This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Plenary speech on the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council

Mr President, human rights and their universality are increasingly under pressure as a result of block politics in the United Nations and because of allowing countries into the Human Rights Council who have less than a clean state themselves. This is problematic. Another concern I have is how to ensure that the UN Human Rights Council takes the changing world sufficiently into account. As we speak, prisons are increasingly populated by bloggers. Human rights defenders are presented under torture with transcripts of their email, mobile phone and other conversations. People are tortured for their passwords and we see that European technologies play an important part in making that happen in repressive environments. The struggle for human rights has moved online and digital freedom is increasingly essential for human rights, such as freedom of expression, press freedom and access to information, but also the documentation and sharing of human rights violations with the rest of the world. Frank La Rue’s UN report on freedom of expression is essential in this regard. It also clearly states that copyright enforcement could risk undermining the respect for fundamental rights and freedoms. I would urge prioritising digital freedoms within the UN Human Rights Council context and to ensure that information is upgraded.