CoE Open Forum

25 October 2013 - A Open Forum on Human Rights in Bali, Indonesia


Internet and online service providers generally set the rules for using the services they offer in their Terms and Conditions of Use. Internet users exercise their civil and political rights, such as freedom of expression, freedom of association, the right to privacy and others within these privately ordered spaces. Therefore, the Terms and Conditions of Use effectively determine the levels of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms online and the conditions for their enjoyment by Internet users. Users’ acceptance, usually by a simple click on unilaterally defined terms of services, has direct consequences for the realisation of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The primacy of the international human rights framework over any set of rules determined by Internet players requires that states as well as all other society actors fulfil their responsibilities for the protection and promotion of human rights in their respective roles and capacities. The Council of Europe is preparing a Compendium of existing rights of Internet users to enable them to understand and exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms online when they seek effective recourse from Internet players and government agencies. Although a European document, the Compendium has a tremendous potential to contribute to the universal and effective observance of the international human rights framework. The workshop aims at bringing into the Council of Europe processes human rights-based expertise and user-empowerment experiences to inspire and guide the drafters of the Compendium. It provides an open and dynamic space for the expression of viewpoints and channeling of experiences on the following questions: - How to capitalise and maximise the potential of the Compendium for strengthening the implementation of existing human rights standards at the domestic level? What action is needed by governmental agencies to promote it? - Can the Compendium be adopted as a tool by Internet and online service providers in the exercise of their social corporate responsibilities? - Do we need new levels of commitments to the strengthening of the overall effectiveness levels of remedies? Do we need new remedies for violations of fundamental rights and freedoms online?