[bestbits] The UN says no more internet shutdowns!

Matthias C. Kettemann matthias.kettemann at gmail.com
Tue Jul 5 03:23:47 EDT 2016

Dear Becky, dear colleagues,

HRC member states, in para. 10 of the Resolution,
"*condemn **unequivocally *measures to intentionally prevent or disrupt
access to or dissemination of information online in violation of
international human rights law and calls on all States to refrain from and
cease such measures;"

HRC resolutions, unlike some Chapter VII-based SC Resolutions, do not come
with clear sanctions. A shutdown will formally not have any different
consequences after the resolution than before. However, it is an important
statement which can be used for advocacy, and as evidence before courts and
by academia of an emerging international consensus on the subject, a
crystallization of a customary international law right to access and
perhaps as a normative step towards the recognition of an shared
international responsibility for the integrity of the Internet.

That Internet shutdowns are illegal because they are, almost without
exception, not based in law, in pursuance of a legitimate aim, and
proporiationate to the aim pursued, is pretty clear. But it's very good I
see the HRC embrace this approach so publicly. Teh resolution is a also a
step in the direction of shared responsibility for the integrity of the

But formally, Internet shutdowns just as other HR violations do not provide
the international community (except in responsibilty to protect-situation
of mass atrocities of which Internet shutdowns might be an early sign) with
a title to intervene.

On a related note, the European Yearbook on Human Rights 2016
which I co-edited together with (i.a.) Wolfgang Benedek, is out now.

Kind regards


On Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 12:55 AM, Becky Lentz <roberta.lentz at mcgill.ca>

> Dear BB colleagues with HR legal expertise…
> Just wondering what enforcement teeth this kind of resolution has? What
> steps are possible if/when another shutdown happens? What’s the first/next
> step if/when that happens please?
> Thanks,
> B.
> ----------------------
> Becky Lentz, PhD
> Associate Professor of Communication Studies
> McGill University Faculty of Arts
> 853 Sherbrooke Street West, Arts Building, W-265
> Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 0G5
> Phone 514.398.4995
> Fax 514.398.8557
> Email: becky.lentz at mcgill.ca
> http://www.mcgill.ca/ahcs
> From: "Deji Olukotun, Access Now" <info at act.accessnow.org>
> Reply-To: "Deji Olukotun, Access Now" <info at act.accessnow.org>
> Date: Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 12:36 PM
> To: <becky.lentz at mcgill.ca>
> Subject: The UN says no more internet shutdowns!
> [image: Access Now]
> Hi ,
> Good news! On Friday,* the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a
> resolution
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648944&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>
> condemning internet shutdowns*. This is a huge step toward protecting
> human rights online and a MAJOR milestone for the movement to #KeepItOn.
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648945&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>
> With help from people like you, we’re spreading the word about internet
> shutdowns — and how deeply they impact people’s lives. Now, the world’s
> leading international human rights body has unanimously spoken: when
> governments shut down the internet, they abuse our rights and violate
> international law.
> This is a moment for celebration, but it’s also a moment for reflection.
> The same week we saw this amazing victory, we also saw shutdowns in Turkey,
> Bahrain, and Algeria. *We need your help to seize this moment at the UN
> and put an end to internet shutdowns for good.*
> [image: Donate]
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648946&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>
> *First, you can make a donation
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648947&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>** to
> support the #KeepItOn campaign.* From working with UN delegates on this
> resolution to providing direct technical assistance to victims of internet
> shutdowns around the world, Access Now is fighting at all levels to stop
> internet shutdowns, and your support makes all the difference.
> [image: Take the pledge]
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648948&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>
> Next, if you haven’t already, join the community of activists committed to
> fighting internet shutdowns by *taking the #KeepItOn pledge.*
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648949&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>
> It’s going to take all of us standing together to make this happen.
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648950&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>
> Share the image on Twitter
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648951&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>
> Share the image on Facebook
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> Now, *tell everyone you know about this awesome victory* and encourage
> them to join you in the fight to #KeepItOn! Click here to share the pledge
> on Facebook
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648953&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>
> and Twitter
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648954&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>.
> (Even Edward Snowden supported the fight! Check out his tweet here
> <https://www.e-activist.com/ea-action/broadcast.record.message.click.do?ea.url.id=648955&ea.campaigner.email=kcGOb7dSS%2FUM2VG5zWPfkyI35sBDF31e&ea.campaigner.id=PUHLa0Jj%2ByqZkArzVWMSmA==&ea_broadcast_target_id=0>
> .)
> Thanks for everything you’ve done and will do to help move us closer to a
> world free of internet shutdowns. We couldn’t do it without you.
> Together in the fight,
> Deji Olukotun
> Access Now
> P.S. Your donation
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> will help us keep the fight in the halls of the UN, on the ground providing
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Dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard)
Post-Doc Fellow | Cluster of Excellence „
University of Frankfurt am Main
Lecturer | Institute of International Law andInternational Relations
<http://voelkerrecht.uni-graz.at/en/>, University of Graz

Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Exzellenzcluster „Normative Ordnungen“
Max-Horkheimer-Straße 2, 60629 Frankfurt am Main / Germany

E | matthias.kettemann at gmail.com
Blog <http://internationallawandtheinternet.blogspot.com/> | Google Scholar
<http://scholar.google.ch/citations?user=8jRGt2QAAAAJ> | Twitter
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European Yearbook on Human Rights 2016 (2016)
in Zeiten des Netzes (2015)
Freedom of Expression and the Internet (2014, co-author)
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