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What’s new?

On Friday 3 June 2011, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Frank La Rue, will present his annual report to the Human Rights Council. This year the report will focus 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. Member States can participate in interactive dialogue on the report and respond to issues.

What is at stake?

APC wants all States to commit to positive steps in response to the report. APC has issued a written statement with 30 recommendations for practical actions including 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. All State delegations will have a copy of this statement which is available online-

We emphasise that women’s human rights must be respected and protected and their rights to freedom of expression and association must not be restricted, directly or indirectly, in the name of ‘security’ or other law enforcement measures except as determined in accordance with agreed human rights standards.

We want the Human Rights Council to adopt a participatory approach in developing responses to the issues raised by the Special Rapporteur through open processes that ensure the engagement of all, particularly vulnerable and marginalised groups, in accordance with the rights based approach and principles of information sharing, participation and transparency.

What can you do?
Send a message to your Foreign Ministry today! Contact details for each Ministry can be found here

Copy your message to your country’s Ambassador in Geneva. “Contact details for the Geneva missions of each State can be found here”_ Encourage them to watch the video of the APC side event in Geneva on 3 June that highlighted these issues

Point out that internet rights are human rights and that all people have the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association. No one should be subject to human rights violations such as: a) arbitrary criminalisation of online expression, b) blocking, controlling and manipulating internet content, c) interference with privacy and data protection, d) unlawful surveillance, and restrictions and e) limitations on internet access. Such actions are a violation of the right to freedom of expression affirmed in Article 19 of the ICCPR.

Ask for action on at least one of the recommendations in the APC statement.

Forward this alert to others. Encourage mainstream human rights organisations, friends, national human rights institutions and other allies to contact their governments and make their voices heard.

Photo by ketu°. Used with permission under Creative Commons licence 2.0