Syria's internet shutdown violates international human rights law

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30 November 2012 (APCNews)


At 10:26 UTC on November 29th, Syria’s international internet connectivity was shut down. Internet service providers in Syria can only operate through the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment, which controls 92% of Syria’s routing networks.

APC strongly condemns this shut down, which threatens the safety and security of the Syrian people, and clearly violates international human rights law.

In his 2011 report, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Frank La Rue, condemned arbitrary restrictions to the internet as a clear violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UNDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The Special Rapporteur called upon all States to ensure that internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest.

Over the past few months there have been growing fears of widespread shutdown, and in September, the internet was cut off in Aleppo for 10 days, leaving activists and rebels to communicate largely by satellite phone.

For more background on Syria and the internet, read the 2009 GISWatch report on “Access to Online Information and Knowledge”

Image from Rensys

(END/2012)

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