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49th session of the Human Rights Council (28 February–1 April 2022)

Agenda Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on privacy – 10 March 2022

Oral statement delivered by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Derechos Digitales and Intervozes

I am delivering this statement on behalf of APC, Derechos Digitales and Intervozes, all organisations with extensive work on privacy and data protection in Latin America.

We congratulate the Special Rapporteur on the delivery of her first report. We welcome the report’s acknowledgement that a human-centred approach should guide any data protection regulatory system. We are also happy to learn that the Special Rapporteur considers that data protection regulations entail establishing safeguards that guarantee not only people’s right to privacy, but also to dignity, freedom and equality.

We call on the Special Rapporteur to dedicate special attention to three points. First, the impacts of poor regulation, lack of data protection regulation or its poor implementation, on marginalised groups. Privacy violations that women and LGBTIQ persons experience, for example, take place within a context of existing structural inequalities and discrimination, which put them at particular risk of violence and other types of human rights violations. It is essential that considerations of privacy also take account of autonomy, bodily integrity, sexuality and sexual expression.

Moreover, despite agreeing with the importance of regulatory harmonisation that abides by international human rights standards, current legal and institutional frameworks for personal data protection are not sufficient to effectively protect the rights of Latin Americans. Surveillance measures in the region routinely ignore substantive data protection concerns regarding necessity and proportionality. Public procurement of facial recognition technologies rarely includes considerations of personal data protection. Implementation and enforcement of existing data privacy regimes lag far behind implementation of data technologies in the public sector.

Finally, we call on the Special Rapporteur to recognise that many of the positive developments in regulations seen in Latin America in the last years are a direct result of effective, transparent and meaningful multistakeholder participation. Civil society engagement is key to ensuring diverse expertise, views and approaches to privacy and data protection discussions, not only at the national level, but also at the international level. We therefore remain committed to supporting the mandate and open to engaging with the Special Rapporteur on a constructive dialogue during her years in this post.

Thank you.


Watch the video of the statement delivered by Paula Martins, APC's Human rights policy advocacy lead, on behalf of APC, Derechos Digitales and Intervozes: