Disruptions to the internet and social media applications have emerged as a common and growing trend of digital repression, especially in authoritarian countries in Africa. Since 2019, numerous countries in the region have either restricted or fully blocked access to the internet.
The undersigned organisations call on the military to immediately respect the election results, return power to the elected parliament and government, unconditionally release all those detained, refrain from all acts of violence, and restore and maintain full internet connectivity.
This report outlines jurisprudence across the global South on the legality of internet shutdowns. It tackles the growing challenge of government-mandated disruptions of internet access around the world, often under the guise of safeguarding public order and upholding national security interests.
This year, governments in the Middle East and North Africa have continued to shut down and throttle the internet during grade and high school examinations. So far, governments in Jordan, Syria, Algeria, and Sudan have disrupted the internet during examinations.
Temporary internet disruptions and shutdowns pose serious challenges to the exercise of a wide range of rights and cannot be justified under any pretext. We therefore call on the Lebanese authorities to lift all restrictions on internet access and restore telecommunications to full capacity.
The repeated instances of internet shutdowns and degradation of network services are causing immense harm to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We urge the government of the Union Territory and associate government authorities to restore high speed internet access in the region.
APC joined with other civil society organisations to congratulate and welcome Irene Khan to her new role as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and to highlight some broad priority themes that require particular attention.
Last month the Economic Community of West African States Community Court of Justice ruled that the 2017 internet shutdown in Togo was illegal. But barely a week later, Ethiopia initiated a nationwide shutdown, serving as a reminder of the persistent threat of internet shutdowns on the continent.
Earlier this month, the Jakarta State Administrative Court declared as illegal the internet shutdowns in Papua and West Papua enforced by the Indonesian government in 2019.
APC and the Myanmar ICT for Development Organization thank the Special Rapporteur for her report on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, particularly for highlighting how ICTs are being leveraged to perpetuate violations against religious minorities such as the Rohingya.