At the Freedom Online conference hosted by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs December 8-9, fourteen countries endorsed a declaration pledging concrete actions in support of Internet freedom. The launch of this coalition is a groundbreaking step in undertaking joint action for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms online.
Secretary Clinton opened the conference with keynote remarks, calling on stakeholders to work together to enhance diplomatic efforts, encourage greater attention to human rights by corporations, and increase support for cyber activists. Participating states committed to engaging with technology companies in their countries on the appropriate corporate role in protecting human rights online. The coalition also pledged to provide greater support for cyber activists and bloggers under threat. As part of this effort, the United States and the Netherlands committed funds to a new Digital Defenders partnership.
The coalition will encourage additional countries to join in the pledge to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms online. The Government of Kenya agreed to host the second high-level meeting of the coalition in 2012.
President Obama and Secretary Clinton have identified Internet freedom as a key foreign policy priority for the United States. Secretary Clinton’s keynote remarks at the Freedom Online conference are available at: http://www.humanrights.gov/2011/12/07/ifreedom/.