APC welcomes Human Rights Council resolution on human rights and the internet

1 July 2014 (APC for APCNews)

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) welcomes the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet. Adopted by consensus by 82 member states, the resolution affirms that the same rights people enjoy offline apply online. APC applauds the links made between the internet and development but calls attention to areas where the resolution could have been stronger.

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What Are You Doing About Violence Against Women?

25 June 2014 (Take Back the Tech!)

That’s what we’re asking Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Promote transparency and safe spaces. Demand that social media take a stand. Join our campaign beginning 21 July to demand answers and action! Take back the tech!

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UPDATE: APC condemns arbitrary detention of women human rights defenders in Egypt

MONTREAL 25 June 2014 (APCNews)

APC denounces the arrests of 23 protestors and human rights defenders in Egypt, including the arrest of Yara Sallam, long-time APC partner and human rights advocate. Since the introduction of the protest law in November, there have been a string of actions aimed at silencing dissent in Egypt. APC fully supports the call from Nazra for Feminist Studies to release the human rights defenders and comply with international standards on freedom of assembly.

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What do the treaties say?

UNDHR article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.

What do the treaties say?

UDHR article 20

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

ICCPR article 21

The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized.

What is APC doing?

First up, we rallied support for the Panel by making joint statements and writing to governments and encouraging other NGOs to support it as well.

Now that the HRC has voted to go ahead with a panel, we will try to work closely with the Swedish government on the terms of reference, to suggest experts, share our research and mobilise engagement as part of the Connect Your Rights! Campaign.

Are there any risks?

Yes! The panel outcomes may be weak if the “experts” are not of high quality or there is weak or ill-informed engagement on the issues, or the sponsoring State does not co-ordinate the process well.

How does the panel work?

There is no set procedure for Panels. Generally, it is up to the leading sponsor State to coordinate the identification of panelists and the general concept note of the meeting. A panel consists of a 3 hour formal UN debate – usually introduced by 4-5 experts in the field and high level personalities. States and some NGOs respond to that with their political statements.

Why have a panel?

A Panel is often seen as the softest, risk-free step that the Council can take on an issue. Sometimes these kinds of panels are criticized because of that – too weak an option, not really doing anything, delay tactic etc. On the other hand it is a good entry point for a new issue and it’s safe in the sense that there is no automatic follow up.

What do the treaties say?

While the UDHR calls for equal rights for men and women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW from 1981 is considered the main treaty regarding women’s rights.

CEDAW article 1

For the purposes of the present Convention, the term “discrimination against women” shall mean any distinction, exclusion or

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