[IRP] Urgent - Statement on Egyptian Internet restrictions

Dixie Hawtin Dixie
Tue Feb 1 19:33:17 EET 2011

I have sent the statement through to the Governance and Free Expression lists. I have also sent it through to the few media contacts I have (Al Jazeera, The Wire Report and The Hankyoreh - a South Korean paper). If anyone has other contacts to send it to please do.

Thank Mike! I think for now we just want to get it out ASAP but if there is interest in gathering signatures etc. we should test the water first to make sure that it will make the Statement stronger rather than weaker. What do you think?


From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org [mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of Michael Gurstein
Sent: 01 February 2011 16:44
To: Lisa Horner; irp at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
Subject: Re: [IRP] Urgent - Statement on Egyptian Internet restrictions

Excellent initiative and excellent statement.  I agree with the comments made although the role of the Egyptian government in cutting off of the Internet seems incontrovertible.

I also agree that there should be a pointer to the draft Charter (and perhaps a statement somewhere in there about the interest in receiving comments, collaborations, signatories etc.etc.

-----Original Message-----
From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org [mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of Lisa Horner
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 3:15 AM
To: irp at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
Subject: [IRP] Urgent - Statement on Egyptian Internet restrictions
Importance: High
Hi all

I'd like to suggest that the IRP coalition issues a statement on the Internet cuts and media disruptions in Egypt, in solidarity with the protestors there.  Seeing how we've discussed in depth Internet access and accessibility as a fundamental component of the Charter and of human rights online, I really feel that we should condemn what's going on in Egypt.  Dixie and I have 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,


The Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition urges the Egyptian government to end its violation of the Egyptian people's rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly by lifting restrictions on access to the Internet and other Information and Communication Technologies.

The Egyptian government has cut off all Internet access in the country.  Mobile phone networks have also been severely disrupted.  Restrictions have also 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 Egyptian people to freedom of expression and assembly. The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in international law in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Egypt has ratified.  The right includes freedom to seek, receive and impart information through 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 unnecessary response to legitimate political protest.  The UN Human Rights Council Resolution 12/16 states that it is never permissible for any government to restrict peaceful demonstrations and political activities, including those 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 world has brought with it unprecedented opportunities for the fulfilment of human rights, social and economic development and democracy. These opportunities must not be lost through misguided efforts to control online communication.

The Dynamic Coalition calls on the Egyptian government to restore the right to freedom of expression and assembly in Egypt through removing all restrictions 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 media.

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 undertaking a major project to draft a Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet.  This applies international human rights standards to the Internet environment.  It outlines what human rights people have when operating online, and what elements of Internet architecture need to be protected in order to realise human rights to the fullest extent possible.

Lisa Horner
Head of Research & Policy  Global Partners and Associates
338 City Road, London, EC1V 2PY, UK
Office: + 44 207 239 8251     Mobile: +44 7867 795859
LisaH at global-partners.co.uk<mailto:lisah at global-partners.co.uk>  www.global-partners.co.uk<http://www.global-partners.co.uk/>

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