NAIROBI, 28 March 2019: - The internet and other digital technologies can drive sustained and inclusive economic growth, social and cultural development, and environmental protection and promote sustainable accelerated achievement of SDG 11 - making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

UN-Habitat, OHCHR, UCLG, and EUROCITIES have partnered with the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York to launch a campaign to rally 100 cities in 100 days to join the Cities Coalition for Digital Rights.

The coalition, which was formed by Amsterdam, Barcelona and New York in November 2018 with the support of UN-Habitat, is committed to ensuring universal and equal access to the internet, and improving digital literacy; protecting privacy, data protection and security; promoting transparency, accountability, and non-discrimination of data, content and algorithm; encouraging participatory democracy, diversity and inclusion, as well as open and ethical digital service standards. In addition to the founding cities, an additional 22 cities have joined the coalition, marking the first time that cities have come together to protect and promote digital rights on a global level. The new cities are Athens, Bratislava, Cary, Chicago, Grenoble, Helsinki, Kansas City, London, Los Angeles, Lyon, Milan, Moscow, Philadelphia, Portland, San Jose, Tirana, Torino, Vienna and Zaragoza.

With increasing reliance on the internet comes the need to protect and respect basic human rights for all in the digital realm. Globally, six out of ten people are not connected to the internet, and violation of human rights including shutdowns, targeting of activists and journalists for their online activities, collection of personal data without consent, and digital surveillance persist. The Cities Coalition for Digital Rights is committed to harnessing technology, to improve the lives of people and support communities in cities by providing trustworthy and secure digital services and infrastructure.

National and local governments, non-governmental and civil society organizations, and the private sector all have a role to play in development of proactive and holistic policies to ensure that technology is used to increase both freedom and security, and that the benefits of digital technology are experienced by all. Local governments especially have a responsibility to ensure digital rights trickle down to every citizen.

The campaign to mobilize 100 new cities to join the Coalition for Digital Rights in 100 days will enhance the ability of cities to promote legal frameworks and programmes that advance digital rights and prevent their abuse.

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For more information please contact

Tessy Aura

Human Rights Officer, UN-Habitat, Programme Division