UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL – 44th SESSION

Panel discussion on new digital technologies
Statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Madam President,

We align with the EU statement.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is grateful for this in-depth discussion on the human rights dimension of new digital technologies and thanks the panelists for their contributions. We would like to share the following remarks:

First, it is vital that digital technologies serve the well-being of all men and women, everywhere. To overcome the digital divide, action is needed to improve connectivity but also to set social norms that promote women’s use of technologies. All involved should ensure diverse online content that serves the interest of women, youth and people from marginalized groups. States need to invest in 21st century skills among youth to enable them to make meaningful use of digital technologies, and in technical skills among their workforce, so that technologies can be developed not just for, but by a diversity of people. Moreover, digital safeguards like protection of privacy are needed, including for vulnerable groups.

Second, digital challenges in a wide variety of policy areas, including Digital ID, cybersecurity, and internet shutdowns, require urgent attention via a human rights-based approach. We need to put into practice the narrative that human rights apply online as well as offline, and structurally integrate the HRBA into all technical discussions. In this regard, we welcome the launch of the UNSG Roadmap on digital cooperation.  

Distinguished panelists,

In moving forward, it is vital that we avoid duplication and rather strengthen existing human rights mechanisms to achieve specific ideas and concrete actions.

What steps should the Human Rights Council – as the principal Forum for Human Rights – prioritize to ensure that a human-rights based approach to digital cooperation becomes a reality?

Thank you.