We need more global efforts to protect human rights on the Internet


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As millions of people move work and social networks online to protect themselves from COVID-19, existing online security measures may not be enough to combat the growth of harassment and abuse.


Concerns over rising levels of fraud and harassment prompted online security organization NetSafe issue a warning users to maintain vigilance. This abuse included threats of violence and overt racism and xenophobia,

Internet abuse violates several human rightsWe affirm that governments have obligations to International law and a digital charter of human rights with special protection for women and children should be developed.

Cyber ​​violence against women

Online platforms reproduce culture with all its offline risks and inequalities.

Offline, discrimination against women pervades all aspects of our societyincluding family, education, workplace, legal system and government. Discrimination manifests itself in many ways, including Violence against women,

This unequal gender dynamics repeat onlineAs a result, women are subjected to sexual, hateful and violent detention. In 2018, UN Women's Human Rights Expert recognized cyber violence as a special form of violence against women.

IN Amnesty International 2017 International Surveyalmost a quarter (23%) of women surveyed in eight developed countries said they had been subjected to online abuse or harassment more than once. Of these women, 41% felt that their physical safety was threatened in at least one case.

In New Zealand, one third of women report being victims of online harassment. Of those who have experienced abuse online:

  • 75% had trouble sleeping
  • 49% consider their personal safety is at risk
  • 32% believe their families' security is at risk
  • 72% were less able to focus on everyday tasks
  • 70% experienced a decrease in self-esteem or loss of self-confidence
  • two-thirds experienced a sense of powerlessness.

Almost half (49%) reduced their use of social networks or left the platform as a whole.

UN Human Rights Council defines widespread online violence against women as a significant reason for global digital divide between men and women,

Violence against women on the Internet (mainly) by men is especially common in social networks such as facebook, twitter and InstagramIt includes online harassment, cyber-harassment, doxy (when personal information is shared with other users on the Internet), and revenge pornography,

Responsibilities of Governments and Online Platforms

Cyber ​​violence violates international human rights laws, including right to freedom of expression (less, women can share their opinions or thoughts on the Internet), the right to be free from discrimination and violence, right to health information (including potentially life-saving updates about COVID-19) and right to privacy,

International human rights law applies as offline and online,

Social media platforms created community standards protect the human rights of users, but they may not develop fast enough in the devastating times that we are witnessing now. A massive increase in utilization is likely to increase the dark side of social media,

Governments around the world are in no hurry to use their legislative powers to regulate online platformsA live broadcast of attacks on a mosque in Christchurch on March 15, 2019 demonstrated the inability of the platforms to control the spread of hateful content.

international agreement It was difficult to eradicate violent extremist content on the Internet.

Protection of rights and life online

While platforms remain global with community standards of “one size fits all,” governments respond differently to restricting individual freedom of expression.

Governments should consider creating an international charter of digital human rights, which all social networking platforms can accept. Such a charter would allow a consistent and consistent response to cyber violencein a world that is now almost exclusively online.

There are some practical steps that we can all take. These steps include Report Abuse Online, blocking people or groups, and closely monitor connections.

If you experience severe online bullying, harassment, pornography or other forms of abuse and bullying, contact the police who can take action under Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015,


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We need more global efforts to protect human rights on the Internet (2020, April 8)
restored April 8, 2020
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