Internet rights at the Human Rights Council 35th session

By APC     Geneva, 05 June 2017

The 35th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) will take place from 6 to 23 June 2017 at the United Nations Office at Geneva. Internet rights are considered throughout the HRC agenda, with the HRC scheduled to discuss the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression regarding threats like internet shutdowns, network discrimination, and unlawful surveillance, and the obligation of corporations to respect human rights in the digital space. The HRC will also review a report by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on ways to bridge the digital gender divide and reports of the Special Rapporteur on the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association that discuss a range of online privacy issues including censorship and government surveillance.

A number of internet issues will be discussed in reports considered at this session, touching on online hate speech, harassment and persecution of journalists and human rights defenders, the importance of data collection and disaggregation for advancing human rights, and the role of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in facilitating the fulfilment of other human rights such as the right to health, education, and participation in public debate, particularly for marginalised groups. There are no internet-specific resolutions expected at HRC35; there are, however, some that may be relevant, such as a resolution on the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism. There are also no Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcomes being adopted this session.

The Twitter hashtag for the session is #HRC35 and plenary sessions will be live streamed and archived here. Our report on internet rights at the 34th session of the HRC is also available here and a debrief on developments at the 34th session relevant for internet rights is available here.

A full list of reports being considered at HRC35 is available here. Not all reports are yet available, including some we expect to include internet-related issues, such as the reports of the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression on his missions to Turkey and Tajikistan.

Key internet-related reports

The impact of private actors on human rights – Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression

In his third report to the HRC, the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, addresses the obligations of state actors to “protect and promote freedom of expression online” as well as the responsibilities of “private actors engaged in the provision of Internet and telecommunications access” to respect human rights. He defines this “digital access sector” as encompassing telecom companies, internet service providers, and infrastructure or hardware vendors. A future report will look at content and application providers.

The Special Rapporteur emphasises the importance of access to technologies in the fulfilment of human rights such as “freedom of opinion and expression, the right to life, and a range of economic, social and cultural rights.” The report addresses obstacles that “deny, deter or exclude expression” online, such as internet and telecommunications shutdowns, government access to user data, undermining encryption, and threats to net neutrality like paid prioritisation and zero rating. The Special Rapporteur asserts that these actions “often fail to meet the standards of human rights law” and expresses concern over the lack of transparency in government interferences, and vague laws that justify excessive surveillance and prohibit disclosures of government requests impacting internet rights. Kaye finds that shutdowns occur for a variety of reasons, including “to prevent cheating by students during national exams”; to suppress reporting, criticism or dissent during or around elections or protests; and “to ban the spread of news about terrorist attacks, even accurate reporting, in order to prevent panic and copycat actions.” Yet, he cites evidence that “maintaining network connectivity may mitigate public safety concerns and help restore public order.”

While the Special Rapporteur does not address obstacles to freedom of expression online such as “lack of adequate connectivity infrastructure, high costs of access imposed by government, gender inequality, and language barriers,” he acknowledges that these may also “constitute forms of censorship.” He also stresses the importance of network neutrality to human rights, asserting that the state’s “positive duty to promote freedom of expression argues strongly for network neutrality in order to promote the widest possible non-discriminatory access to information.”

The Special Rapporteur highlights the role of the private sector in state censorship and surveillance, noting that states frequently rely on the assistance of private internet service providers (ISPs) to “control, restrict or monitor expression online.” In this capacity, private ISPs assist states to “cripple the exchange of information; limit journalists’ capacity to investigate securely; deter whistleblowers and human rights defenders.” He also notes that private actors “may … restrict freedom of expression on their own initiative, including through filtering and paid prioritization of certain internet content.”

The Special Rapporteur examines in detail the role of private actors in the internet and telecommunications sector in respecting freedom of expression, including ISPs, internet exchange points (IXPs), content delivery networks (CDNs), and network and equipment vendors (vendors). The Special Rapporteur emphasises that private actors must comply with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (Guiding Principles).

The scope of a corporation’s responsibilities to respect human rights under the Guiding Principles is determined with the operating context of the corporations in mind. The Special Rapporteur asserts that the following factors must be considered in the context of the digital access industry:

  • Private actors that own networks are “indispensable to the contemporary exercise of freedom of expression” and therefore “assume critical social and public functions.”

  • The decisions of these private actors, “whether in response to government demands or rooted in commercial interests, can directly impact freedom of expression and related human rights in both beneficial and detrimental ways.”

