[IRP] Urgent - Statement on Egyptian Internet restrictions

Norbert Bollow nb
Tue Feb 1 14:05:55 EET 2011

Hello Lisa and all,

While I'm a very new member of this mailing list and I'm not sure
whether that makes me formally a member of the IRP coalition or
not, I must say that I've very strongly in favor of making a statement
like this, and I think that this is very well drafted.


Lisa Horner <LisaH at global-partners.co.uk> wrote:
> Hi all
> I'd like to suggest that the IRP coalition issues a statement on the Intern=
> et cuts and media disruptions in Egypt, in solidarity with the protestors t=
> here.  Seeing how we've discussed in depth Internet access and accessibilit=
> y as a fundamental component of the Charter and of human rights online, I r=
> eally feel that we should condemn what's going on in Egypt.  Dixie and I ha=
> ve drafted a statement below.  Please could you respond ASAP (by 15.00 GMT)=
>  to say whether you're happy for this to go out.  We can then all send far =
> and wide.
> Thanks and all the best,
> Lisa
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------=
> --
> The Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition urges the Egyptian gov=
> ernment to end its violation of the Egyptian people's rights to freedom of =
> expression and peaceful assembly by lifting restrictions on access to the I=
> nternet and other Information and Communication Technologies.
> The Egyptian government has cut off all Internet access in the country.  Mo=
> bile phone networks have also been severely disrupted.  Restrictions have a=
> lso been placed on Egyptian and international media, including the blocking=
>  of Al Jazeera's broadcast signal and seizure of its equipment.
> These actions are direct and serious violations of the rights of the Egypti=
> an people to freedom of expression and assembly. The right to freedom of ex=
> pression is enshrined in international law in Article 19 of the Internation=
> al Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Egypt has ratified=
> .  The right includes freedom to seek, receive and impart information throu=
> gh any media, regardless of frontiers.   In modern society, the Internet is=
>  fundamental for the fulfilment of the right to freedom of expression.  It =
> is also an essential tool for peaceful assembly, whether online or offline,=
>  as protected by Article 21 of the ICCPR.
> These restrictions on communications access are a disproportionate and unne=
> cessary response to legitimate political protest.  The UN Human Rights Coun=
> cil Resolution 12/16 states that it is never permissible for any government=
>  to restrict peaceful demonstrations and political activities, including th=
> ose for democracy.  It also states that placing restrictions on access to, =
> or use of, information and communication technologies is never permissible.=
>   This includes access to radio, television and the Internet.
> The explosion of information and communication technologies across the worl=
> d has brought with it unprecedented opportunities for the fulfilment of hum=
> an rights, social and economic development and democracy. These opportuniti=
> es must not be lost through misguided efforts to control online communicati=
> on.
> The Dynamic Coalition calls on the Egyptian government to restore the right=
>  to freedom of expression and assembly in Egypt through removing all restri=
> ctions on communication.  All professional and citizen journalists in Egypt=
>  must be free to report on unfolding events through any media platform, to =
> national and international audiences.  All people must have full access to =
> the Internet, to mobile phones and SMS, and to national and international m=
> edia.
> About the Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition
> The IRP DC is an international network of people who are working to uphold =
> human rights on and through the Internet.  The coalition is currently under=
> taking a major project to draft a Charter of Human Rights and Principles fo=
> r the Internet.  This applies international human rights standards to the I=
> nternet environment.  It outlines what human rights people have when operat=
> ing online, and what elements of Internet architecture need to be protected=
>  in order to realise human rights to the fullest extent possible.

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