The Global Network Initiative welcomes the reference to human rights and Internet freedom in the OECD’s recent update of the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

These guidelines are indicative of a broad international consensus on key aspects of the ongoing effort to ensure protection for fundamental rights and recognize that collaboration between different stakeholders can strengthen efforts to protect these rights.

We agree with the OECD that in the current world economy, there is an important role for business enterprises to support, as appropriate to their circumstances, cooperative efforts to promote respect for free expression, association and assembly online.

While the duty of governments to respect human rights is the foundation of the international human rights framework, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies also have a duty to respect and protect the freedom of expression and privacy rights of their users.  To this end, corporations and human rights advocates, along with academics and investors, have come together in GNI to create a systematic way businesses can engage stakeholders and integrate respect for basic rights into operations and regulatory compliance processes.

The GNI has participated in workshops and discussions with the OECD on these issues and looks forward to continuing engagement with the OECD on these important issues.