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Oral statement delivered during the clustered
interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteurs on the right to freedom
of opinion and expression and on the rights to
freedom of peaceful assembly and of association
Human Rights Council 41st session
25 June 2019
Speaker: Alison Carmel
Thank you Mr. President.
The Association for Progressive Communications and 7amleh - the Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media echo the alarm expressed by the Special Rapporteur over the unlawful surveillance being carried out by states and companies without transparency, accountability, oversight or redress.
As a member of civil society working in Palestine and Israel, 7amleh is particularly concerned about the State of Israel and Israeli companies selling technology to states known to violate international human rights law.
We are disturbed that people with expertise in cybersecurity and digital rights, who help protect activists from unlawful surveillance, like Swedish software developer Ola Bini, have been targeted for their work. We implore the government of Ecuador to end his political persecution.
We are also disturbed by the fact that social media companies are cooperating with governments to develop predictive policing and surveillance practices and that their platforms are being used by governments and non-state actors to operate large armies of trolls and spread hatred and misinformation.
Last year, Israel arrested 350 Palestinians over charges of incitement, including arrests for social media posts, in the occupied Palestinian territory, while arresting very few Israeli Jews.
According to 7amleh’s research, there was an inciting post against Palestinians published on social networks every 66 seconds. Most posts were related to Israeli legislation. The Israeli government bears responsibility for the continued and increasing incitement against Arabs and Palestinians on social networks.
Mr. President, the human rights law framework is in place, but a framework to monitor and enforce it is not.
What is the council doing to ensure that governments and companies comply with human rights norms?