  • Restrictions on internet access by private actors can have impacts on freedom of expression globally, “affecting users even in markets beyond those served by the company concerned.”

  • Private actors are vulnerable to “State pressure against freedom of expression,” including state pressure to restrict and censor internet content and provide access to user data.

  • However, private actors are “also uniquely situated to ensure respect for users’ rights,” being able to serve as “a bulwark against government and private overreach” and push back against illegitimate shutdowns, censorship, or user data requests. This can be done by ensuring that “requests for content restrictions and customer data are in strict compliance with the local law and internationally established due process standards.”

With this context in mind, the Special Rapporteur stresses the importance of transparency reporting by digital access companies to fulfilling the industry’s responsibility to respect human rights, noting that information about government requests “should be disclosed to the maximum extent allowed by the law,” on a regular and ongoing basis. Further, private actors should respect human rights by ensuring that new technologies are designed to enhance freedom of expression. Where freedom of expression is impaired, corporations should ensure adequate access to remedies for affected users, including both financial and non-financial remedies such as “information about the violation and guarantees of non-repetition.” For their part, states are urged to develop “national action plans on business and human rights,” like those listed here, to effectively help the digital access industry to identify and address its human rights impacts.

The Addendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur addresses the human rights impact of organisations that develop protocols and standards in the telecommunications and internet sector. The Addendum also provides a summary of the Special Rapporteur’s consultation with stakeholders on human rights due diligence in the digital access sector.

In his report on his mission to Japan, the Special Rapporteur emphasises Japan’s strong commitment to freedom of expression and freedom from censorship on the internet. The Special Rapporteur also notes the high level of access to fast, high-quality internet throughout Japan, with internet penetration at 91% in 2014. However, the Special Rapporteur notes that the government should “take steps to strengthen freedom of expression.” As the Japanese government considers passing legislation related to wiretaps and new approaches to cybersecurity, he “hopes that the spirit of freedom, communication security and innovation online is kept at the forefront of regulatory efforts.” In particular, the Special Rapporteur emphasises that “State surveillance of communications must only occur under the most exceptional circumstances and exclusively under the supervision of an independent judicial authority.”

The Special Rapporteur’s Report will be considered by the HRC on 12 June 2017 at 12:00-15:00 CET.

Women’s rights and the internet – Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on ways to bridge the gender digital divide from a human rights perspective

The Report of the High Commissioner addresses both the causes and consequences of the gender digital divide and provides recommendations for how states can apply a human rights framework to improve women’s meaningful access to ICTs, in order to prevent technology from widening existing gender inequalities in society, and to contribute to the realisation of women’s human rights. The “gender digital divide” is defined as “the measurable gap between women and men in their access to, use of and ability to influence, contribute to and benefit from ICTs.” The gender digital divide includes “issues regarding access to equipment (hardware), solutions (software or applications), connectivity and data, as well as the digital skills, knowledge and opportunities necessary to develop, benefit from and make meaningful and strategic use of ICTs.”

The High Commissioner’s report notes that while “ICTs have boosted growth and expanded opportunities, their impact is unevenly distributed.” Access to the internet has intensified inequalities, particularly between men and women. Only 47% of the world’s population is connected to the internet, and “the offline population is disproportionately poor, rural, older and female.” Factors influencing, preventing or inhibiting women’s access and beneficial use of ICTs include availability (infrastructure), affordability, sociocultural barriers like gender norms, legislation policies or practices, education, privacy, security and trust.

The report asserts that the gender digital divide “is both a consequence and cause of violations of women’s human rights.” It is a cause because without meaningful ICT access, women “are less equipped to exercise their human rights and to participate in public life, the economy and society.” It is a consequence because “disparities in ICT access and use reflect discrimination faced by women in society, be it based on location, economic status, age, gender, racial or ethnic origin, social and cultural norms, education or other factors.” The report also emphasises that barriers to “ICT access and use by women should be addressed as part of the State’s obligation to respect, protect and fulfil all human rights. This includes establishing and maintaining an enabling online environment that is safe and conducive to engagement by all, without discrimination and with special attention to the needs of groups facing systemic inequalities, in particular women within these groups”.

