The UN recognises freedom of expression on the internet as a human right
By AL for APCNews
NEW YORK, United States, 06 July 2012
On July 5th, 2012 the United Nations Human Rights Council approved a resolution stating that the right to freedom of expression on the internet should be protected by state parties. “The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online,” said the resolution.
It had the support of 85 co-sponsors, including Brazil, Sweden, the United States, and Egypt, an incredibly large number compared to previous years’ resolutions on the same issue. It is, on the one hand, a precedent for the application of all human rights online; it also recognizes “the global and open nature of the internet as a driving force in accelerating progress toward development.”
APC welcomes this explicit support from the international community of the defense and promotion of freedom of expression online. The resolution is evidence of the impact of APC’s network of organisations that have worked to raise awareness about freedom of expression online. This is a significant first step towards the enforcement and protection of human rights on the internet.
Full text of the resolution
Human Rights Council
Twentieth session Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
Algeria*, Argentina*, Australia*, Austria, Azerbaijan*, Belgium, Bolivia (Plurinational State of)*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Brazil*, Bulgaria*, Canada*, Chile, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire*, Croatia*, Cyprus*, Czech Republic, Denmark*, Djibouti, Egypt*, Estonia*, Finland*, France*, Georgia*, Germany*, Greece*, Guatemala, Honduras*, Hungary, Iceland*, India, Indonesia, Ireland*, Italy, Latvia*, Libya, Liechtenstein*, Lithuania*, Luxembourg*, Maldives, Malta*, Mauritania, Mexico, Monaco*, Montenegro*, Morocco*, Netherlands*, Nigeria, Norway, Palestine*, Peru, Poland, Portugal*, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Korea*, Romania, Serbia*, Slovakia*, Slovenia*, Somalia*, Spain, Sweden*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Timor-Leste*, Tunisia*, Turkey*, Ukraine*, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland*, United States of America, Uruguay. [* Non-Member State of the Human Rights Council]
The promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet
The Human Rights Council,
Guided by the Charter of the United Nations,
Reaffirming the human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
Recalling all relevant resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, in particular Council resolution 12/16 of 2 October 2009, and also recalling General Assembly resolution 66/184 of 22 December 2011,
Noting that the exercise of human rights, in particular the right to freedom of expression, on the Internet is an issue of increasing interest and importance as the rapid pace of technological development enables individuals all over the world to use new information and communications technologies,
_Taking note of the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, submitted to the Human Rights Council at its seventeenth session,1 and to the General Assembly at its sixty-sixth session,2 on freedom of expression on the Internet,
1. Affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice, in accordance with articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
2. Recognizes the global and open nature of the Internet as a driving force in accelerating progress towards development in its various forms;
3. Calls upon all States to promote and facilitate access to the Internet and international cooperation aimed at the development of media and information and communications facilities in all countries;
4. Encourages special procedures to take these issues into account within their existing mandates, as applicable;
5. Decides to continue its consideration of the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, on the Internet and in other technologies, as well as of how the Internet can be an important tool for development and for exercising human rights, in accordance with its programme of work.