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Stockholm - Skyline International for Human Rights welcomes Facebook's new policy to support human rights. The Facebook Company enacted a corporate human rights policy covering the entire company and introduced a fund to support human rights defenders facing serious threats and support new digital security efforts.

In a press release issued today, Wednesday, Skyline appreciated Facebook's long-waited decision to back human rights through its policies and programming. It also calls it to exert continuous efforts in all directions to respect and protect human rights, and its defenders, activists and media workers.

Skyline further highlighted that "through its newly announced promise on Tuesday, March 16th, Facebook said that it will report its most critical human rights issues, like risks to freedom of expression, to its board of directors and release a yearly report on its steps to address those issues".Facebook will launch a fund to provide" offline assistance "to support and protect activists, journalists and other" human rights defenders, without specifying the amount of money allocated to this fund.

Facebook's Director of human rights Miranda Sissons said in a Newsroom post late Tuesday that the company’s new policy sets out standards it will strive to respect as defined in international law, including the  United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, as well as how those standards will apply to its applications, products, policies, programming and overall business approach.

Sissons further said, "We will protect defenders' accounts by combating those who target them, protecting them from incorrect content removals, providing advanced security options, thwarting unauthorized access to the accounts of defenders who have been arrested or detained, and cooperating with human rights organizations for awareness and training".
Skyline highlighted that the new policy covers all of Facebook Inc.’s products and services, including Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and others. Through its new policy, Facebook commits to challenge any attempts to undermine end-to-end encryption, protect human rights defenders, ecpand its work on civil rights, provide remedy for human rights harms.

For his part, Mohammed Imad, Director of Legal Affairs and Policies at Skyline, said that "Facebook's decision is a necessary and right step to protect individuals' rights of freedom of expression and opinions and safeguard their data, especially since the company is guilty of many practices against hundreds of human rights defenders. Those defenders were deprived the right to freedom of expression by Facebook through restricting their publications, blocking their personal accounts or even closing them, and teaming up with their governments to purse them.

"Imad" also stressed that Facebook's human rights team and board of directors are now facing a major challenge to prove and ensure implementing their company's policy to further human rights on every area of the company’s work, including commercial applications and products."

Skyline finally stressed that Facebook and other companies that own social media are required to respect international law rules and the legal principles that guarantee freedom of opinion and expression, and reject any practice that would those rights. It further emphasized that any infringement on these rights is a legal violation that requires accountability.