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FOC Joint Statement on Internet Shutdowns in Iran

We, the members of the Freedom Online Coalition, are deeply alarmed by and strongly condemn the measures undertaken by Iran to restrict access to the Internet following the nationwide protests over the tragic killing of Mahsa Amini. In furtherance of what has become a longstanding pattern of censorship, the Iranian government has to a large scale shut down the Internet yet again for most of its 84 million citizens nationwide by cutting off mobile data; disrupting popular social media platforms; throttling Internet service; and blocking individual users, encrypted DNS services, text messages, and access entirely.

Millions of Iranians rely on these and other tools to connect with each other and to the outside world. By blocking, filtering, or shutting down these services, the Iranian government is suppressing the right of peaceful assembly and freedoms of association and expression; eroding civic space; reinforcing a continued climate of economic uncertainty; disrupting access to healthcare, emergency services, and financial services; preventing payments for salaries, utilities, and education; and limiting the ability of journalists, human rights defenders, and others to report on and document human rights violations or abuses that are taking place during Internet shutdowns, or communications disruptions.

We emphatically call on the Government of Iran to immediately lift restrictions intended to disrupt or prevent their citizens from accessing and disseminating information online and from communicating safely and securely. Moving forward, we also call on Iranian authorities to refrain from imposing partial or complete Internet shutdowns and blocking or filtering of services and to respect Iran’s international human rights obligations, including under articles 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

We continue to stand in solidarity with the Iranian people in their call to exercise their rights to freedoms of opinion and expression, both online and offline.



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