The Council of Europe recognises that human rights apply equally online and offline. The Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users was written to explain in user-friendly terms the rights and freedoms guaranteed to internet users by the European Convention on Human Rights.

The guide was designed as a tool to help educate individual internet users on their online rights, as well as to encourage governments, public institutions, and corporations to assume responsibility to appropriately protect human rights online. 

Read also the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member States on a Guide to human rights for Internet users and the Explanatory Memorandum.

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The Guide’s Objective

In the Guide to Human Rights for Internet Users adopted on 16 April 2014, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe laid down the basic framework of principles to protect the fundamental human rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights for all internet users. The guide was designed as a tool to:

  • be used by individuals and to be relied upon when facing difficulties in exercising their rights online;
  • help governments and public institutions to discharge their obligations to protect, respect and remedy human rights;
  • be a kick-starter for national discussions on protection and promotion of human rights of internet users and their empowerment in internet environments;
  • promote corporate social responsibility by encouraging the private sector to act responsibly and with respect for the human rights of individuals they contract with.

The guide emphasises that the protection of the right to freedom of expression, access to information, the right to freedom of assembly, protection from cybercrime, the right to a private life, and the protection of personal data are all equally protected online and offline. 

Your Digital Rights in Brief

Following the decision of the Committee of Ministers on 16 March 2022 the Russian Federation is no longer a member of the Council of Europe. The website will be updated as soon as possible to take account of this development.

"Everyone has the right to freedom of expression"

Art. 10 European Convention on Human Rights


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