Mainstreaming human rights in the work of the IGF

5 December 2008 - A Workshop on Human Rights in Hyderabad, India


Signatories to the WSIS Geneva Declaration and Tunis Agenda reaffirmed their commitment to upholding human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration in the information society. It is therefore necessary to ensure that human rights lie at the core of the shared norms and principles that govern the evolution of the internet and its use. One important way of achieving this would be to mainstream human rights in internet governance policy and activity, ensuring that governance processes never undermine the rights that are protected by international law and, where possible, advance and expand them. 

The workshop will discuss practical strategies for ensuring that international rights standards are upheld within internet governance processes and policies from the bottom up, and for enhancing collaboration between people working on rights issues at the IGF. A major focus of the workshop will be whether the IGF dynamic coalitions can be an effective vehicle for this mainstreaming process. The workshop will also examine whether different stakeholders could find human rights useful as a positive framework for decision and policy making. 

The workshop will begin by exploring how human rights standards are relevant to the work of each of the coalitions. For example, some coalitions, such as the Privacy coalition, are seeking to protect existing human rights. Others, such as the A2K and Accessibility coalitions, are seeking to enhance and expand the positive dimensions of existing rights. Others, such as the Stop Spam Alliance and Child Online Safety, are working on policy issues which affect rights and should therefore align their policy solutions with international human rights standards. The discussion will then move on to consider the challenges and opportunities for mainstreaming rights within the internet governance work of different stakeholders.