Human Rights Council's 44th session: What is at stake for human rights online?

The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an important platform to raise concerns about threats and challenges in the digital context, to highlight opportunities and to address specific country situations. What is at stake for human rights online at the HRC's 44th session, which begins today, particularly in the current context of a pandemic? 

Because this session will take place in the evolving context of COVID-19, it will present a hybrid format, combining face-to-face and online sessions, which poses challenges for civil society participation. As pointed out in a recent joint civil society statement, states of emergency and other exceptional measures adopted to fight the COVID-19 health crisis should not be used as reasons to restrict civil society access and opportunities for participation within UN spaces. The HRC should remain an accessible forum, especially at this particular time, when some human rights violations are aggravated by the context of the pandemic.

Human rights at HRC44: What are APC's key priorities?
  • To raise awareness about the implications that responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have for the exercise of human rights online, particularly in contexts of extreme crackdowns on dissent and stifling of protest.

  • To ensure that the concerns of communities who experience intersecting forms of discrimination and oppression are reflected in the proceedings, particularly as they relate to participation and inclusion.

  • To highlight threats that information and communications technologies (ICTs), including artificial intelligence (AI), pose to the rights to non-discrimination and racial equality, as well as to freedom of expression, assembly and association.

More information
  • HRC's 44th session is taking place between 30 June and 21 July. The full programme of work and all the reports that will be presented can be accessed here.

  • The main Twitter hashtag for the session is #HRC44, and plenary sessions will be live streamed and archived here. We are @apc_news and we'll be tweeting under #internet rights, #humanrightsonline, #feministinternet and other thematic hashtags.

  • Access our press section to stay updated on pressing news and other resources

  • For interviews, coverage and other press inquiries, contact Leila Nachawati, APC’s media outreach lead:

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