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No. 276 Rights Issues for Disadvantaged Groups

Marianne Franklin
IRP Coalition



Human Rights / Freedom of Expression on the Internet

This workshop, organized by the IRP Coalition in collaboration with the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability, IT for Change, and the Centre for Internet Society, examines how the internet can uphold a “people centered, inclusive and development-oriented information society” (WSIS, 2005) for indigenous peoples and disadvantaged groups among other marginalized groups. Internet rights and principles uniquely impact marginalized groups and present challenges in terms of governance, public policy, and technical design (e.g. standardized interface features that support orality and visual media, as well as text to speech, and voice to text applications, multilingualism). This workshop explores challenges around the tension between specific contexts and universal expressions of rights, responsibilities, and obligations. It intends to propose ways of meeting the challenges in supporting universal access, effective use, and specialized services for marginalized populations including indigenous peoples, non-technical and oral cultures, the physically disabled, and the digitally disadvantaged within rural and remote communities.

The ideal values and outcomes of a universally accessible Internet include: interoperability, privacy, transparency, participatory design, cultural and linguistic diversity, support for oral cultures and non-technical populations, open access, and support for the commons. However, there are limitations and constraints consistent with the global diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Internet Society fails its promise if it fails to promote cultural equality and other characteristics of discrimination in ICT design and use. 

Recognizing tensions between values and limitations, public and private interests, the roundtable will advance a way forward by making some concrete recommendations that will further the work done by both these two Dynamic Coalitions and partners in putting internet rights and principles into practice for these specific communities of meeds/ . 


This workshop is one of two being organized by the IRP Coalition in partnership with other stakeholders. It aims to link the broader themes of the other workshop (“Charting the Charter”) to the everyday realities of these groups of users whose specific needs impact on internet design, access, and use. In 2010 the IRP Coalition launched the first version of the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet (IGF-Vilnius) followed by the current (“Beta”) Version and its Ten Principles in 2011 (IGF-Nairobi). This IRP Charter is one of the IGF's success stories in multistakeholderism. Over the years, IRP workshops have articulated and advanced dialogue about diverse internet related human rights issues that are reflected within internet policy and within United Nations Human Rights mechanisms. At IGF-Bali the IRP Coalition’s two interrelated workshops and Meeting Proposal (“Towards Charter 2.0”) aim to enhance cooperation with companion projects at the IGF and in other forums (e.g. the Internet Principles Working Group, the Council of Europe Compendium project) that can move the rights and principles laid out in the IRP Charter into a\set of focused action plans. 

This workshop is an important step towards achieving these aims as well as developing a closer working relationship between Dynamic Coalitions to address issues we have in common, namely around how the IRP Charter sections on cultural diversity, education, protection of cultural heritage, disability and indigenous rights can be improved in light of ongoing work by the technical community, private sector, and governments to make the internet accessible and usable for all. This workshop is a new direction for the Coalition, providing new perspectives on the internet rights and principles of indigenous and disabled representatives from developed and less developed countries and from small Island states from the Pacific, as well as representatives of other stakeholder groups particularly from the Asia Pacific region. These perspectives will be used to update the Charter and will be used to operationalize a more effective means of implementation and assessment of internet rights for underserved and neglected populations. 

Has the proponent organised a workshop with a similar subject during past IGF meetings?


Background Paper

Download Background Paper

Session Type

Open Discussion



Mr. Robert Bodle, College of Mount St. Joseph/IRP Coalition, Civil Society, UNITED STATES, Western Europe and Others Group - WEOG

Mr. Stuart Hamilton, ILFA, Civil Society, UNITED KINGDOM, Western Europe and Others Group - WEOG

Have the Proponent or any of the co-organisers organised an IGF workshop before?


The link(s) to the workshop report(s)




Panellists and Moderator

Invited panellists, individuals and organisations

= panellist or organisation has been confirmed

Please click on Biography to view the biography of panelllist

Jac sm Kee, APC-WNSP, Female, Civil Society, MALAYSIA, Asia-Pacific GroupBiography

Catherine Easton, Law, Lancaster University, regulation and disability and technology, Female, Civil Society, UNITED KINGDOM, Western Europe and Others Group - WEOGBiography

Jim Tobias, Inclusive Technology, Male, Private Sector, UNITED STATES, Western Europe and Others Group - WEOGBiography

Arnoud van Wijk, IETF, Male, Technical Community, NETHERLANDS, Western Europe and Others Group - WEOGBiography

Stuart Hamilton, IFLA, Male, Civil Society, UNITED KINGDOM, Western Europe and Others Group - WEOGBiography

Konstantinos Komaitis, ISOC, Male, GREECE, Western Europe and Others Group - WEOGBiography


Robert Bodle & Marianne Franklin

Remote Moderator

Ms Deirdre Williams, DiploFoundation Community and Remote Participation Working Group


Agenda: This session is in the form of an interactive open session will address the issues of indigenous peoples and disadvantaged groups. The objectives and intended outcomes for this collaborative and hands-on workshop are two fold: (1) to kick-start the next round of debates and priority-setting in light of selected topics from these projects, and (2) to brainstorm together in order to draft a joint plan of action that can refine the drafting process and move these projects forward. For this reason the session will be in two parts. After a panel of speakers have outlined briefly what they consider to be the challenges to achieving a human-centred internet for the future, the second part of the session will be in the form of breakout groups that concentrate on thematic lines and come up with actions points. The last part of the workshop will be reporting back. The workshop will end with brief comments from the panel, and agreement on how to proceed.

Inclusiveness of the Session

Invited participants will be asked to make brief introductory statements indicating the context and circumstances for their own groups, focusing on specific cases and examples of how disability and/or marginalization affect access and use of the internet. They will suggest ways in which these situations might be improved through the application and investment of relevant stakeholders. After a round of audience input and responses the panelists will sum up by making 2-3 concrete recommendations that can be carried forward to relevant working groups in the IGF and beyond.

Suitability for Remote Participation

Preparations are in place to link the session into local sessions with local indigenous and disadvantaged groups particularly throughout the Asia-Pacific region in the lead up to Bali. A remote participation hub is planned that focuses on these issues as precisely because this constituency encounters greater hurdles in terms of travel and access to IGF meetings a dedicated remote participation hub is appropriate. Before the meeting engaged stakeholders in this domain will be approached to provide comments and questions for the panelists to provide focus and shape to the discussion beforehand. The outcome of the workshop will be circulated around these groups for additional comment and fed into the ongoing work of these two Dynamic Coalitions.

Questions or Comments

Other invitees were not able to confirm by 10 July so we expect there to be more participants than listed at this point.  A rapporteur will gather comments and provide a synopsis for distribution.

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