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Statement delivered by Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Minister for Nordic Cooperation, Mr. Flemming Møller Mortensen, on the occasion of the high-level thematic debate on digital cooperation and connectivity of the UN General Assembly, 27 April 2021

27.04.2021  18:53

Mr. President, excellences, ladies and gentlemen,

Digital cooperation promises to shape all the UN core agendas – human rights, development, and peace and security.

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During the pandemic, digital transformation accelerated. The challenges and opportunities are rightly at the forefront of our agenda. 

The internet allows us to uphold important functions in society during the pandemic. And it is an enabler of human rights. It can enhance government transparency and accountability. And community organization and political activism. 

At the same time, digitalization has deepened inequality. Women, persons with disabilities and the poor are more disconnected. And if they are online they are more vulnerable to harassment, abuse and fraud.

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Civic space is under pressure. Anti-democratic regimes use online platforms to target and mute political opposition, civil society and human rights defenders. 

In 2020, we saw more than 150 targeted internet shut-downs. And the pandemic has given room for further crack-down on human rights online.

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Denmark is committed to fighting attempts to limit democracy and human rights online. We will work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure that technology strengthens democracy and human rights.

Denmark is one of the world’s most digital democracies - and we have a whole new strategy for technological diplomacy. The strategy will strengthen our engagement with governments, business and civil society. We want to ensure that the development and the use of technology is based on human rights in a way that strengthens good governance.

We must build on the debate here today to identify and implement initiatives to bridge the digital divide and promote human rights and democratic values online.

Thank you.