Pillay:" States have duties to facilitate access to internet"

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Navi Pillay - Lecture Leuven University

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, says that the internet has "changed enormously the human rights environment". In a lecture given at Leuven University in Belgium yesterday on the international justice system and protection of human rights, and rule of law offline and online the High Commissioner recalled the enormous benefits that the internet brought to freedom of expression. She pointed out that the internet had obliterated governments´attempts to establish monopoly over information and news and increases pressure for transparency and accountability.

"I cannot emphasize enough that – as part of their obligations to respect the rights to freedom of opinion and expression – all States have a duty to facilitate access to the Internet, including websites that may contain content that is critical of their decisions.

However, she also noted that there were some drawbacks. "I cannot understand why hate speech should be tolerated online," said Pillay.