Human rights on the internet: what are they and what do they mean in the context of internet governance?

21 October 2013 - A Best Practice Forum on Human Rights in Bali, Indonesia


During the Internet Governance Forum 2013 there will, for the first time, be a main session focused specifically on human rights. Yet APC has identified that there is insufficient capacity among civil society in their advocacy for human rights and social justice. The aim is to bring together civil society participants, build internet and human rights advocacy capacity, and provide inputs to key discussions in the IGF.

Our research shows that even among internet activists, not to mention mainstream human rights organisations, there is limited capacity at technical levels (e.g. in using the internet strategically, safely and securely) and at the level of policy and advocacy (understanding what processes and mechanisms they can use to achieve their goals). Further, civil society has difficulty influencing internet and related policy processes: These processes are complex, and dominated by governments and industry in spite of the focus on 'multi-stakeholderism'. Civil society, particularly from the global south, struggles to participate effectively either at national or global/regional levels. Moreover there is no common acknowledgement of the internet as a public good, which means that its policy and regulation is increasingly driven by the interests of entities with political or commercial power rather than by the broadest possible public interest and including marginalised groups. Our aim is to strengthen capacity of human rights organisations and defenders, including WHRDs and sexual rights activists, to identify risks to internet freedoms that impact on democracy, to prevent and respond to violations and advocate in internet policy forums, including the IGF, within a human right framework. This pre-event will therefore focus on capacity building for these groups and will draw on the Internet Rights are Human Rights Curriculum and share lessons among participants. Participant will be asked to provide inputs to the IGF 2013 main session on human rights and into other relevant IGF workshops, main sessions and side events as appropriate.

The Internet and Human Rights capacity building workshop will focus on the issues of:
Introduction to human rights, ICTs and the internet (including human rights mechanisms)
Freedom of expression and freedom of information
Freedom of peaceful assembly and association
The right to privacy