APC's UPR submissions set the stage for government accountability on internet rights

OTTAWA, Canada, Jan 10 (APC)

APC is pleased to announce the submission of country reports for India, Brazil, South Africa and Ecuador for the Universal Periodic Review process, which will convene at the UN in May 2012. These reports mark the first time that internet-related human rights issues have been raised as part of the UPR in these four countries, and sets the stage for holding governments accountable. While the issues addressed are specific to each country, the reports highlight that the issue of human rights on the internet is and will continue to be a global challenge.

Key issues highlighted in the submissions include:

  • The obligation to report on internet rights issues (all country reports)
  • Access to the internet as a multi-faceted concept including infrastructure, regulatory policy, language and content diversity (Ecuador, India, South Africa)
  • The right to information, freedom of expression and the links to democracy (India, South Africa, Ecuador, Brazil)
  • Women’s human rights: access to sexual and reproductive health information (Brazil), the need for a rights-based approach to internet-related policy (India)
  • Freedom of expression and content control including privacy, cybercrime law, and surveillance (South Africa, Brazil, and India)
  • Internet governance: the need for human rights to be expressly included and for multi-stakeholder processes (India, Brazil, South Africa)

Each submission was written in collaboration with local members and partners, including: the Digital Empowerment Foundation, Nupef, APC WNSP, Sangonet, CIESPAL, and Radialistas Apasionadas y Apasionados, among others.

APC also worked with the Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau in the Philippines to support and endorse their submission on women’s access to justice, which highlighted ICTs and violence against women.

This achievement lays the groundwork for the next stage of the Connect your rights! campaign. It is crucial that internet policy be evaluated in the context of the UPR, since the Internet is an increasingly important facilitator for the exercise, promotion and protection of human rights.

Now is the time to lobby governments and national human rights commissions to take up these issues. Local “Connect your rights! Internet rights are human rights” campaigns will roll out in each country over the next six months to support these submissions and to call on governments to take action on the reports’ recommendations.

For inquiries please contact Joy Liddicoat at: joy@apc.org


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