UN Human Rights Council officially affirms disrupting Internet access as a human rights violation

12 Jul

By Keffyalew Gebremedhin, The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

On July 1, 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) at the closing of its 32nd session adopted a historic resolution: The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet (A/HRC/32/L.20).

The resolution draws its principles from Articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. By so doing, in operative paragraph 1 it the need for affirming the same rights that people have offline and to be protected online, “in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice.”

In operative paragraph 2, The Council’s resolution also recognizes the global and open nature of the Internet, as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms, including in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

In that regard, the resolution unequivocally condemned measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt access to or dissemination of information online in violation of international human rights law and calls on all States to refrain from and cease such measures. This is applicable to the situation in now in Ethiopia, which using fear of leaking examination, has shut of the social media throughout the country.

Our assessment is that the TPLF dictatorial regime in Ethiopia is testing this resolution, which is co-sponsored by 53 countries and was also approved by consensus by all members of the Human Rights Council, which includes Ethiopia itself.

In that regard, the resolution unequivocally condemned all human rights violations and abuses, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, expulsion, intimidation and harassment, as well as gender based violence, committed against persons for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet, and calls on all States to ensure accountability.

Given the importance of the issue, while deciding to continue its consideration of the question of promoting and protecting enjoyment of human rights on the Internet, the Council has called upon all States “to consider formulating,through transparent and inclusive processes with all stakeholders, and adopting national Internet-related public policies that have the objective of universal access and enjoyment of human rights at their core.”

The resolution has also recognized the importance of the United Nations special procedures to take up these issues into account within their existing mandates, as applicable.
 

Related:

TPLF blocks Facebook and other social media, allegedly for exams – illegal as it is – the dictatorial regime doing what it knows best!
 

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