We thank the panellists for sharing their insights and consider the particular focus on women human rights defenders as apt and relevant.
- From the outset let us condemn any acts intimidation or harassment against human rights defenders especially women both online and offline. With the dawn of social media and advancements in communication technologies, the threats to the safety and dignity of women human rights defenders have also increased ranging from non-consensual dissemination of intimate data and images, dissemination of rape recordings, cyber stalking and harassment, trolling and sexual harassment etc. These are all serious crimes and must be dealt as such. These concerns also point out to the gap in the international system of any framework for regulating nefarious activities on the internet carried out under the garb of freedom of expression.
- An unsafe digital space infringes on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and freedoms, including the right to privacy or respect for private life and to freedom of expression. At the same time, we should be cautious of hate speech and propagation of misinformation on the internet. Apart from self regulation and restraint by all, we need clearly defined principles and regulatory framework to address contemporary issues arising on the internet.
- We believe that a multifaceted approach is needed for mainstreaming the role of women including the removal of barriers and bottlenecks, adopting measures to promote equality of opportunity and results, the elimination of stereotypes and misogyny and gender-sensitive mainstreaming in the policymaking processes. At the same time, institutional capacities should be optimized to handle cases of violence against women and threats and intimidation on the internet, and provide safe digital environment for women and girls to fully realize their potential.
- Pakistan has taken a number of steps to protect the rights of its citizens especially women and girls on the internet. The Government has done necessary legislation in the form of Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016. This Act contains a system of checks and balances in order to avoid any misuses as well. This balanced Act has been useful in promoting and protecting the rights of all on the internet in Pakistan and making digital environment much more secure for women and girls.
I thank you Mr. President.