Spindelegger: „Protecting the right to privacy online is a human rights challenge”
Vice-Chancellor on the occasion of the International Human Rights Day
“At the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights of 1993, the international human rights system made a big leap forward, for example through the re-affirmation of the universality of human rights by all States, or the creation of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. But we cannot afford to be complacent, in light of the reports about horrific human rights violations that continue to happen. The struggle for the realisation of human rights for all men, women and children around the world therefore is not only a central pillar of Austrian foreign policy, but also my personal priority,” Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger declared on the occasion of today’s International Human Rights Day.
With the international expert conference “Vienna+20: Advancing the Protection of Human Rights” organised in June 2013 in Vienna, Austria not only paid tribute to the achievements of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights of 1993, but also gave a voice to numerous human rights defenders from around the world, and their causes. “Austria also works on topical human rights issues that are highly relevant to Europe, such as data surveillance. We are advocating the consistent application of existing human rights standards to internet activities, in order to prevent excessive data surveillance also at the cross-border level,” Mr. Spindelegger said. In this context, the Vice-Chancellor referred to a resolution, co-sponsored by Austria, which was recently adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations regarding the right to privacy, as well as to the current Austrian chairmanship in the Council of Europe, where the protection of the right to privacy online and offline is also a priority.
“Austria also receives major international recognition for its commitment to the freedom of expression and the media, as well as for the safety of journalists. We not only set initiatives in the framework of the United Nations or our current chairmanship of the Council of Europe, but are also supporting projects on the ground,” the Vice-Chancellor explained. The Austrian Development Cooperation, for example, provides financial support to a Council of Europe training project for journalists in the conflict region of Moldova and Transnistria, in order to foster quality, objective news reporting. Moreover, Austria supports a UNESCO study on the safety of women journalists, who are at a higher risk of facing sexual violence. Thereby, Austria makes a concrete contribution to the protection of women’s rights and their empowerment. The strengthening of women’s rights is also a priority of our work in the OSCE, such as through financial support to women’s rights projects in Central Asia.
“Without the expertise and the commitment of an active civil society, in Austria and internationally, our human rights work would not be successful. For this reason, I wish to take the opportunity of the International Human Rights Day to also thank the courageous NGOs and human rights defenders,” Vice-Chancellor Spindelegger concluded.