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Article 19 from the UN

Finally, Article 19 has been adapted to include Human Rights Online!!!

For those of you who don't know, Article 19 is part of The Universal Deceleration of Human Rights as stated by The Human Rights Council by The United Nations. Article 19 states that, as it is written in the declaration, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

This is something many have been hoping and working towards for years and to finally have it arrive is a great victory. Obviously just because it now exists it does not imidiatly mean people will stop abusing others online. Just as with the entire Universal Deceleration of Human Rights it is not followed by all nations to 100% (which is a pity but a different kind of discussion). However it is a step in the right direction to stop online abuse and protection of people's rights to be themselves. It gives all the member states guidelines on how to interpret content online.

The adaptation of Article 19 consists of 15 points. Not all handle online abuse but I have taken the time to underline the parts which I consider to be of particular interest against online abuse and thus also cyber bullying. (Numbers 9 and 11 are the clearest on this matter.)

1. Affirms that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice, in accordance with articles 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
4. Affirms that quality education plays a decisive role in development, and therefore calls upon all States to promote digital literacy and to facilitate access to information on the Internet, which can be an important tool in facilitating the promotion of the right to education;
5. Affirms also the importance of applying a comprehensive human rights-based approach in providing and in expanding access to Internet and requests all States to make efforts to bridge the many forms of digital divides;
8. Calls upon all States to address security concerns on the Internet in accordance with their international human rights obligations to ensure protection of freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy and other human rights online, including through national democratic, transparent institutions, based on the rule of law, in a way that ensures freedom and security on the Internet so that it can continue to be a vibrant force that generates economic, social and cultural development;
9. Condemns unequivocally all human rights violations and abuses, such as torture, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, expulsion, intimidation and harassment, as well as gender based violence, committed against persons for exercising their human rights and fundamental freedoms on the Internet, and calls on all States to ensure accountability in this regard;
11. Stresses the importance of combating advocacy of hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination or violence on the Internet, including by promoting tolerance and dialogue;

If any of you are interested in reading the entire adaptation of Article 19 (which is only 4 pages long) it can be found through this link: www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/38429/en/unhrc:-significant-resolution-reaffirming-human-rights-online-adopted

As always, stay amazing!

Ps. If anyone has any questions about the adaptations in Article 19, please don't hesitate to ask - I am not an expert but I have worked a long time with Human Rights (and especially with The Convention on the Rights of the Child...which is really handy in my work as a teacher).
Hi! Miss Aileen. I just wanted to ask, how to deal with bullies that threaten me within the use of chat. And what can I do, for them to stop bullying me? Can I have some advice? I really need it right now. My family already knew it since yesterday. What do I do? Thank you!

Firstly, Aileen is just fine (sweet of you to write miss but please don't feel that you need to)! Secondly, I am so sorry to hear that this is happening to you. Here at Cybersmile we have a page with some guidance that might help ( www.cybersmile.org/advice-help ). Thirdly, I will ask you to tell your parents to read this entire post - go get them now or if they are currently busy/not at home then ask them to read this when they are free to do so.

(Bullying can take on different "colours" and depending on the forum of where the cyber bullying is taking place there can be really different ways to handle it. If someone is saying and writing unkind things about/to you I would usually sugest what I have written below:
Try to see if the chat you use have a place where you can report the incident/s in question, maybe they can block these users from using the chat. If they don't have such a thing yet have a contact e-mail I would strongly suggest that your parents write to them because they should be made aware of this problem in their chat room. Is there a possibility for you to change chat rooms? I know it may be unfair for you to change when they are the ones with the bad behavior but sometimes this is the only solution!
Some chats are "in game chats", if this is the case then the matter can become a bit more difficult to report but not necessarily impossible. Do you have any friends who use the same chat? Can you talk to them about this - maybe your friends and you can write to the bully/bullies throught the chat and ask them to stop behaving like this? Sometimes the fact that several people stand up to bullies do actually help. However you (alone) can personally write on the chat that what this person (or persons) are doing is nothing other than bullying. It can feel difficult to call someone out on something like this - especially as it can be difficult to know how they will react - however they should be made aware of what they are doing. Let them know that you are a person, they don't have to be your friend but they should still be able to behave like descent people towards you. Ask if they can imagine how they would feel if someone would treat them the way they have behaved towards you? Obviously just because you write this to them doesn't mean they will stop (hopefully they will) but perhaps they will begin to think on their behavior online and eventually change it. Then again writing a confrontation to them can be really difficult at times and if you don't feel like this is something you are comfortable with then simply don't do it. Don't force yourself to confront them at this time if you don't want to, it is perfectly okay to simply ignore them. Which is another suggestion, let whatever they write wash over you - not into you. Sometimes though, ignoring hurtful comments can be really hard too.)

