BREAKING NEWS APC says: It's time for human rights to be the centre of the internet governance debate

NAIROBI, KENYA, sept. 29 (APC)

NAIROBI, KENYA (APC), Thursday September 29 — APC welcomes the resolution of the UN Human Rights Council – supported by over fifty countries – to establish an expert panel on human rights and the internet. This is a critical step in recognising the importance of respecting human rights online. This decision is timely, coming as it does during the sixth Internet Governance Forum, where similar issues are being raised.

Whether dealing with faith-based filtering and the banning of encryption in Pakistan, or requiring all SIM cards to be registered with photo ID and fingerprints in Nigeria, the need for internet governance to be guided by a coherent set of principles is abundantly clear.

As Johan Hallenborg of the Swedish delegation to the IGF notes: “We don’t need new human rights norms; the ones we have are sufficient. What we need is an explicit understanding that these existing human rights apply in their full capacity to the internet.”

This is also the position of Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression. In his report, he cites the need for governments to uphold their existing human rights obligations when it comes to ICT legislation.

The resolution comes on the same day that APC’s Connect your Rights! campaign was officially launched. The goal of the campaign is to foster the link between human rights and the internet. The campaign, which has already successfully lobbied at the 17th Human Rights Council session, will focus much of its efforts toward engaging in the process of establishing the panel, nominating qualified experts and lobbying for a multi-stakeholder dialogue. APC is also pushing to have human rights be recognised as the principal theme for the 2012 IGF which will be held in Azerbaijan.

Connect your Rights!

Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression report

Can we have internet governance without internet rights? (APC press release Sept 27 2011)

The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) is an international network and non-profit organisation founded in 1990 that wants everyone to have access to a free and open internet to improve lives and create a more just world.