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Intervention by Estonia at the General Debate at the UN Human Rights Council 35th Session under Items 2 and 3


UN Human Rights Council 35th Session


Intervention by ESTONIA


Items 2 and 3 – General Debate


Geneva, 12 June 2017


Mr President,

Estonia takes this opportunity to raise some issues addressed in the report of the High Commissioner on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet: ways to bridge the gender digital divide from a human rights perspective.

Of the 7.5 billion people in the world, men make up about 18% and women 16% of all the persons online. In keeping with the 2030 Agenda, this means that these 200 million fewer women have been „left behind“.

This gender digital divide, addressed in the High Commissioner’s report to this Council, has negative societal and economic consequences, including on the women’s enjoyment of their human rights. In the same way, when reversed, unhindered and promoted access to Internet benefits not only women, but also their communities and the economy.

The gender digital divide is both a consequence and cause of violations of women’s human rights. Recent data reveals that the digital gender divide is increasing, and, unfortunately, there are no quick fixes. Estonia agrees with the report that all policies to improve Internet access need to be comprehensive and gender responsive, addressing the underlying causes of gender inequality.

Women’s access to education remains a strong factor in Internet use. Urban poor women with at least some secondary education are six times more likely to be online than urban poor women with lower levels of education. This is why locally and internationally, Estonia strives towards a collaborative effort, working with governments, the private sector, and civil society to promote the digital literacy of women and girls.

Finally, we would like to emphasise that it is not only important to have access to and use of any kind of internet. Internet must be open, global, and accessible. Human rights-based approach needs to underpin the provision and expansion of access to the Internet for all, so that no one would be left behind.

Thank you.


© Permanent Mission of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations Office and other International Organisations in Geneva Chemin du Petit-Saconnex 28A, Geneva
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