The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) has urged the government to restore internet connections immediately in order to promote the right to knowledge and communication via social media platforms.
The Commission stated in a statement to the media that it is deeply concerned that, at a time when the general public relies on social media platforms to communicate and access information about the electoral process, the internet appears to have been shut down, depriving them of their right to information.
“The apparent shut down of internet services is a breach of a constitutional right to freedom of expression and information because there is no legitimate existing circumstance that warrants the curtailing and/or limitations of the right to access information.
“At worst, the act of shutting down the internet is undemocratic and is reminiscent of repressive regimes that are against good governance principles of transparency and accountability and thrive on excluding the public from participating in critical governance matters.
“Therefore, the Commission calls on the Government, through the respective agencies responsible for managing the local internet gateway, to unblock the internet and allow the use of applications such as WhatsApp and Facebook which are the major sources of information and means of communication by most citizens, particularly the youth.
“The blocking of the internet service has the potential of creating suspicion, speculations and misinformation in the management of the election results and may result into anxiety and possibly violence.
“It is, therefore, unnecessary to create tension at the time when the electoral process is coming to an end and the country is almost healing from political and electoral violence that had characterized the campaign period,” the statement conculded