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12 March 2019 | Updated on 28 April 2023

On International Women’s Day, APC made an oral statement at the Human Rights Council's 40th session. Within the context of shrinking of civic space online, we expressed deep concern about the online backlash against feminist voices, the extension and amplification of misogyny and discrimination and violence online.

In every region of the world, restrictive laws are being applied online to censor independent voices, squash dissent and create a chilling effect on civil society through pervasive surveillance. 

It is also very disturbing to see the latest trend of internet shutdowns, particularly in Africa and Asia. These shutdowns are in violation of international law and restrict a range of rights and harm communities, often at critical political moments.

Other worrying trends include the use of blasphemy-related laws in countries like India and Pakistan, which are being used to jail human rights defenders and activists. 

Countless human rights defenders and free-thinkers continue to be imprisoned in countries like Egypt for exercising their rights, including renowned blogger, human rights defender and APC friend Alaa Abdel Fattah, whose release is scheduled for 17 March. More information on the campaign for Alaa's release can be found here.

Read our full statement.