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As part of APC’s Connect your rights! campaign, with the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs at the Human Rights Council’s 17th session in Geneva on 3 June, 13:00 to 15:00, room XXV, Palais des Nations.

Watch the recording of the event

Activists in a demonstration in EgyptActivists in a demonstration in EgyptIssues addressed include the criminalisation of online expression, the blocking and manipulating of internet content, invasion of privacy and data protection, unlawful surveillance and limitations on internet access. The panel also focused on the specific impacts on freedom of expression, freedom of association and women’s human rights.

Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, presented his annual report which focuses primarily on the internet. The report outlines the growing trend of restricting freedom of expression and association online, and the importance of reaffirming these freedoms in the online sphere.

The Human Rights Council meeting is an appropriate venue to raise these issues, as they are not just questions of internet governance, but crucial and inalienable rights as outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

APC called on States and relevant non-state actors to take immediate steps to ensure the safety and freedom of their citizens online in a written statement to the Human Rights Council. This includes the repeal of laws restricting free speech, ending practices of unlawful surveillance, establishment of clear and transparent legal procedures for the blocking of illegal content and the passing of laws that protect the security and privacy of citizens’ personal information.

The event was chaired by Anriette Esterhuysen, Executive Director, APC and Johan Hallenborg, Special Adviser, Department for International Law, Human Rights and Treaty Law, Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Closing remarks were made by Joy Liddicoat, APC’s Internet Rights Project Coordinator. Guest panellists included:

Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression,
Desiree Zeljka Miloshevic, Senior Public Policy and International Affairs Adviser at Afilias
Marina Maria, Assistente de comunicação e projetos, Secretariado do Observatório de Sexualidade e Política, ABIA – Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinar de Aids Av.,
Manal Hassan, Arab Techies Coordinator, activist and blogger, Egypt , and
Shahzad Ahmad, Bytes 4 All, Pakistan

For more information please contact:

Henrik Almström
Internet Rights and Democracy Programme Officer

>>Read APC’s statements and other background documents here

Photo by Mona Used under Creative Commons license.