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Internet Access Is a Human Right-United Nations Report

The recent switching on and off of internet, throttling and blocking of IP addresses has got many people thinking if the Zimbabwe government is not infringing our human right. Well, according to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) internet access is a human right which means Zimbabwe’s government is violating people’s rights.

While blocking and filtering measures deny users access to specific content on the Internet, states have also taken measures to cut off access to the Internet entirely. The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Sadly, the resolution is non-binding, meaning that its just a motion which UNHRC agrees to (that internet access is a basic human right) but it can’t be made a law by the United Nations. Its at the discretion of an individual country to put the motion into law, thus making the access to internet as a basic human right of its citizens. While the the UNHRC resolution is non-binding, the UN can criticise and exert influence on a country that tampers with the internet.

However, the UNHRC recognizes that there are certain circumstances in which restricting the information flow on the internet may be legitimate, such as cyber attacks but there are situations in which some countries often misuse this discretion.

There should be as little restriction as possible to the flow of information via the Internet, except in few, exceptional, and limited circumstances prescribed by international human rights law


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13 thoughts on “Internet Access Is a Human Right-United Nations Report

  1. Was there an any Internet during the formation of the UN in the Late 40s….your UN is failing to condemn the auanited State of America on its double standard of imposing illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe..all what is happening in Zimbabwe is as the result of the illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe…why the UN discuss Internet shutdown by the Zimbabwe Government living out Illegal sanctions imposed on the Zimbabwean people?…this UN is a toothless DOG…

    1. Please for the love of Christ don’t leave comments that make you look dumb. Thanks. Your grammar and spelling leaves so much to be desired. Its simply appalling.

    2. what a silly comment !! What illegal sanctions? The fact that top politicians cannot go shopping in Harrods?? The sanctions are for travelling for the top brass, and only a few of them. And what is @ auanited State of America? Please go back to primary school before you post further idiotic comments.

      1. It is amazing how otherwise rational people can so blindly deny reality. Do a simple google search for ZIDERA and a US congress website shows up. click it, read the text for yourself and you will realize that there are serious sanctions on Zimbabwe, not that “targeted sanctions” nonsense you read in the papers. Do this research YOURSELF, don’t rely on others writings about it.

        Yes there are “targeted sanctions” which are aimed at top corrupt officials but there is more that is never talked about in the papers. READ FOR YOURSELF! INTERNET UNAYO

  2. when a human right has potential and is a tool to cause harm and damage to others it seizes to matter who blocked it. Am happy they did for had they not surely we could have failed to rescue even a bit from our business here Bulawayo. It was an effort we the business community and the communities we serve appreciate because the inability to receive further violence incitement and strategies helped stall it and allowed mostly our communities to defend our premises like they did with my second shop in Nkulumane from which I rescued main shop and lost store room, in in Njube a day earlier when Internet was still live I did not get even a chance to do anything the whole shop was looted dry

    Imagine while around 2am trying to move stocks the thugs were on the roads refusing any one any access or movement except if walking on foot, I was almost stoned and the car burnt trying to rescue my stocks by the same thugs who had been instructed to seal off every road, think about about opening my twitter to try and figure what direction things were going like to only find someone saying protesters must start various disturbances at the same time so the police and security forces are stretched out,

    and true to that I personally went to Nkulumane police several times to seek help and guess what I cloud see they were super stretched, even if they wanted to help it just was not practical. I thank GOD someone from a party I dont I least expected had the common sense to instruct the blocking of internet legal or not it was very good

    I have twitter records and am sure many others tried to plead with both Evan Mawarire Doug Coltart, MDCA to denounce strongly the violence on the very first day of demos to which they never responded in fact more instructions to press hard were being broadcast from same twitter handles. The report here is very insensitive and biased, this is not researched either, if you have no news please shut thine mouth

    1. So now u think social media is to blame? Not our ill managed Govtn? Exactly why we are always in a mess because of people like you & the 1st comment. God please punish those who keep punishing us struggling tax paying Zimbabweans.