The report builds on the work of the various Special Rapporteurs and treaty bodies, as well as resolutions passed at the HRC and UN General Assembly emphasising the wide range of rights impacted by the gender digital divide, including the rights to privacy, freedom of opinion and expression, assembly and association, and the rights to work, health, education, and participation in cultural life. Notably, the report emphasises the importance of privacy as “a prerequisite for the full exercise of other rights, notably the right to freedom of opinion and expression” online, and stresses that in addition to gaining equal access to ICTs, women must “benefit from encryption, anonymity or the use of pseudonyms on social media in order to minimize the risk of interference with privacy.”

The report identifies violence against women (VAW) online as a barrier to their use of the internet. It calls for a multifaceted approach to addressing online VAW, including prevention, reactive measures (such as swiftly taking down unlawful content and investigating the perpetrators), and redress for victims. It notes that states are taking various approaches to tackle online VAW, but criticises them for “failing to take appropriate action in situations of online violence against women, or … using such laws as a pretext to restrict freedom of expression.” The report reinforces the recent joint statement by the Special Rapporteurs on VAW and freedom of opinion and expression that efforts to address online VAW must be consistent with Article 19(3) of the ICCPR.

The report proposes a series of recommendations for states “to ensure that information and communications technologies are accessible to women on an equal basis without discrimination, and to promote women’s equal, effective and meaningful participation online.” Hum an rights should serve as the framework for bridging the gender digital divide, the report recommends, and states should apply a comprehensive human rights-based approach in providing and expanding access to ICTs. They should adopt and implement ICT policies and strategies that include specific attention to gender considerations and address access to, affordability of and participation in ICTs for all women. Such policies should be developed in consultation with all sections of society, including business enterprises and civil society, in particular women’s organisations. ICT policies should also be linked to existing gender and development policies.

The High Commissioner’s report argues that business enterprises also have a role to play in addressing the gender digital divide, and in accordance with the Guiding Principles, ICT companies should “avoid infringing on human rights and should identify, prevent, mitigate and account for any adverse impact on human rights that they cause, contribute to or are directly linked to.”

The report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the impact of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence in the context of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intoler ance on the full enjoyment of all human rights by women and girls and the report of the Special Rapporteur on VAW on her mission to Argentina also highlight the gender digital divide as negatively impacting women’s rights, and contributing to “higher vulnerability to poverty.”

The HRC will consider the thematic reports of the High Commissioner on 12 June at 15:00-18:00 CET.

Additional reports addressing internet-related issues

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

In his final report to the HRC, the Special Rapporteur emphasises that “the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association apply online as well as offline.” Reflecting on his time as Special Rapporteur, he notes the remarkable “enthusiasm with which civil society has leveraged digital technology to organise, deliberate and innovate.” For example, the Special Rapporteur refers to the “role of social media in mobilising people during the ‘Arab Awakening’” as well as mobilising people in other contexts. He also notes the role of online spaces in allowing women in Saudi Arabia, who are prevented from freely participating in public life, to participate in virtual civil society. The Special Rapporteur notes that while civil society is able “to take advantage of technology to perform helpful functions,” technology is a “double-edged” sword, as it can also be harmful, particularly in relation to privacy concerns. He also notes the role of civil society in protecting “against censorship, surveillance … [and] the export of digital surveillance technologies for human rights violations,” and recommends that States “encourage and facilitate innovation within civil society including by ensuring unimpeded access to and use of information and communication.”

In his report on his mission to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Special Rapporteur raises concerns regarding the Investigatory Powers Act, which received royal assent on 29 November 2016, and the consequent “interception of communication, equipment interference and the acquisition and retention of communications data.” He notes with regret that civil society and other interested stakeholders “were not given sufficient time to provide meaningful input on such an important draft law.” The Special Rapporteur expressed concern regarding the draft law (which was still a bill at the time of his visit), notably in regards to “the authorisation of warrants for journalists’ communications data, … notices for the retention of communications data, and bulk interception warrants.” At the time of his visit, the Special Rapporteur concluded that the proposed law “contained procedures without adequate oversight, coupled with overly broad definitions, which might result in unduly interfering with the right to privacy, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of association, both inside and outside the United Kingdom.” The report notes that “[t]hese concerns remain valid, as the Bill passed into law without substantial changes.” The Special Rapporteur expresses particular concern that “such strong and intrusive powers are bound to have a detrimental impact on the legitimate activities carried out by civil society and political activists, whistleblowers, organizers and participants of peaceful protests, and many other individuals seeking to exercise their fundamental freedoms.” The Special Rapporteur recommends that the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland amend the Investigatory Powers Act to address the above issues and also “adopt a law on intelligence gathering with a view to increasing the accountability of services.”

