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Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 06, 2011
A United Nations report on Monday said that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law. The report, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur Frank La Rue  on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, comes the same day an internet-monitoring firm detected that two thirds of Syria’s internet access has abruptly gone dark, in what is likely a government response to unrest in that country.

The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

In the new cyber age, where internet is used to access information and get in touch with relatives and friends, the UN committee also says that denied of the right by the state should bo contested in national human right bodies.

The UN special rapporteur also said the goverments should incorporate specific clauses in Information Technology laws to ensure that in no circumstance a persons right to internet is denied.  The Special Rapporteur also called upon all states to ensure that Internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest.

The new report comes at the time of growing frequency and sophistication of internet filtering by governments. China has been accused of blocking internet access to Google and France and  United Kingdom bringing laws allowing agencies to deny cyber access to copyright violators.