Clinton Praised, Urged to Take Next Steps to Support Netizens

Washington, DC – Today and tomorrow, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers testimony before Congressional committees, Human Rights First is praising her strong recent leadership in addressing the ongoing uprisings in Libya and throughout the Middle East. The group is also urging Secretary Clinton to make clear how the administration plans to promote Internet freedom and access to information technologies for netizens in these nations. Human Rights First’s Meg Roggensack today issued the following statement: “Secretary’s Clinton’s strong leadership at the Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council has played a vital role in addressing the ongoing crisis in Libya. The State Department’s efforts to freeze Libyan assets, impose sanctions, and ensure the safe evacuation of those caught amidst the violence have sent a clear message that the U.S. government will not hesitate to take swift action to end human rights abuses and the oppression of dissidents wherever they occur. As Secretary Clinton continues this work, we urge her to clarify how the United States plans to work with interim leaders throughout the region to ensure that those pushing for democratic reform have open and unfettered access to the Internet and social media, their tool of choice for organizing and expressing their views. In many countries, this will mean working with local authorities and civil society to ensure that the Internet and telecommunications sector is not subject to arbitrary or politically motivated restrictions or degradation of service that limit freedom of expression or privacy. In addition, Secretary Clinton should direct U.S. Embassies, where appropriate and able, to convene social media users to report their experiences in recent protests and outline their concerns and recommendations to ensure that these platforms remain accessible and secure. These steps to engage local authorities and activists would be a tremendous signal of support for the freedom to connect and keep the U.S. at the forefront in addressing challenges as this issue unfolds.”


Published on March 1, 2011


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