New UN Human Rights Council Resolution On Internet Rights

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The United Nations Human Rights Council has adopted a new resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet. The resolution ties such rights to development, and is said to be the first UN resolution to put online human rights on par with those offline.

The resolution calls on all states “to promote and facilitate access to the Internet and international cooperation aimed at the development of media and information and communications facilities in all countries.”

It also: “Encourages special procedures to take these issues into account within their existing mandates, as applicable,” and “Decides to continue its consideration of the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, on the Internet and in other technologies, as well as of how the Internet can be an important tool for development and for exercising human rights, in accordance with its programme of work.”

“This outcome is momentous for the Human Rights Council,” US Amb. Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe said at a press briefing with the ambassadors of Sweden, Brazil, Turkey, Tunisia and Nigeria. “It’s the first ever UN resolution affirming that human rights in the digital realm must be protected and promoted to the same extent and with the same commitment as human rights in the physical world.”

“So in that sense we can all say that human rights in the on-line world are as real as human rights in the off-line world,” Donahoe said.

HRC Resolution L13 is available here or here.

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