Worldwide internet rights are under siege. Therefore Hivos, as member of the Internet Rights and Principles Coalition, announces the launch of the Click Rights campaign advocating the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet.
The Charter is based on a translation of existing fundamental human rights to the Internet environment, outlining what is required for human rights to be fulfilled on the Internet. These are guidelines for both private sector behaviour and for how states should regulate companies and govern individuals in the online environment.
Under its Internet Governance for Middle East and North Africa programme (IGMENA), Hivos seeks to raise awareness of Internet human rights in the light of the revelations of the NSA’s pervasive surveillance and collection of data, which sparked a furious backlash against the violations of Internet rights.
The International community, led by the Brazilian government, responded to such infringements by calling for an international conference on Internet Governance in Brazil in 2014 to discuss the new model of IG process that should follow a multilateral framework and ensure the respect of human rights.
Unfortunately, the MENA region is still out of step with the IG process. Here, authoritative governments deem the Internet a threat to their power and hence enact repressive legislation and set up telecommunication agencies to restrict freedom of expression online. For this reason, many online activists and internet users in the region are being detained, prosecuted and eventually imprisoned by governments for their online activities.
Finally but equally important, many governments around the world are still reluctant to engage different stakeholders in the Internet Governance process.
Therefore, Hivos calls on all stakeholders concerned – civil society, researchers, activists and technical communities – to endorse the Charter and join Click Rights in order to learn more about their rights online, consolidate their efforts, articulate their demands, and sign an Internet rights-based petition.
Hivos’ invitation is further extended to the private sector – Internet and mobile phone service providers – being requested to tie human rights in with their business model. Governments and intergovernmental organisations are also invited to join up and embrace a multi-stakeholder participatory approach.
IGMENA focuses on improving knowledge on Internet Governance and Internet policy through training civic actors from the Arab region and improving their knowledge on Internet Governance. The programme adopts a methodology of merging technology and policy with advocacy through preparing civic actors to take the lead in advocating for online human rights and Internet policy while working closely with other stakeholders concerned. To learn more about IGMENA please visit www.igmena.org