Charting the Charter: Internet Rights and Principles Online

22 October 2013 - A Workshop on Human Rights in Bali, Indonesia

Internet Governance Forum 2013

Workshop # 99 Report

Charting the Charter: Internet Rights and Principles Online

Organizer Name 

Franklin Marianne

Organizer Entity 

IRP Coalition

Workshop Theme 

Human Rights / Freedom of Expression on the Internet

Consise description 

 

Since the Charter of Internet Rights and Principles was developed dialogue about diverse internet related human rights issues have emerged in various UN human rights mechanisms e.g. racism/racial discrimination, human rights defenders, women's human rights, freedom of association, business and human rights, protection of cultural heritage.  The workshop will map the issues under discussion in the UNHRC against those in the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet (‘IRP Charter’) and explore multistakeholder perspectives and best practice examples of adherence to the Charter and human rights standards from diverse regions.  
The focus is on progress, opportunities and challenges to monitor and advocate for the IRP Charter provisions particularly for marginalised groups e.g. rural and indigenous peoples, disabled people, urban poor as the second part of the two workshops put forward by the IRP Coalition and partners. Wider questions that the workshop looks to cover include: How are understandings about the interrelationship of internet governance and human rights standards developing at the Human Rights Council?  Aside from freedom of expression and the right to Privacy, what other human rights are important in relation to the internet? How can the Charter be used to broaden the engagement of the Human Rights Council in internet governance issues? How does the work of the HRC inform the Charter, and other internet policy documents and mechanisms? 
Since the 2009 IGF, the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition has organised a range of workshops and Coalition meetings looking at the application of human rights standards (primarily those espoused in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) to the Internet. In 2010 the previous draft of the IRP Charter (http://internetrightsandprinciples.org/site/charter/) was launched with a rigorous discussion about what correct interpretation of existing standards is and the role of different stakeholders in relation to these. 

In 2011 the IRP Charter was distilled down to 10 key advocacy points, the Ten Internet Rights and Principles (http://internetrightsandprinciples.org/site/campaign/). These were debated as the Coalition undertook a closer analysis of the issue of copyright protection and how it interrelated with human rights on the internet. In 2012 the Coalition looked at how the Charter was feeding in to a derivative initiative at the Council of Europe to create a user-friendly Compendium of rights of internet users. The Coalition made a close analysis of the issue of anonymity online. This year we want to focus on human rights which, while contained in the Charter, have not received high levels of attention. We also want to loop in the work of Coalition members working on human rights, women’s rights, social, cultural and economic rights as well as the recent work of the Human Rights Council (which is the most authoritative global body applying human rights to the Internet) to incorporating human rights as an integral part of the internet governance field.

 

Agenda 

This round table session explores the opportunities and challenges for upholding human rights standards on the internet using the IRP Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet (http://internetrightsandprinciples.org/site/charter/). In tandem with the session on Disabilities and Indigenous rights this session aims to: · Address a number of human rights – moving beyond freedom of expression and privacy - to consider the IRP Charter provisions for socio-economic rights, education, women’s rights and rights of the visually impaired in the online environment. · Provide an assessment of the implementation of human rights standards on the internet o date. · Feed recommendations in to the IRP Coalition initiative to create a final version of the IRP Charter (in terms of substance, process, and uses of the document in practice) The session will start by focusing on a selection of concrete examples (such as, the PRISM revelations, the Marrakesh Treaty on exceptions and limitations to copyright for the blind, racial discrimination, education rights online) before opening to a wider discussion. It brings together diverse perspectives on the relationship between human rights and internet policy, where the human rights movement needs to engage more or more effectively, and how the IRP Charter should be developed to assist this process. The outcomes of the workshop will feed into the IRP Coalition Meeting, ‘Towards the IRP Charter 2.0’.

Moderator 

Dixie Hawtin, Global Partners and Associates

Remote Moderator 

Rebecca Zausmer, Global Partners and Associates

Have you organized workshops at previous IGFs?

Yes

Workshop format 

Roundtable


Brief substantive summary of the workshop and presentation of the main issues that were raised during the discussions 

 

This round table session explored the opportunities and challenges for upholding human rights standards on the internet using the IRP Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet (http://internetrightsandprinciples.org/site/charter/). In tandem with the session on Disabilities and Indigenous rights this session aims to:

  • Address a number of human rights – moving beyond freedom of expression and privacy - to consider the IRP Charter provisions for socio-economic rights, education, women’s rights and rights of the visually impaired in the online environment.
  • Provide an assessment of the implementation of human rights standards on the internet o date.
  • Feed recommendations in to the IRP Coalition initiative to create a final version of the IRP Charter (in terms of substance, process, and uses of the document in practice)

 
Main points of Discussion from each Speaker:

Dixie Hawtin (Global Partners, former co-Chair IRP Coalition): Overview of genesis and writing of the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet as presented in the booklet form at Bali IGF.

