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Foreign Minister Steinmeier on the international right to privacy

27.03.2015 - Press release

On the evening of 26 March, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted to create a mandate for a UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy.

Foreign Minister Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin on 27 March:

I am delighted that the United Nations Human Rights Council has created a mandate for a Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy. This is something that we have been working with great persistence to achieve with Brazil and other partners.

With the unstoppable digitisation of our world, we are facing new challenges in the area of the protection of privacy that have, at the latest since Edward Snowden’s revelations, been the subject of discussion among the general public.

Effective protection of privacy can only be achieved by working together and on a global scale. We need to continue the debate in a serious and active manner, especially at the international level. The UN Special Rapporteur will play an important role in this regard.

Background information

In Geneva, at the initiative of Brazil and Germany, and supported by Mexico, Liechtenstein, Norway, Austria and Switzerland, the United Nations Human Rights Council yesterday adopted a resolution by consensus that creates a new mandate for a Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy.

The groundwork for this decision was laid by UN General Assembly resolutions 68/167 and 69/166 of 2013 and 2014 on the “right to privacy in the digital age”, which were also the result of a joint German-Brazilian initiative.

The Special Rapporteur’s mandate will encompass all aspects relating to the human right to privacy, which is guaranteed by Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The Special Rapporteur will participate in the international debate and present annual reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly of the United Nations and will enjoy independence in the performance of his or her duties. While the role is not remunerated, the Special Rapporteur will receive personnel and logistical support from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will now issue a public invitation for applications for the post of Special Rapporteur. It is expected that the appointment will be announced during the session of the Human Rights Council in June 2015.

The United Nations Human Rights Council

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