The mission of A HUMAN RIGHT.org and organizations like us has been given tacit approval. A report released on June 3, 2011 by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations declared Internet access a human right. It is our pleasure to learn that the objectives of the United Nations and A HUMAN RIGHT.org are uniquely aligned.
The report detailed the Internet as “one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency in the conduct of the powerful, access to information, and for facilitating active citizen participation in building democratic societies.” Given the great power of the Internet, it stands to reason that that there will be those who attempt to corrupt it. Countries that conspire to control the digital dialog will always be at a deficit to the needs of their people and now they have been put on notice: “there should be as little restriction as possible to the flow of information via the Internet, except in few, exceptional, and limited circumstances prescribed by international human rights law.” The UN stressed, “the full guarantee of the right to freedom of expression must be the norm, and any limitation considered as an exception, and that this principle should never be reversed.”
The UN report outlined how several member states have already recognized Internet access as a right: “The parliament of Estonia passed legislation in 2000 declaring Internet access a basic human right. The constitutional council of France effectively declared Internet access a fundamental right in 2009, and the constitutional court of Costa Rica reached a similar decision in 2010. Going a step further, Finland passed a decree in 2009 stating that every Internet connection needs to have a speed of at least one Megabit per second (broadband level).”
Access to the Internet was described as a tool that “facilitated economic development” and hammered home the simple truth that ensuring Internet access protects other human rights, “Unlike any other medium, the Internet enables individuals to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds instantaneously and inexpensively across national borders. By vastly expanding the capacity of individuals to enjoy their right to freedom of opinion and expression, which is an “enabler” of other human rights, the Internet boosts economic, social and political development, and contributes to the progress of humankind as a whole.”
The report emphasized the importance of a continued effort to bridge the digital divide urging that “ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all States” in order to “make the Internet widely available, accessible and affordable to all segments of population.”
A HUMAN RIGHT.org has had the privilege of discussing these ideas with the UN in the past. We salute that the UN has chosen to protect the rights of current and future netizens across the globe. This is a tremendous success for all.
Full text of report here.