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As representatives of the international community, we are committed to supporting the advancement of technology for the betterment of our world and the encouragement of greater respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.  We support a vision of an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure Internet where the same human rights that individuals have offline are also protected online, including with respect to right to freedom of religion and belief and the right to freedom of expression, including the sharing of religious beliefs.

We are concerned about the use of social media platforms for hate speech and incitement to violence, and for targeted disinformation campaigns, which often vilify members of religious minorities.  We also condemn the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes, including terrorist radicalization and recruitment, and we take seriously the need to counter the ability of terrorists to recruit and radicalize or inspire others to violence online while fully respecting freedom of expression.

We renounce and deplore without reservation the use of surveillance technologies in some countries to repress religious freedom or commit other violations or abuses of human rights.

In response, we call on governments to use technology to facilitate greater religious freedom and not as a tool for repression, including for unlawful and arbitrary surveillance.  We encourage technology companies to enforce their terms of service and community standards to appropriately address the use of their platforms for terrorist purposes or for incitement to violence, and with respect for human rights and freedoms.  We will continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online, while also continuing to respect the interrelated rights to freedom of religion or belief and to freedom of expression.

Co-Signatories: Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Israel, Kosovo, Marshall Islands, North Macedonia, Oman, Slovakia, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America

Download Statement [76 KB]

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future