The Special Rapporteur notes that he received reports “that the police may have used International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) catchers during peaceful protests in Birmingham (February 2016), London (February 2016), Leicester (April 2016) and in Wales (April and May 2016) to, inter alia, gather intelligence from protesters’ mobile phones.” The Special Rapporteur “expresses serious concern about the use of IMSI catchers at peaceful protests, which he believes constitutes a violation of the right to privacy and has a detrimental impact on the exercise of peaceful assembly and expression rights … [and] also has an acute chilling effect on protesters.”

The HRC will consider the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association on 6 June 2017 at 15:00-18:00 CET.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights

The Special Rapporteur emphasises that the “human rights movement needs to address and respond to the fundamental changes that are taking place in economic and social structures at the national and global levels” including the “likelihood that vast swathes of the existing workforce will be made redundant by increasing automation and robotization, accompanied by the ever-greater concentration of wealth in the hands of the technology elites and the owners of capital.” The Special Rapporteur reiterated this sentiment in the report on his mission to Mauritania, in which he described “adaptation to technological advances, both in terms of compensating for vast numbers of jobs lost in an age of automation and robotization [as well as ensuring] some basic redistribution of wealth in an era characterized by exponential growth in the wealth of technology entrepreneurs” as “[o]ne of the biggest challenges in relation to basic income … from a human rights perspective.”

In the report on his mission to Saudi Arabia, the Special Rapporteur noted the positive “rise of social media as a forum for less constrained public debate.” He noted that one third of Saudis “are active social media users”, with Twitter use being “especially significant in terms of political commentary and campaigns.” The Special Rapporteur acknowledges the role of social media as “a potent tool and an important reminder to the Government of the need to listen to public opinion, especially in relation to social and economic policies and reform.” In particular, he notes the importance of social media to women’s participation in politics and policy making. Women still have limited opportunities to participate formally in the political process in Saudi Arabia, and NGOs are prohibited from advocating for women’s human rights in the country. However, social media campaigns on women’s rights, such as #TogetherToEndMaleGuardianship, “have reached hundreds of thousands of followers in the Kingdom and beyond, and have had an effect on the public debate.”

Privately developed technology applications such as “Know Your Rights” have also been instrumental to community education on women’s human rights in Saudi Arabia. However, the Saudi government has monitored social media use by its citizens “very closely and has brutally repressed certain … opinions.” The Special Rapporteur calls on the Saudi government to “respect and protect the human right of all Saudis to freely express their opinion on social media, including in relation to women’s rights.” Further, the Special Rapporteur implores the Saudi government to cease censorship of discussion of women’s human rights online, and to protect women’s human rights advocates who are threatened as a result of voicing their opinions online. The Special Rapporteur also notes the need for “appropriate privacy protections” to be built into data collection systems in Saudi Arabia.

The HRC will consider the reports of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, on 7 June 2017 at 15:00-18:00 CET.

Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

The Report of the Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations considers the challenges and opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the implementation of the Guiding Principles. The Working Group notes the power of the internet in facilitating consumer activism and human rights-based campaigns against corporations, which has accelerated the adoption of human rights frameworks by SMEs. The Working Group also notes the role of new technologies that can be used by small and medium-sized enterprises to address human rights, such as technology to detect and eliminate child labour.

Acknowledging the power of the internet in education, the Working Group recommended that international organisations and the UN develop both “online and offline training courses to increase the awareness of the Guiding Principles and their relevance to business.” The mandate of the Working Group is up for renewal at this session.

The Human Rights Council will consider the report of the Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations on 16 June at 09:00-12:00 CET.

Report of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice on its mission to Kuwait

The Working Group notes the importance of “ensuring that gender-based stereotypes present in the media, on the Internet and in audiovisual productions do not contribute to the perpetuation of a culture of discrimination but to a constructive debate on sensitive issues, such as all forms of violence against women and women’s right to equality in the family, while also duly ensuring freedom of expression.” In this regard, the Working Group reports that a programme of the Ministry of Information of Kuwait “reviews content in media outlets related to the image of women.”

