UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL - 50TH SESSION

Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

Statement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

President, 

The Kingdom of the Netherlands thanks Special Rapporteur Khan for her timely report.

Freedom of expression – online and offline – is a cornerstone of democratic societies and is essential to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Digital technology has promoted these freedoms in multiple ways, providing voice to the voiceless.

However, in a period of rising digital oppression, growing censorship and attempts to control information online, certain governments have restricted civic space online and hindered the free flow of information.

Journalists, media workers, and human rights defenders in particular face unprecedented threats, such as online harassment, targeted surveillance, and digital attacks, including hacking. Oppressive practices such as internet shutdowns are on the rise. Public trust in journalism is threatened by orchestrated disinformation campaigns.

This is unacceptable. We all have a responsibility to defend the right to freedom of expression.

Rapporteur Khan,

You mention in your report the complexity of extraterritorial reach of targeted digital surveillance. Could you elaborate on this point?

Thank you.