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Image by Zack Lee, used under Creative Commons license. Photo of framed representations of each human right included in the Declaration of Human Rights at UN.

Oral statement delivered under Item 3: Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences, and the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants 

UN Human Rights Council 38th Session

20 June 2018

Speaker: Bruna Martins dos Santos

Thank you, Mr. President. 

The Association for Progressive Communications welcomes the report on online violence against women and girls of the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, its Causes and Consequences. 

We highlight the significance of the report in a context of closing civic spaces, attacks on women human rights defenders and increasing levels of online gender-based violence. These trends limit the ability of women and girls to benefit from the potential that the internet and other information and communication technologies hold for the realisation of human rights such as political participation, expression, and access to information in particular, information on sexual and reproductive health and rights.

We believe the report, together with General Recommendation 35 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, make an important contribution to the development of international standards and the articulation of state responsibilities to end violence against women online and in digital contexts. We also welcome mention of the role of internet intermediaries and emphasise their responsibility to respect human rights in accordance with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We emphasise that responses to content that reinforces violence against women should be rooted in human rights norms and require clear definitions, consistent with the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality and legitimacy, for what constitutes harmful content. 

We address the following questions to the Special Rapporteur: 

1. Can the Special Rapporteur elaborate on plans to engage with other special procedures and treaty bodies to further this work? 

2. What role does the Special Rapporteur see for people and institutions involved in the technical development and management of the internet, in relation to preventing online gender-based violence? 

3. What kind of support is needed to ensure that efforts at local, national and regional levels to respond to online gender-based violence reflect the global norms and standards being developed? 

Thank you, Mr. President.