High Level Discussion on Countering the Negative Impact of Disinformation on the Enjoyment of Human Rights
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As delivered by Patrick Elliot
Human Rights Council – 50th Session
June 28, 2022
Thank you, Mr. President.
Disinformation is a dangerous, quick, and inexpensive way to destabilize societies, sow confusion, and shake public trust.
In Russia, disinformation is one of the Kremlin’s most important and far-reaching tools. Russia creates and spreads false narratives to advance its goals, including its unprovoked war against Ukraine.
To counter disinformation, truth is the best antidote. Independent and accurate reporting by OHCHR, free press, and civil society are key to exposing the truth. The Kremlin benefits from an information vacuum and from confusion about what is happening, both in Russia and outside. This is exactly why it restricts independent and truthful voices and limits access. To hide the truth, Russia’s censorship agency has shuttered independent media, blocked social media, and restricted access to international news.
We condemn the adoption of a new law threatening prison sentences of up to 15 years for journalists and ordinary citizens convicted of spreading so-called “false” information about Putin’s unconscionable war in Ukraine.
We also condemn the use of this law against Vladimir Kara-Murza, who is facing up to ten years in prison for speaking out against the war.
Russia continues to undermine international norms and global stability by seeking to disseminate disinformation abroad and silence critical voices at home.
We urge action to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms online and offline. This includes countering disinformation that seeks to divide the global community. We urge governments to work with the private sector and civil society to accomplish this difficult task.
Question to the panel: how can we counter the impact of disinformation on vulnerable populations and the targeting of women, girls, and other marginalized groups?
I thank you.