Following the Wikipedia ban in Pakistan, the Amnesty International South Asia pressed for government action in ensuring basic human rights. Under the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNDHR), freedom of expression, right to information constitute as basic human rights.
The Amnesty International South Asia in a twitter thread asked Pakistan to revisit its decision. It also asked to consider the aspects of necessity and proportionality in line with international human rights law.
“We are alarmed about the blanket #Wikipediablock implemented by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on 4 Feb. This amounts to an unjustifiable restriction on the right to freedom of expression and must be reversed immediately and unconditionally. (1/3)
Religious beliefs cannot be over broadly used to justify violation of freedom of expression. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are broad, vague and coercive and must be repealed. (2/3)
Amnesty International calls for an independent and impartial oversight body in Pakistan to make any decisions that restrict freedom of speech and meet the criteria of necessity and proportionality in line with international human rights law. (3/3)
Freedom of Expression
The UNDHR Article 19 states “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. It includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
“Freedom of information is an integral part of the fundamental right of freedom of expression. It is recognized by resolution 59 of the UNGA adopted in 1946.
The member states have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.