Upholding human rights online in the context of COVID-19: APC statement at the 44th session of the Human Rights Council
Author : APC
Focus Area : Any Other
Publication Type: Gender, Human Rights, Information & Communication Technology (ICT), Internet governance, Governance , Security
Publication Date: June, 2020


The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) submits this written statement ahead of the Human Rights Council’s 44th session to express our concerns about the online human rights implications of states’ measures adopted to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The current pandemic has raised challenges for human rights and, in some cases, responses by governments have revealed fault lines that challenge international human rights law. While we recognise that these are extraordinary times, this should not be the basis for human violations in online spaces. States’ responses to the crisis should be proportionate and avoid curtailing human rights. The following sections are addressed within this statement: I. Internet access and exacerbated digital divides II. Human rights concerns regarding responses to the pandemic Privacy and surveillance Attacks on journalists and human rights defenders Misinformation and social media platforms Online gender-based violence, hate speech and discrimination III. Recommendations To the Human Rights Council To governments The full statement is available for download here.