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APC has developed this submission in response to the request for input by the UN Special Rapporteur on racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, in his research into “the appropriate balance between the protection of freedom of opinion and expression and the control of racist and xenophobic content and incitement to violence through the internet.”

Drawing on Articles 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and Article 5 of the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), this submission examines recent cases of online hate speech and State responses, which often go far beyond those set out in international conventions.

At the same time, this submission discusses access to online content, and the potential of the internet to enable the rights to equality, dignity and freedom from discrimination for all. The Special Rapporteur’s 2012 report drew attention to the dangers of unequal access to the internet, including the exclusion of the victims of discrimination from digital conversations, due to the intersection of poverty and discrimination.