On 15 March, 2019 a terrorist opened fire in two Christchurch mosques, killing 51 people and injuring dozens more, during their prayers.
The atrocities were livestreamed on Facebook, weaponising the internet and amplifying the harm on a scale of magnitude the world had not seen.
On May 15, 2019, Prime Minister Ardern and President Macron of France, led the adoption of the Christchurch Call to Action.
The Christchurch Call(external link) is a series of voluntary commitments that bring Governments, Tech Companies and Civil Society together, with the common goal of eliminating terrorist and violent extremist content online.
This is an issue that transcends borders and platforms. It is a global problem that requires a global solution.
New Zealand is committed to working collaboratively, with industry and civil society, to prevent an online event like what we saw in Christchurch, from ever happening again.
The Christchurch Call is grounded in support for a free, open and secure internet, and the understanding that commitments must be respected in a way that upholds human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and States’ obligations under international human rights law.
New Zealand’s engagement on the Christchurch Call
As founders of the Christchurch Call, New Zealand and France have worked closely with Call supporters to deliver significant progress in the first year.
Since the Christchurch Call was established:
- More than 50 countries and international organisations have supported the Call.
- It has ten tech companies in support.
- Three crisis response protocols are operational, that did not exist at the time of the Christchurch Attack. The Christchurch Call Shared Online Crisis Response Protocol, the industry led Content Incident Protocol and the European protocol, provide an interlinking communications network that enables a rapid and coordinated response to online events, between Governments and companies.
- The Call has been the driving impetus for reform of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT)(external link), giving it independent status and dedicated resourcing.
- The GIFCT will carry forward substantive progress on a number of the Call commitments.
New Zealand sits on a number of bodies within the GIFCT, including the Independent Advisory Committee and working groups dealing with Crisis Response and Content-sharing algorithms, processes and positive interventions.
New Zealand and France have recently carried out the inaugural Christchurch Call Community Consultation collating the actions individual supporters have taken to meet their commitments under the Christchurch Call. The final report will be released on the Christchurch Call website(external link) before the end of the 2020 calendar year.
This will provide a valuable benchmark of progress to date as well as areas for future focus.
MFAT works alongside partner agencies, including DIA, DPMC, Ministry of Justice and Police to meet New Zealand’s own commitments under the Christchurch Call.