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Statement delivered during the Interactive Dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council

5 March 2020

The Association for Progressive Communications welcomes a gender perspective being integrated into the work of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy and the adoption of intersectionality as a framework in the digital age, which are still largely unexplored.

This approach has given visibility and questions powers and privileges that emerge as a result of gender, race, ethnicity, class, and other social and cultural hierarchies in online and offline spaces. APC welcomes the report’s acknowledgement of privacy as a protection against gender-based violence and discrimination, experienced disproportionately by women and gender non-conforming individuals.

A range of laws have negative impacts on women, including laws such as the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act in India which is likely to impact women and the poor the most. We welcome the recommendation to states to enact legislation to specially protect women and gender-diverse human rights defenders from all forms of violence and to repeal laws that criminalise them. We also welcome the call for both states and companies to promote encryption since it is a tool that enables HRDs, individuals and minority groups to express and associate on sensitive matters, including sexual orientation.

Mr. Special Rapporteur, we call on you to require states and companies to take concrete steps to comply with your recommendation on adopting privacy by design/default and conducting gender impact analyses before the introduction of new products, services, legislation and other initiatives. Meaningful engagement of women and LGBTIQ persons in the design and development of these policies and features is fundamental. Mr Special Rapporteur, it is important to ensure that states and companies adopt policies and design with these groups rather than for these groups.

Thank you.