Dozens of human rights groups issued a joint statement warning of violations of the fundamental rights of Iranian citizens if the so-called “User Protection” bill is passed, and called on the authorities to withdraw the bill immediately.
The 55 human rights organizations have expressed concern over the Iranian parliament’s passage of a comprehensive bill on the “cyberspace services regulatory system,” formerly known as the “User Protection Bill.”
The letter, signed by the organizations, states that if the bill is passed, “a set of fundamental rights of the people in Iran, including the right to freedom of expression and the right to privacy, will be violated.”
They have called on the authorities of the Islamic Republic to withdraw the bill immediately.
Other demands of these human rights organizations by the foreign parties negotiating with Iran include urging the Iranian parliament to immediately repeal the bill and ensuring that the protection and promotion of human rights by the Iranian authorities is a priority.
They call on members of the international community and countries engaged in bilateral and multilateral dialogue with the Islamic Republic to press the Iranian authorities to abide by their human rights obligations.
These groups have warned that without immediate action by the international community and member states of the Human Rights Council, the Iranian people could be at risk of “serious isolation” and widespread violations of their fundamental rights.
Human rights groups that signed the letter include the Abdul Rahman Boroumand Foundation, Amnesty International, Article 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Center for Human Rights in Iran.
The letter was written after the Iranian government’s controversial plan to restrict the Internet and foreign social networks, known as “protecting the rights of users in cyberspace,” known as the “protection plan,” was introduced in Iran’s socio-political space.
The plan is currently being debated in parliament, and its focus is on restricting foreign messengers and social networks such as Instagram, imposing severe restrictions on Internet access, and increasing military control over Internet border crossings.
The “protection plan” was put on the parliament’s agenda after the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, in several speeches, called cyberspace in Iran “abandoned” and criticized its non-restriction by the responsible institutions.
The plan would allow the government and the armed forces to control the infrastructure and communication of Iran’s Internet network with the World Wide Web.
In a statement issued on March 1, UN human rights experts called on the Iranian government to suspend recent steps to adopt a new Internet surveillance plan that would separate Iran from the international Internet community.