Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), U.S. Department of State

Promoting freedom and democracy and protecting human rights around the world are central to U.S. foreign policy. The values captured in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in other global and regional commitments are consistent with the values upon which the United States was founded centuries ago. The United States supports those persons who long to live in freedom and under democratic governments that protect universally accepted human rights. The United States uses a wide range of tools to advance a freedom agenda, including bilateral diplomacy, multilateral engagement, foreign assistance, reporting and public outreach, and economic sanctions. The United States is committed to working with democratic partners, international and regional organizations, non-governmental organizations, and engaged citizens to support those seeking freedom. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor leads the U.S. efforts to promote democracy, protect human rights and international religious freedom, and advance labor rights globally.

Work supported:

  • Securing human rights online in Africa through a strong and active ‘African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms’ network (2018-2020)

Link: https://www.state.gov/j/drl/ 

Digital-shy Zimbabwe’s schools feel the brunt of COVID-19
Digital-shy Zimbabwe’s schools feel the brunt of COVID-19 30 June 2020 Kenneth Matimaire

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how citizens become vulnerable when governments do not protect and promote human rights in the online environment. The pandemic has critically affected the global education sector, potentially compromising the right to education.

A provisional analysis of the impact of telecommunications policy and regulatory frameworks in Africa and COVID-19: A community networks perspective
A provisional analysis of the impact of telecommunications policy and regulatory frameworks in Africa and COVID-19: A community networks perspective 30 June 2020 Josephine Miliza

This article seeks to examine the extent to which national and regional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted on the regime of human rights online. The article also examines the widening digital divide and the role that telecommunication policy and regulatory frameworks play in closing this gap.

Reflections on COVID-19 policy responses in Uganda and the relevance of the African declaration on internet rights and freedoms for promoting women’s rights online
Reflections on COVID-19 policy responses in Uganda and the relevance of the African declaration on internet rights and freedoms for promoting women’s rights online 29 June 2020 Amuku Isaac

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown why the protection of human rights online is more important now than ever before. The internet has been a gateway for access to critical information, services and opportunities available to many people for the first time, as noted by the GSMA mobile gender gap report.

Mask or muzzle: The impact of COVID-19 measures on digital rights in Kenya
Mask or muzzle: The impact of COVID-19 measures on digital rights in Kenya 29 June 2020 Francis Monyango

Upon the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Kenya, the government enacted various legislation to deal with the pandemic. While the measures were well intended, the manner in which existing laws have been implemented has caused some concern among civil society organisations.

Tackling gender-based cyber violence against women and girls in Malawi amidst the COVID-19 pandemic
Tackling gender-based cyber violence against women and girls in Malawi amidst the COVID-19 pandemic 28 June 2020 Donald Flywell Malanga

Gender-based violence against women and girls remains a global threat to the public health of women and girls during emergencies. As the COVID-19 pandemic deepens the economic and social stress, coupled with restricted movement and social isolation measures, gender-based violence against women and girls is increasing exponentially.

Compulsory e-learning in Namibia’s public schools: A commendable idea marred by the digital divide?
Compulsory e-learning in Namibia’s public schools: A commendable idea marred by the digital divide? 24 June 2020 Nashilongo Gervasius

Cracks within the Namibian education system have been exposed by COVID-19, and the detrimental effects they pose to the right to development and access to knowledge, as set out in Principle 7 of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, have increasingly become apparent.

COVID-19 exposes the damage of the ex-regime’s empowerment policy on ICTs and the impact of US sanctions against Sudan
COVID-19 exposes the damage of the ex-regime’s empowerment policy on ICTs and the impact of US sanctions against Sudan 24 June 2020 Wala Mohammed

For decades, the internet has not reached all areas in Sudan proving the lack of real governmental effort to implement the principles of the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms. 

The  shrinking of the digital space during the COVID-19 pandemic: Movement building and internet governance in North Africa
The shrinking of the digital space during the COVID-19 pandemic: Movement building and internet governance in North Africa 23 June 2020 Sodfa Daaji and Rim Menia

The analysis of the sphere of movement building and internet governance in North Africa leads inevitably to assess the shrinking of digital space and online mobilisation during the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.

Women face internet access challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda
Women face internet access challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda 23 June 2020 Peace Oliver Amuge and Sandra Aceng

This article analyses the challenge of internet access faced by women and other marginalised groups such as persons with disabilities in Uganda during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gender digital divide and COVID-19: Towards feminist internet regulations in southern Africa
The gender digital divide and COVID-19: Towards feminist internet regulations in southern Africa 23 June 2020 Tina Power

The African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms and the Feminist Principles of the Internet advocate for an internet that is accessible, available, useable and affordable to all persons, without discrimination. Realising these principles has become increasingly urgent in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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