United Nations declares internet access a human right; Cuba, Venezuela
Published July 06, 2016Fox News Latino
In a sign of the times, as well as the entrenchment of the internet in
nearly every aspect of life, the United Nations passed a resolution
declaring online access as nothing less than a human right.
Various nations – many known for their tight control on all kinds of
freedom of expression – vigorously opposed the resolution. These
included Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia, South Africa, India and
Indonesia, who rejected the resolution's support for the "promotion,
protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet."
Possibly not coincidentally, some of the countries objecting to the
resolution are also among the nations with the worst records of human
The resolution, which passed with little fanfare last Friday, calls for
the release of people who have been jailed for expressing certain ideas
online. It now will be adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Strong supporters of the resolution include the United States,
Australia, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Senegal and Turkey, according to
various published reports, including Tech Central.
"We are disappointed that democracies like South Africa, Indonesia and
India voted in favor of these hostile amendments to weaken protections
for freedom of expression online," said Thomas Hughes, executive
director of the global free press group Article 19.
"A human rights-based approach to providing and expanding internet
access, based on states' existing international human rights
obligations, is essential to achieving the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable
Development, and no state should be seeking to slow this down," Hughes
The resolution also included provisions calling for investigations on
attacks against bloggers and other internet activists and an end to
blocking access to the internet during such things as elections and
terrorist attacks, the reports said.
Some nations attempted to include amendments to the resolution that that
would have removed the parts protecting freedom of expression and
disallowing cutting off internet access. The effort failed, however.
Independent watchdog organization Freedom House lists Cuba, China and
Russia among nations with some of the most restrictrd internet access in
"Over the past year, the Cuban government has opened over 100 new
internet access points, permitted the first public Wi-Fi and reduced
prices and increased speeds for internet access at state-run
cybercafes," said a Freedom House report from last year. "Despite these
notable advances, Cuba continues to have some of the most restrictive
internet access in the world."
Freedom House noted that while Cuba has made strides since it normalized
relations with the United States at the end of 2014, it still keeps
tight reins on its citizens' access to and use of technology.
At the same time, many Cubans – earning $20 to $30 per month – still
cannot afford the internet. What is more, the Cuban government prohibits
home internet connections.
As for Venezuela, Freedom House notes that internet access in the
oil-rich nation is in peril, especially under the government of
President Nicolás Maduro. In fact, Venezuela has the slowest internet
connections in the region next to Cuba.
The Maduro regime has cracked down on media organizations, and that has
extended to social media users who are perceived to be disruptive to the
"public peace," Freedom House reported.
The government blocked more than 1,000 websites, including news sites,
between November 2013 and October 2014.
Source: United Nations declares internet access a human right; Cuba,
Venezuela oppose move | Fox News Latino -