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Amnesty Demands End to Targeted Surveillance of Human Rights Defenders

2022-01-20 - 10:48 p

Bahrain Mirror: Amnesty International demanded to put an end to the targeted surveillance of human rights defenders as digital attacks against human rights defenders, journalists and civil society are on the rise.

The organization said that the digital devices of the targeted are hacked and can be spied on, silenced, and intimidated. "This must stop," it added.

Governments and companies say that these surveillance tools are only used to target "criminals and terrorists". But in reality, human rights defenders, journalists and many others across the world have been unlawfully targeted with spyware.

A report prepared by Front Line Defenders revealed that the phone of Bahraini activist, Ibtisam Al-Saegh, has been hacked at least 8 times in 2019.

Former UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Opinion and Expression called for a global moratorium - a halt on the sale, transfer, and use of surveillance technology - until there is a proper human rights regulatory framework in place that protects human rights defenders and civil society from the misuse of these tools. 

Amnesty demanded that governments ensure that these tools are not used to unlawfully target human rights defenders and civil society.

It also called to stop exports of surveillance technology to countries such as Morocco, where there is a high risk of using it to commit human rights violations.

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