‘States must guarantee fundamental freedoms online’

Pia Lee-Brago - The Philippine Star
�States must guarantee fundamental freedoms online�
Stock photo of a man holding a smartphone.
Philstar.com / Jovannie Lambayan

MANILA, Philippines — States must guarantee fundamental freedoms online and during use of digital technologies, United Nations and regional human rights experts said.

In a new Joint Declaration issued on World Democracy Day, human rights experts urged states to effectively respect, protect and facilitate the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, of association and of expression online and in digitally mediated spaces, and ensure digital technologies are not used to unduly restrict civic space online and offline.

The declaration was made by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association Clement Voule and experts from the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights.

The experts said state and non-state actors have deliberately used technology to silence, survey and harass dissidents, political opposition, human rights defenders, activists and protesters.

Such acts create a chilling effect and shrink civic spaces online and offline.

They said that states must ensure technologies are used as a means to facilitate the rights to peaceful assembly, association and expression online and offline, not suppress these rights.

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