NEWS
Joint Civil Society Statement: States use of digital surveillance technologies to fight pandemic must respect human rights

2020-04-02

A group of civil society organizations working in the field of human and digital rights, including 7amleh - The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, have launched a petition calling on governments using digital surveillance techniques in their fight of epidemics to respect human rights.

A group of civil society organizations working in the field of human and digital rights, including 7amleh - The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, have launched a petition calling on governments using digital surveillance techniques in their fight of epidemics to respect human rights. The statement highlights that the measures adopted by states to address epidemics have to be legitimate, necessary and proportionate. Furthermore, they should be based on law and justified by legitimate public health goals defined by public health authorities. Governments are required to uphold transparency of the measures which need to be limited in time. Despite exceptional circumstances, human rights law remains in effect. The human rights framework ensures the maintenance of the balance of different rights in order to protect individuals as well as societies. States can not ignore rights such as the right to privacy, freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to assembly under the guise of fighting a public health crisis. All responses to an epidemic must furthermore include protection, accountability and guarantees against rights-violations. Increasing surveillance related to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) must not fall in the scope of security or intelligence agencies, but instead be subject to supervision by independent bodies. Read the full text of the petition here.  

Also read 7amleh's condemnation of Israeli government 'Big Brother style' surveillance in the light of the coronavirus here.

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