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OSCE should adopt Draft Declaration on Fundamental Freedoms in the Digital Age, says ARTICLE 19

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - ARTICLE 19 joins its voice to the participants of the OSCE Civil Society Parallel Conference and calls on the OSCE Ministerial Council to adopt the Draft Declaration on Fundamental Freedoms in the Digital Age. This declaration will mark an important step by the OSCE to engage in the development of specific and positive policies and approaches to promote and protect fundamental rights through new technologies.

The draft Declaration on fundamental freedoms in the digital age recognizes the essential role played by civil society and free media to ensure full respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, democracy, including free and fair elections, and the rule of law. It highlights the fact that in the OSCE region and across the globe individuals increasingly use new connective technologies to know and act upon their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and that these new technologies facilitate the expression and dissemination of ideas and information by individuals, groups and organizations as well as their ability to create and maintain networks and associations, plan and conduct their peaceful activities and organize peaceful assemblies online and offline. The Declaration therefore reaffirms the commitment of the Ministerial Committee to respect the exercise by individuals, including members of groups and organizations, of their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including through new technologies such as the Internet, mobile networks and social media tools.

The draft declaration is currently co-sponsored by Albania, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

ARTICLE 19 calls on all remaining members of the Ministerial Committee to adopt by consensus the Draft Declaration.

In adopting the declaration, the OSCE and its participating states will take a leading role in recognizing that human rights and fundamental freedoms do not change with new technologies and that they extend into the Digital Age.

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