Pranesh Prakash (CIS, India) - Disabilities Rights and Issues: What is still lacking is

1) More thorough monitoring of whether, and if so how existing guidelines for ensuring full internet access for people with disabilities, are being met.

2) Using F/OSS and open standards platform as primary form of affordable internet access and content.

3) Notes that have to connect high level principles, and progress made there (e.g. the WIPO Marrakech Treaty) to on the ground needs and make them operable.

Joy Liddicoat (APC): Ways of using the IRP Charter highlights how recent women’s rights are in the UN context. Things evolving all the time, new standards emerging, to which the Charter needs to keep speaking and responding to as new forms of technology are also creating new forms of violence. Here the IRP Charter can facilitate and enable more diverse human rights organizations to come into internet discussions e.g. its provision around right to international order is one that can link into other rights based movement

Michael Nelson (Microsoft): Focus was practical question of how companies respond to Charters and Human Rights principles in light of how MS is promoting Human Rights in its company policies and software R&D around the world. Microsoft is taking concrete steps to comply with UN rights, and ILO Rights and Fundamental Principles at Work.

Carl Frederik Wettermark (Swedish Government): Provided practical suggestions for how documents like the Charter matter for governments:  

1)     internet governance is a complex and difficult terrain so templates such as the Charter offer an entry point to grasping this complexity.

2)     Concrete outputs such as the Charter play very important role in setting things in motion as governments respond to incoming ideas and documentation as opposed to having time to generate them. A single document that can focus is here constructive.

3)     More targeted outreach can also start bridging the disconnect between domestic and foreign policy making also only starting to be bridged, nexus where internet policy making operates.

4)     Commended IRP Coalition on the work and is just starting to be circulated as government officials exchange these inputs for their work.


Marianne Franklin (Goldsmiths/IRP Coalition): Focusing on

1)     the classroom and how the IRP Charter can educate at all levels, high school and university in particular as digital generation become aware that online they have rights too.

2)     On how the Charter sections on Right to Education, Knowledge and Cultural Diversity need also to take account of access and affordability issues that are not immediately apparent as cash-strapped universities sign up to commercial internet service provisions.

3)     Specific sections of the IRP Charter, e.g. Rights of Children, Women’s Rights have already been effective for outreach, as have the Ten Principles. Still work to do in fleshing out individual sections in response to changing context in which schools and universities go online for teaching and learning; virtual learning environments now the main platform for accessing and acquiring new knowledge.

 

 

 

 

Conclusions drawn from the workshop and further comments 

 

A general discussion followed on how the IRP Charter has already been working, and put into practice as well as feedback on the Charter itself: Points covered included:

  • Using the document in courses opens minds to other IG questions beyond FoE and Privacy
  • Support from the floor to promote this booklet as a definitive version, albeit one open to further revisions hence the generational naming (Version 1.1)
  • Questions about “orphan issues” at the IGF and whether these an be addressed through work on the upcoming ICANN-Brazil 2014 Summit proposal
  • A number of suggestions about Current version in terms of refinements and next steps including balance between rights and principles in this document.
  • Ideas about moving with Charter from big ideas to everyday, real life practicalities
  • One other way, and one forged by the Charter is to frame lawmaking at the national, regional, and even the global level.
  • Some criticisms about whether interdependent rights are not in fact contradictory and so self-defeating, hence scepticism about the Charter finding its way into hard law
  • Suggestion to advocate that this Charter be included in the International monitoring system on whether states are compliant with the Charter’s minimum standards.

Outcomes

- more targeted outreach to consolidate success of the release of Version 1.1

-  Integrate Charter into process of the Universal Periodic Review

- move forward with generating feedback about the Charter with a view to producing a next version to respond to developments and address some lacunae in the text

- move forward in promoting the Charter to organizations at ground level who need to have template for linking human rights with internet governance as internet access, design, and use become integral to human rights activism, and the latter become a focus online.

 

 

Reported by 

Marianne Franklin

Estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session 

About half of the participants were women

To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment? 


It was one of the main themes of the session
It was raised by one or more of the speakers as an important aspect of the session's theme

Discussion affecting gender equality and women's empowerment 

These were covered as highlighted in the Charter; those areas needing attention were also noted. 

More than 60 people attended based on a rough head count 

Workshops Staticals 
Number of FEMALE participantsNumber of MALE participantsNumber of Young participantsNumber of Developing Countries ParticipantsNumber of Developed Countries ParticipantsNumber of LDCs participantsNumber of TOTAL Participants
30 30 15 20 20 20 60