Delegation of the European Union to the
UN and other international organisations in Geneva

HRC 40 Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy and the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights

Geneva, 01/03/2019 - 15:27, UNIQUE ID: 190301_17
Statements on behalf of the EU

<p>40th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council</p><p>Geneva, 25 February – 22 March 2019</p><p>EU Intervention: Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy and the Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights</p>

Mr. President,

The right to privacy today is more relevant than ever. New technological developments bring better opportunities for human rights – for example through broader participation in economic development, and through new tools which help civil society in their efforts of networking, domestically and internationally. However, at the same time, the advent of these new technologies gives rise to concerns that they could be misused. For example, attempts of authoritarian regimes to rate citizens based on their behavior rely on the processing of personal data.

The right to privacy is vital to the realization and enjoyment of many other rights, as it creates a safe space online and offline, including the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and of association. It also contributes to an individual’s ability to participate in political, economic, social and cultural life. Violations or abuses of the right to privacy may discourage the exercise of such rights.

The European Union will continue its efforts to defend the right to privacy, in particular in order to secure space for the work of civil society. The right to privacy is a fundamental right for everybody. For human rights defenders, journalists and other civil society actors in many places, privacy can make the difference between freedom and detainment, or worse.

We recall that States should ensure that any interference with the right to privacy is consistent with the principles of legality, necessity and proportionality. As this Council has affirmed repeatedly, human rights apply equally online as offline, including the right to privacy, and that there must be no arbitrary or unlawful interference in an individual’s privacy.

Thank you.


Mr President,

The EU would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for your tenth anniversary report and for your contribution to the work of the Human Rights Council.

We attach great importance to the promotion of all human rights, which includes cultural rights, such as the right of everyone to take part in cultural life, including the ability to access and enjoy cultural heritage.

We  appreciate your recommendations to mainstream cultural rights and welcome your recommendations for States to refrain from using cultural relativism or the misuse of cultural rights, or even tradition, to justify violations of international human rights. We recognize the Special Rapporteur’s social media presence as a way to disseminate information, and spread public awareness of cultural rights.

Could the Special Rapporteur highlight some of the ways to better promote and protect cultural rights over the next ten years? 

Thank you.


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