The Working Group reports that it is “encouraged by young women who are actively engaged in public and political life and who are developing their own ways of working, including by using innovative information and communications technology, in order to make their unique voices heard.” However, the Working Group notes its concern regarding “reports of repressive measures introduced against certain users of social media, including under the new telecommunications law.” Finally, the Working Group commends the government on the use of social media to disseminate the law in five languages to help protect the rights of domestic workers.

The HRC will consider the reports of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice at its annual full day of work on the right of women, to be held on 13 June 2017.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Greece

The Report of the Special Rapporteur highlights how the use of technology to streamline application services, without sufficient protections, has hindered the rights of asylum seekers in Greece. Greek authorities implemented a system for asylum seekers to register an appointment for an interview to assess their refugee status through Skype. However, the Special Rapporteur found “serious flaws” in the systems, including “limited time slots allocated for specific languages”, a failure “to take into account the insufficient computer skills of applicants and the lack of access to equipment or access to the Internet, especially for those in open centres on the Greek mainland.”

The Special Rapporteur also condemns the Greek government’s practice of confiscating cell phones of asylum seekers, preventing detained asylum seekers from communication with “family, friends, lawyers, consular services or any other person.” The Special Rapporteur asserts that the confiscation of cell phones also “prevents detainees from obtaining information or evidence to substantiate their claims, … can have a profound effect on their mental health and is utterly unnecessary.”

In his report on his mission to Australia and the regional processing centres in Nauru, the Special Rapporteur expressed concern regarding asylum seekers detained in regional processing centres, specifically regarding the lack of transparency around the safeguards in place to protect the privacy and confidentiality of information collected by the Australian government to assess the asylum claims of detainees. The Special Rapporteur stressed the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of the information of asylum seekers “who have left their home country because of persecution and abuses of their human rights, due to the risk of reprisals against family members and because of sensitivities related to prior trauma.”

The HRC will consider the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on 8 June 2017 at 12:00-15:00 CET.

Report of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

The first report of the newly created Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity notes the role of the internet and social media in inciting hatred and violence against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Independent Expert stresses that hate speech online has “exponential reach, spinning the web of violations in real time and into the future.”

The HRC will consider the report of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity on 6 June at 09:00-12:00 CET.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on his mission to Honduras

The Special Rapporteur reports that violence against journalists and the media has worsened in Honduras since the 2009 coup d’état. Between 2010 and 2014, 36 journalists were killed, and journalists have experienced “physical assaults, attacks, [and] death threats.” A 2015 report by the Honduran National Human Rights Commission found that the authorities failed to effectively investigate 96% of cases of violence against journalists. In 2013, the investigation of violence against journalists was transferred from the Special Prosecutor for Human Rights Defenders to the Section on Violent Deaths of Persons from Vulnerable Groups of the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Life. The Special Rapporteur notes that this transfer resulted in a reduced focus “on the particularities of violence against journalists.”

However, the Special Rapporteur does note some improvement by the Honduran government in addressing violence against journalists. In 2015, the Honduran National Congress adopted the Law on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, Media Workers and Justice Operators to address the targeted violence against these groups. The law creates a “national protection system” with coordinated multisectoral enforcement measures. The law also creates a National Council for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and a General Directorate, which can “process protection requests from victims, provisional and precautionary measures from the Inter-American System for the protection of human rights, as well as security measures adopted by national courts.”

The HRC will consider the reports of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on 6 June 2017 at 09:00-12:00 CET.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on his mission to Argentina

The Special Rapporteur reports on the role of the internet in providing a platform for anti-Semitic expression and hate speech in Argentina. He encourages government efforts “to eliminate hate speech and extremism on the internet” and notes that Argentina’s National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (created in 1995) has been “very proactive in combating neo-Nazi groups and hate speech on the Internet and fostering religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue.” However, the Special Rapporteur stresses the need for the government to ensure that its efforts to address hate speech include safeguards to protect and promote freedom of expression and opinion, and comments extensively on the role of the media in this regard.

The HRC will consider the reports of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism on 19 June 2017 at 12:00-15:00 CET.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus

The report of the Special Rapporteur describes oppressive laws, the “suppression of peaceful protest”, a “systematic denial of the enjoyment of civil freedoms”, tightly controlled elections and public life and a “steep deterioration in [the authorities’] handling of assembly, association and media rights” in Belarus. Among his critique of the deteriorating situation for human rights defenders, political opponents and the media, the Special Rapporteur expresses “deep concern” regarding online media, noting that users (including private citizens) are harassed, and that content control and intimidation inhibit free expression online. In addition to the “extraordinary pressure” that traditional media is facing, the Special Rapporteur notes the arrest of two bloggers on 12 March in Brest without justification and the abduction of another blogger on 11 March in Pinsk. This concerning situation regarding freedom of expression and freedom of the media, both online and offline, is one of several issues that leads the Special Rapporteur to recommend that the international community continue to monitor the human rights situation in Belarus.

