Iceland Joins Freedom Online Coalition as 37th Member

Ms Thordís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iceland

Freedom Online Coalition (FOC), the intergovernmental organization established in 2011 with the aim of promoting Internet freedom and protecting human rights online, has announced that Iceland has officially joined the Coalition as its 37th member.

FOC disclosed that Iceland has made significant progress towards advancing digital inclusion domestically, ensuring quality Internet access throughout the country, and in conjunction with an effective and supportive legal framework, facilitating the wide enjoyment of human rights and Internet freedom.

The country’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights online is further underscored through the Icelandic National Cybersecurity Strategy, which outlines the aim of ensuring Icelanders can ‘enjoy the most secure environment on the Internet as possible, which they can trust and where human rights and personal data protection are respected’.

Iceland actively participates in various forums and human rights bodies and has supported efforts to bring attention to issues concerning human rights violations occurring globally. In line with the FOC’s mission and values, Iceland has also supported efforts in multilateral fora to advance Internet freedom, including the UN Human Rights Council resolutions ‘Freedom of Opinion and Expression’ and ‘The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age.

The country has shown a clear commitment to intergovernmental and multistakeholder initiatives in assuming the chairmanship of the Council of Europe in 2022, prioritising the advancement of human rights and democratic values. It has endorsed the International Partnership on Information and Democracy, and has also reinforced its commitment to promote democratic principles and human rights through the Summit for Democracy.

As a Member of the Media Freedom Coalition, Iceland is also a signatory to the Global Pledge on Media Freedom, highlighting its commitment to promoting media freedom and the protection of journalists. 

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Thordís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, said: “Iceland is committed to the promotion and defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including internet freedoms. We are honoured to become a member of the Freedom Online Coalition, gaining partners in the protection of the online space. The human rights we fight for – including freedom of speech, freedom of association, assembly and privacy – should be respected online as well as offline.”

As the Coalition’s 37th Member, Iceland has pledged to uphold and advance the Coalition’s shared goals and values as captured in the FOC Founding Declaration, the Helsinki Declaration, and the Ottawa Agenda. It will become an active participant in the FOC’s various bodies and diplomatic networks to promote the values of democracy and human rights online domestically and abroad.

The FOC says it looks forward to working collaboratively with Iceland to promote a rules-based, democratic, and inclusive world where human rights and fundamental freedoms are upheld in online and digital contexts.