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The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) submits this written statement ahead of the Human Rights Council’s 44th session to express our concerns about the online human rights implications of states’ measures adopted to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The current pandemic has raised challenges for human rights and, in some cases, responses by governments have revealed fault lines that challenge international human rights law. While we recognise that these are extraordinary times, this should not be the basis for human violations in online spaces. States’ responses to the crisis should be proportionate and avoid curtailing human rights.
The following sections are addressed within this statement:
I. Internet access and exacerbated digital divides
II. Human rights concerns regarding responses to the pandemic
Privacy and surveillance
Attacks on journalists and human rights defenders
Misinformation and social media platforms
Online gender-based violence, hate speech and discrimination
To the Human Rights Council
The full statement is available for download here.