      1. Of course social media was used, so he can blame social media, MDC, Evan, or the thugs, they all played a part in his loss

        1. …yeah right? and those responsible for the $15b loss?….and the more than USD1b loss in the past 12 months? I doubt that there is a single tax payer who actually supports a thieveing govt, do you pay tax @easy tech @retreat.byo @ Anonymous @Silungisani – my take is that you live off others who earn a living. If you use blood to brush your teeth don’t assume everyone does so. Your support for the vampire party is your right, we who oppose it call it the vampire party.

  3. The ZIDERA requirements are very clear what is your “saintly” govt doing about them Silungisani? Some of the requirements don’t require finging but common sense?

  4. Blocking off the internet, arresting labour, opposition and civic leaders etc will NOT resolve the problem of govt over-expenditure, increased fuel prices, bloated civil service and useless gallivanting to source for funds which will fall into the same cycle of being abused etc.
    I can’t speak for those who were violent…in most cases people stayed at home (and will continue to do so) until fares are affordable, the fuel price is reviewed downwards, govt cuts back on expenditure etc as things stand, it is for most people, convenient and safer to be stuck at home than elsewhere. After .all, with reports of civilians being beaten up or being shot by unknown gunmen – security for civilians & industry is at zero.

    The hunger and anger we witnessed this week will be child’s play in the days to come as real hardship takes toll… prayer is that there be no violence.

    In a supermarket queue today a policeman and woman were even wishing audibly if the looting could continue…makes one wonder who exactly supports this govt?

    I saw some “leaders” on dead bc/tv urging workers to go to work, how? They can’t afford to and this govt long ago destroyed the most affordable urban transport – Salisbury United. Do these “leaders” think? When they bath, put on ties, have sirens ringing all over and sit down to work WHAT DO THEY DO?

  5. QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: Did GoZ exceed its mandate by unilaterally making a decision to BOCK access to internet countrywide?
    (a) When there is a car thief driving away to evade arrest, WE DO NOT SHUT DOWN ALL HIGHWAYS IN THE COUNTRY!
    (b) When there are a few thousand people posting messages about the stayaway that mmay be deemed to be inciting violence, GOVT SHOULD NOT BLOCK ACCESS TO INTERNET TO EVERY ZIMBABWEAN FOR 16 HOURS BUT TARGET THOSE FEW SUSPECTED OF BREAKING THE LAW BY TRACKING THEM FOR PROSECUTION BEFORE A COURT OF LAW.

    The economic and social cost arising from 16hour SHUT DOWN of the internet country-wide is MUCH GREATER than the cost of shutting down all major highways in Zimbabwe for 24hours! Thats the nature of trade and commerce in modern economies of the global economies whose champions are gathered this week and next next week at the WEF in DAVOS,

    The global business executives and CEOs of multinational corporations and investment houses gathered at DAVOS whom President EDM and Minister Mthuli Ncube will be trying to wow will not have much to share with the Delegation from the STONE-AGE ECONOMY which has a habit of SHUTTING-DOWN INTERNET at will.

    Our government says its committed to MODERNIZATION OF THE ECONOMY and to ACHIEVING UPPER MIDDLE INCOME STATUS BY 2030 not in TWO THOUSAND AND THIRTY YEARS. How then can we reconcile this stated ambition with trigger-happy actions of ORDERING THE 16-HOUR SHUT DOWN of internet access across the WHOLE COUNTRY just to silence a few rats among a million mice?

    Does our government understand how SHUTTING DOWN INTERNET &SOCIAL MEDIA MEDIA for SIXTEEN LOOONG hours adversely affects domestic e-commerce and the country’s global image in international business circles? The internet blackout has permanently damaged Zimbabwe’s INVESTMENT ATTRACTIVENESS INDEX?
    Our military government needs a paradigm shift.

    1. I thought 4 days of shutdown are more thsn16 hours of internet blackout. Why not talk about them? They are actually 64hours

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