Fostering freedom of expression and enhancing synergies through the UPR Process

The importance of freedom of expression was highlighted during a High-level discussion. Ms Nada Al-Nashif emphasized that freedom of expression is crucial for societal growth and human rights protection. However, limitations on freedom of expression are increasing globally, with justifications lacking legality, necessity, or proportionality according to international human rights standards.

During the opening of the High-level discussion co-hosted by the Office of the President of the Human Rights Council, Ms Nada Al-Nashif, Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights said, ‘we have the opportunity today, once again, to collectively underline that freedom of expression is essential for any society to realise its people’s fullest potential and aspirations. It is a necessary condition for the realization of the principles of transparency and accountability that are, in turn, the key to the promotion and protection of human rights. Freedom of expression is also the basis for the full enjoyment of a wide range of other rights, such as the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, the freedom of peaceful assembly, and the right to vote.
Yet, freedom of expression nowadays faces increasing limitations, both legal and practical, both in countries with restricted civic space as well as in those with longer histories of active public debate and exchange. Some of these limitations involve generalised assertions of what may be a legitimate objective — typically national security or public order — but without the barest demonstration of legality, necessity or proportionality, as required by international human rights standards’.