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United States Releases Guidance for Online Platforms On Protecting Human Rights Defenders Online – United States Department of State

Digital technologies are a vital resource for Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and civic actors around the world.  However, these technologies can also be misused to target HRDs for repression and to undermine civic space. To address this, the United States is releasing new guidance that sets out best practices and actions online platforms can take to implement more robust support for HRDs under threat.  This guidance builds on 10 recommendations jointly released by the United States and European Union on March 11 for online platforms to more effectively identify, mitigate, and provide access to remedy for digital attacks targeting HRDs.   

The structure of the guidance follows the 10 recommendations set out in the U.S.-EU document. 

  1. Commit to an HRD Protection Policy
  2. Identify Risks to HRDs
  3. Exchange Information with HRDs, CSOs, and Industry Peers
  4. Create a Policy Implementation Plan to Mitigate Risk and Prevent Adverse Impacts with Monitoring Benchmarks to Measure Success
  5. Resource and Staff HRD Protection Efforts
  6. Build Capacity to Address Risks in Local Contexts
  7. Provide Safety Tools and Security Education to HRDs
  8. Create and Maintain Accessible Incident Reporting Channels for HRDs
  9. Contribute to and Provide Access to Remedy for HRDs
  10. Commit to Transparency, Public Reporting, and Continuous Improvement  

The United States remains resolute in its commitment to put human rights at the center of our foreign policy and promote a vision for the use of technologies in line with democratic values. 

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