Apr 7, 2008, 9:54 AM
Thus we associate ourselves with the statements of ARTICLE 19, which has welcomed the adoption by consensus of the resolution on Internet and Human Rights by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), with the support of more than 80 co-sponsoring states.
According to IFEX, the global network defending and promoting free expression,
the resolution reaffirms that the human rights people enjoy offline, also apply online, including the right to freedom of expression. IFEX added:
“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”, Hughes added.
Brazil, Nigeria, Sweden, Turkey, Tunisia and the United States of America 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 organisations called on the UNHRC to robustly defend the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association, privacy, and other rights online.
Importantly, the resolution reaffirms that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression.”
Additionally, the resolution makes three important advancements:
Development: the resolution recognises 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 address the digital divide and 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, through transparent and inclusive processes, national Internet-related public policies. Universal access and enjoyment of human rights must be central to those policies.
National security and human rights online: the resolution recognises 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 on the Internet 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.
“Governments that block the aspirations of their people, that steal or are corrupt, that oppress and torture or that deny freedom of expression and human rights should bear in mind that they will find it increasingly hard to escape the judgement of their own people, or where warranted, the reach of international law”.