The HRC will consider the reports of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus on 14 June 2017 at 12:00-15:00 CET.

Further reports touching on internet issues

As internet-related rights issues are increasingly mainstreamed throughout the HRC’s work, a number of reports touch on the internet and ICTs. Some reports recognise the role ICTs can play in enhancing access to rights, such as the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health the utility of ICTs to raise grievances or empower individuals, such as the report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children the use of ICTs to raise awareness and monitor implementation of human rights commitments, such as the report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the expert workshop on the impact of existing strategies and initiatives to address child, early and forced marriage, and other reports on children’s rights and the risks that come with the disclosure of personal information on citizens’ political positions, such as the report of the OHCHR on conscientious objection to military service.

We also observed some trends of internet-related human rights issues emerging among a number of reports.

Disaggregated data and human rights

In addition to the reports examined in detail above, a number of reports identify the need for the collection of and/or the power of disaggregated data to enable policy makers to make informed choices to address human rights issues. Several of these reports highlight the need for data collection to “be conducted in a manner that fully takes into account key human rights principles, including participation, self-identification, transparency, privacy and accountability for rights.”

Some examples include:

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the impact of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence in the context of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on the full enjoyment of all human rights by women and girls

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the realization of the equal enjoyment of the right to education by every girl

Summary report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the panel discussion on the theme the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training: good practices and challenges

Summary of the panel discussion on youth and human rights – Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on ways to bridge the gender digital divide from a human rights perspective

Summary of the panel discussion on the adverse impact of climate change on States’ efforts to realize the rights of the child and related policies, lessons learned and good practices – Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions on his mission to Honduras

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on a 2035 agenda for facilitating human mobility

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants on his mission to Australia and the regional processing centres in Nauru

Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to China

Report of the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights on his mission to Saudi Arabia

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons on his mission to Nigeria

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons on his mission to Afghanistan

Report of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice

Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, on her mission to Argentina

Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Report of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children

Report of the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, on her mission to Kuwait

Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on his mission to Argentina

ICTs and international cooperation

Several reports highlight the benefit of ICTs to international cooperation on law enforcement and human rights fulfilment. Some examples include:

Study of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises on best practices and how to improve on the effectiveness of cross-border cooperation between States with respect to law enforcement on the issue of business and human rights

Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the progress and the challenges encountered in the main activities aimed at enhancing technical cooperation and capacity-building undertaken since the establishment of the Human Rights Council

ICTs and education

Several reports highlight the power of ICTs in facilitating both formal and informal education, including through smartphone applications, online education platforms, social media outreach and short videos on the internet. Some examples include:

Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the expert workshop on the impact of existing strategies and initiatives to address child, early and forced marriage

Report of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice

Summary report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the panel discussion on the theme “The implementation of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training: good practices and challenges”

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on her mission to Sri Lanka

Side events relating to internet rights

See You on the Streets, organised by American Civil Liberties Union, CIVICUS, Civic Space Initiative, International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations, and others, 6 June, 12:00-13:30 CET in Room XXIV.

LGBT Rights, organised by ARC International, 7 June, 12:00-13:30 CET, Room XXI

Digging Deep. Defenders reflect on the focus of planned future reports of the SOGI Independent Expert, organised by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and the International Service for Human Rights, 7 June, 14:00-15:30 CET, Room VIII.

Digital Access, Shutdowns, and Surveillance: Private actors and respect for free expression, organised by ARTICLE 19, Access Now, APC and Privacy International, 14 June, 12:00-13:30 CET, Room XXIV.

Women’s Rights and the Internet, organised by the Association for Progressive Communications, 15 June, 15.00-16.30 CET, Room XXIV.

Expression and Religion Online, organised by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), 15 June, 11:30-13:00 CET, Room IX.

Civil Society Space and the Private Sector, organised by International Service for Human Rights and CIVICUS, 14 June, 13:30-15:00 CET, Room XXIV

A daily schedule of events is available here.