Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Home » Activists Implore Armenia Government to Protect Internet Access, Free Expression

Activists Implore Armenia Government to Protect Internet Access, Free Expression

by Pridoni Jaqeli
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A group of human rights organizations on Saturday, wrote an open letter urging top Armenian officals to oppose a proposed law that would restrict access to internet services, thus limiting the population’s freedom of expression.

The letter, addressed to Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and National Assembly Speaker Alen Simonyan, states:

Nations across Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and the world, must ensure people can access open, secure, and free internet when they need it the most — during important national events. We urge the Republic of Armenia to #KeepItOn.

The groups cited numerous instances where the government of Armenia improperly restricted the use of social media sites like Tik Tok. The Ministry of Justice proposed draft amendments to the Legal Regime of Martial Law in December 2022, giving the government the power to censor speech by blocking social media websites and shutting down portions or the entire internet.

The #KeepItOn coalition, comprising various human rights and press freedom organizations, explained the importance of unrestricted internet access in protecting human rights. Interfering with internet access violates the right to information, freedom of the press, expression, and peaceful assembly. It also violates international humanitarian law by restricting freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Among other resolutions, the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 47/16 condemns internet shutdowns that result in limited information dissemination.

The coalition also condemned the government’s decision to legitimize internet shutdowns, particularly given the state’s security threats from Azerbaijan. It urges the Armenian government to repeal provisions that limit internet and media freedom and to take part in the realization of human rights.

Source : JURIST

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