Topic Area A: The right to privacy
Delegate Name: Eudokia Oikonomidi
The right to privacy is a human right and an element of various legal traditions which has been a subject of international debate. Under the pretext of combating terrorists, controversial agencies such as the CIA and others have engaged in mass global surveillance, undermining sometimes the right to privacy. A major question is whether or not the right to privacy needs to be forfeited as part of the social compact in order to bolster defends against alleged terrorist threats.
The right to privacy is included in the natural rights category and generally responds to new information and communication technologies. Natural rights must be seen as universal and inalienable and not contingent upon the laws, customs or beliefs of any particular culture or government.
The right to privacy is explicitly stated under Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: ?No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.?
Croatia has a comprehensive data protection legislative regime that complies with the EU data protection directives on data privacy. Personal data protection is also a constitutional right under the Croatian Constitution.
Thus, Article 1 regulates the protection of personal data regarding natural persons and the supervision of collecting, processing and use of those. The purpose of personal data protection is to ensure the privacy of individuals, as well as other human rights and fundamental freedoms in the collecting, processing and use of personal data. The protection of personal data in the Republic of Croatia has been ensured for every natural person irrespective of his/her citizenship or place of residence, and regardless of race, skin colour, sex, language, religion, political or other convictions, national or social background, property, birth, education, social standing or other characteristics.
Higher restrictions apply to the processing of special categories of personal data pertaining to racial, or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or other beliefs health or sex life as well as personal data regarding criminal or misdemeanour proceedings. These special categories of data may be collected and processed only in exceptional cases prescribed by the CAPDP (Personal Data Protection Act) which stipulates that the consent of the data subject is necessary and the purpose should be the protection of their life or their physical integrity in cases when the data subject is physically or legally unable to give his/her consent.
Data can be exported to a third country only after the data subject agrees to and only to countries which do not lack an adequate level of data protection.
Croatia believes, however, that even with the adoption of legal and other protections, violations of privacy remain a concern. There are widespread violations of laws relating to surveillance of communications, even in the most democratic countries. In many countries, laws have not kept up with the technology, leaving significant gaps in protections. In other countries, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been given significant exemptions. Finally, in the absence of adequate oversight and enforcement, the mere presence of a law may not provide adequate protection.
The Republic of Croatia has made significant strides to implement EU protection directives which guarantee the right to privacy under its present Constitution. We call upon all states to respect and protect the right of privacy and take measures to put an end to violations of this right and create the conditions to prevent such violations, by ensuring that relevant national legislation complies with their obligations under international human rights law.