 delivers this statement on behalf of 63 NGOs.* Two years ago this Council affirmed by consensus that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression”. In 2014, at Net-Mundial in Brazil the Internet was recognised as vital to the full realisation of sustainable development goals. 31 UN Special Rapporteurs recently affirmed that guaranteeing the free flow of information online ensures transparency and participation in decision-making, enhancing accountability and the effectiveness of development outcomes. Development and social inclusion relies on the Internet remaining a global resource, managed in the public interest as a democratic, free and pluralistic platform. States must promote and facilitate universal, equitable, affordable and high-quality Internet access on the basis of human rights, the rule of law, and net-neutrality, including during times of unrest. The blocking of communications, including of social media, in Egypt, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkey, and Venezuela is a violation of freedom of expression, association and assembly and must be condemned. Dissent online must be protected. We deplore the detention of Sombat Boonngamanong in Thailand, who faces up to 14 years imprisonment for urging peaceful resistance to the recent military coup via social media in the form of a three-finger salute. One year after the Snowden revelations, this Council must recognise that trust in the Internet is conditional on respect for the rights to freedom of expression and privacy, regardless of users’ nationality or location. Any mass (or dragnet) surveillance, which comprises collection, processing and interception of all forms of communication is inherently disproportionate and a violation of human rights. The targeted interception and collection of personal data must be conducted in accordance with international human rights law, as set out in the “Necessary and Proportionate Principles”. Critical and intermediate infrastructure must not be tampered with, nor should any system, protocol or standard be weakened to facilitate interception or decryption of data. We urge this Council to take action to comprehensively address these challenges. Thank you. *ARTICLE 19 Access Africa Freedom of Information Centre Albanian Media Institute Alternative Informatics Arabic Network for Human Rights Information Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) Association for Progressive Communications (APC) Bahrain Center for Human Rights Bangladesh Internet Governance Forum Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House Big Brother Watch Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan) Bits of Freedom Bolo Bhi Pakistan Bytes For All Cambodia Center for Human Rights Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) Center for e-parliament Research Center for Independent Journalism, Romania Centre for Internet & Society Centre for Media Freedom & Responsibility Center for National and International Studies, Azerbaijan Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, Russia Chaos Computer Club CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation Digital Rights Foundation, Pakistan Electronic Frontier Foundation Electronic Privacy Information Center English Pen European Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL) Foro de Periodismo Argentino Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa, Colombia Helsinki Citizens' Assembly - Vanadzor Human Rights Monitoring Institute, Lithuania Human Rights Watch Index on Censorship International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) International Press Institute (IPI) Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law Kenya Human Rights Commission Liberty Media Rights Agenda Norwegian PEN Open Net Korea Open Rights Group Pakistan Press Foundation Panos Institute West Africa PEN Canada PEN International Privacy International Reporters Without Borders Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) Simon Davies, publisher of “Privacy Surgeon” South East Asian Press Alliance South East European Network for Professionalisation of the Media Thai Netizen Network World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum

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