South Africa votes with China, Russia and India against internet freedoms in UN resolution

South Africa has joined China and Russia in voting against a United Nations resolution on the “promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet”.

On Friday, the UN held a vote on the resolution, which seeks to bring political commitment from member states to protect human rights online such as freedom of expression and privacy.

The resolution further seeks to ensure the release of those imprisoned for “legitimate” freedom of expression online.

Other key points of the resolution include investigating attacks against bloggers or other internet users, and refraining from preventing access to information online by, for example, shutting down the internet during key times such as elections or terror attacks.

Countries such as Russia and China requested four amendments to the draft resolution to remove, for instance, text on freedom of expression and the shutting down of internet access. But, the amendments weren’t adopted and most countries voted for the human rights resolution, which will be adopted by the UN Human Rights Council.


The results of the vote have put the spotlight on some nations’ commitment to internet freedoms. “We are disappointed that democracies like South Africa, Indonesia and India voted in favour of these hostile amendments to weaken protections for freedom of expression online,” said Thomas Hughes, the executive director of global free press organisation Article 19.

The resolution, meanwhile, was written and supported by countries ranging from Australia, the US, the UK and Nigeria to Senegal and Turkey.

“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 added.

Apart from South Africa, India and Indonesia, other countries that voted in favour of the amendment and against the resolution included the likes of Kenya, Qatar, Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

Independent watchdog organisation Freedom House rates China and Russia as not having free press environments, with censorship being present in both countries.

South Africa has joined Russia and China in previous controversial votes at the UN. In November last year, South Africa voted against a resolution that would recognise threats against defenders of human rights.

South Africa also forms part of the ‘Brics’ bloc, an economic alliance that includes Brazil, Russia, India and China. – News24

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

The natural resource curse in Cabo Delgado

A humanitarian crisis looms as a violent insurgency continues to sweep over northern Mozambique. As many flee to safety, the question remains: who, or what, fuels the fire?

How US foreign policy under Donald Trump has affected Africa

Lesotho has been used as a microcosm in this article to reflect how the foreign policy has affected Africa

UN Libya rights probe stalled due to cashflow problems

The UN is currently going through a serious liquidity crisis because many countries have not paid their annual dues, and it is therefore unable to fulfil all its mandates

The case for decriminalising personal drug use

Deputy Social Development Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu tells the UN that the war on drugs has failed and is suggesting other options to tackle addiction

Trump win will abort health care

Threats of funding cuts has caused a reduction in reproductive and sexual health services

The African Union’s (un)official statement on the US elections

The United States has never been shy to pass judgment on African elections. What does it look like when Africa passes judgment on America’s chaotic vote?
Advertising

Subscribers only

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

SAA bailout raises more questions

As the government continues to grapple with the troubles facing the airline, it would do well to keep on eye on the impending Denel implosion

More top stories

Hawks swoop down with more arrests in R1.4-billion corruption blitz

The spate of arrests for corruption continues apace in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape.

Catholic NGO boss accused of racism and abuse in Sudan

The aid worker allegedly called his security guard a ‘slave’

Agrizzi too ill to be treated at Bara?

The alleged crook’s “health emergency” — if that is what it is — shows up the flaws, either in our health system or in our leadership as a whole

SANDF hid R200m expenditure on ‘Covid’ drug it can’t use

Military health officials are puzzled by the defence department importing a drug that has not been approved for treating coronavirus symptoms from Cuba
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday