UN Statement on Telegram and restriction to internet freedoms in Russia

In a joint statement to the UN Human Rights Council of 27 June 2018, 52 (XX) civil society organizations raise their concerns about the trend of adoption of regressive legislation and policies in the Russian Federation which contravene international standards on Freedom of Expression and significantly reduce online freedoms. By introducing measures such as the so-called “Yarovaya Law”, which affect the right of access to information and the right to privacy; and increasing pressure on Internet intermediaries, the Russian Federation is creating a framework, which, if fully implemented, would not only severely limit the free flow of information online but potentially give them access to the personal communication data of anyone, anywhere.

The Russian authorities claim that these measures are necessary in order to protect national security interests, but the civil society organizations signing this statement believe the measures are neither necessary nor proportionate. We call on the Russian Government to repeal the ‘Yarovaya Law’ and refrain from pressuring Internet intermediaries to comply with requests that will violate their users’ rights.