The Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Centro Internacional de Estudios Superiores de Comunicación para América Latina (CIESPAL) and Radialistas Apasionadas y Apasionados welcome the openness of the government of Ecuador towards exploring the implications of human rights online. “Although Ecuador did not explicitly mention internet-related human rights during its review, we’re optimistic that it will work towards setting clear objectives to defend human rights on the internet,” said Valeria Betancourt, APC’s policy manager, from Geneva.
An Ecuadorian national, Betancourt has worked with César Herrera from CIESPAL and other civil society colleagues in Geneva to engage in constructive dialogue with several countries under review as part of the 13th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a process of the UN Human Rights Council that helps track human rights protection and violations in all countries.
“Ecuador stressed the importance of an accessible internet for enabling human rights,” Betancourt said. After having met with part of the expert team that accompanies the Ecuadorian delegation in Geneva and hearing its human rights pledges for the years to come, Valeria Betancourt and César Herrera have agreed to work with the government and other civil society groups to deepen their understanding of access to the internet, freedom of expression, freedom of association and other fundamental human rights online. “We remain cautious, as concrete measures are not on the table right now, but we can be optimistic about cooperating constructively with Ecuador at the national level,” Betancourt insisted.
Later this year, Frank La Rue, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, is expected to land in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, for talks with the government and civil society. “We see his visit as an opportunity to work with the government to put Ecuador’s acknowledgement of the importance of the internet in practice,” Betancourt added.
“The Ecuadorian government has our support in advancing internet related rights concretely in Ecuador’s communities,” Betancourt concluded while César Herrera indicated that “our presence in Geneva has opened the possibility to build a mutual commitment towards addressing internet-related rights in the long term.” APC, CIESPAL and Radialistas see the UPR as a crucial venue to systematically assess progress in the respect for, promotion and defense of human rights on the internet at the national level.
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. www.apc.org
APC’s campaign ‘Connect Your Rights! Internet Rights are Human Rights’ http://rights.apc.org
Radialistas Apasionadas y Apasionados http://www.radialistas.net