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Joint Submission on Internet-related Human Rights Issues in Colombia

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Por Colnodo (APC)
, October 2012

Human rights and the internet are referred to in the founding documents on the United Nations World Summit of the Information Society, the Geneva Declaration of Principles and the Internet Governance Forum. During 2011 it became clear that the UPR must include the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms on the internet, particularly freedom of expression and freedom of association. In 2011 the Human Rights Committee noted that freedom of expression (including the right to information) includes internet based expression.

This submission discusses the recently passed Lleras Bill, which enacts harsh punishments based on a broad definition of copyright infringement. Local groups have called on the government to amend the law based on Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The protection of copyright on the internet must be weighed against the negative impact it could have for exercising one’s right to freedom of expression.

This submission also focuses on the internet in relation to the protection and promotion of women and minority groups. New research on violence against women demonstrates that the internet is a critical space in the struggle for fundamental rights and freedoms. At the same time, it is important to address the dangers that the internet and ICTs pose to women and marginalised groups.

Colnodo and APC make the following recommendations:

1. Support organisations that work with women and ICTs to help put an end to violence against women.

2. Extend legislation intended to combat violence against women to include ICTs and violence against women online.

3. Repeal or amend legislation that restricts freedom of expression, such as blocking or banning online content.

4. Engage civil society groups and internet activists in discussion and debate on legislation relating to the internet, human rights and intellectual property.

5. Ensure that constitutional protections for freedom of expression include internet related expression, in accordance with General Comment 34 on Article 19 of the Human Rights Committee.

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