* NOW you did however write that they have been threatening you - depending on the words they use on these threats there are different ways one can go about it. The first is always to take a photos/print out/screen shot of what they have written. Even if you don't know who may have made the threats (because sometimes people are anonymous online) it can be good to actually turn to the police and/or a lawyer to let them know what has happened (and show them the threats that have been made towards you) and ask them for help to write some kind of report on this matter, if that would be something you would want to do - people should not be allowed to threaten anyone without consequences! You could also write on the chat that you are going to take this matter to the police and press charges if they continue to threaten you because threatening another person is actually illegal! Hopefully this will make them stop or maybe leave the chat room. And you can tell them you plan to press charges even if you don't actually go through with it in the end. If they stop threatening you then maybe that is enough?

Cybersmile have a page on the legal aspects of online threats and I sugest that your parents take the time to read it though carefully to see what could be the best way forwards for you.
( www.cybersmile.org/advice-help/category/cyberbullying-and-the-law )

The most important thing right now however is You! How do you feel? How are you handeling this? Are you handeling this? It is easy to feel hurt and maybe even a bit lost (usually the bullying don't have any kind of grounds for the comments placed towards you and it can feel really confusing to receive this kind of abuse). I am glad you've found us here at Cybersmile. And I or indeed anyone else here will always do what we can to support, guide and help you. I primarily want to make sure that you know that whatever this person (or persons) said really have no reflection on who you are. Whatever they wrote to/about you shows the person(s) they are, not you! You are strong, amongst other things, for telling and asking for help on this matter. You are a genuine person who carries value to the world. Never let anyone make you doubt that! <3

Unfortunately sometimes the only thing one can do is protect oneself by changing chats/ignoring comments. We can try to let others know what they are doing is wrong, but ultimately, if the bullies can't realize what they are doing, they won't change - that is why I would suggest for you, or actually, your parents to find legal guidelines to report this.

Look throught the help center here at Cybersmile (the link I placed in the text above) and hopefully you and your parents will find more useful tips on how to handle this. What I wrote now I just the first tings that came to me as I saw your message so if any of it feels a bit all over the place I do apologize. Also, if you don't feel you find the help you need in that link I suggest sending a mail to: [email protected] so that one of Cybersmile's Advisors may help you the best way possible.

A spoonful of sugar and a hug full of love to you sweetie!
Stay amazing,

Terrific post, Aileen.

I am curious about the "no frontiers" clause and whether it has any teeth to it.

About six years ago, I had an unsettling experience in which someone on Twitter sent a photograph of a firing squad to my personal email address with a phrase underneath it that I can't write here for general consumption. Basically, though, it was an obvious attempt to intimidate me into silence.

It's too much for me to get into how I knew who was behind it ... but the short story is that I was able to pinpoint this individual's location to Denmark. When I confronted the person, they openly laughed on the Twittersphere about sending the photograph (admitted it) and then bragged that there was nothing that I could do about it.

They were right, of course.

The only solace I had in that situation was that there was an ocean and half of the North American continent separating us. But it was the trigger that led to me shutting down a former Twitter account for a full 18 months before I decided to use it again.

Do you think this U.N. resolution will actually *do* anything? For example, if someone today has a situation that someone like me had a few years ago, do they have recourse?

Thanks again for your continued contributions to this community. Your posts are enlightening and encouraging.

Stay amazing, Aileen!
Hi Heidi!
Well, hopefully one day soon it will be a true reality. Unfortunately the UN still have a lot of problems with sertain nations not complying to all of the points of The Universal Deceleration of Human Rights. Just this week they reprimanded a nation and threatened to revoke their membership (won't out the country here out of respect to all the Cybersmile users from all over the world) for not applying to Article 5 (which states: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."). I do however imagine that most of the so called western countries will do what they can to apply these new points of Article 19 into their laws, as most countries still seem confused on how to handle cyber bullying or any other kind of online abuse, now that the UN have added this matter to the Human Rights declaration. For instance the countries of Scandinavia, who I believe follow most if not all of the points in the declaration, would be really amiss and indeed it would be quite odd if they did not adapt these points into their countries laws.
But time, most of all, it needs to be given time. It is always easier to start within a nations border. If two countries however adapt their laws to, as you put it, have teeth on the "regardless of frontiers" then between those countries it will be possible to report people (and more if needs be) who have been sending/posting words or images that go against The Universal Deceleration of Human Rights.
Many nations take some of the points of The Universal Deceleration of Human Rights as guidelines and rewrite them as most suited for their country. In an ideal world all nations would comply to every fracing of the declaration instead of picking the ones that works best for them and ignore others completely - and just because it may not be an ideal world right now doesn't mean we should give up, I see it more as something to strive and "fight" for!

Sorry to hear of that experience Heidi, how utterly disturbing and upsetting it must have been.
Keep safe and amazing,