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IGF 2016 - Day 2 - Room 8 - Workshop Freedom House

 

The following are the outputs of the real-time captioning taken during the Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Jalisco, Mexico, from 5 to 9 December 2016. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the event, but should not be treated as an authoritative record. 

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>> DOMINIC BELLONE: This year, however, we focused on marginalized communities and often victimized community, women, LGBT, religious minorities and the disabled. And the unique threats they face online. And how sometimes their online experience and threats can translate into real-world threats. We created a project called hyperlinkers where we commissioned research in eight select countries and advocacy projects around these issues. So in your honor today, we have assembled five of those here to share their work with you. We feel that they are some of the smartest, brightest and compassionate activists we've assembled. Some are veterans in this space. Some of them just entering for the first time. What I'm going to do is I'm going to introduce them and then we'll have a bit of a discussion on their findings and such.

I'll start with the gentleman to my left here, Moses Karanja is from Nairobi, Kenya. He is a research fellow at the Center for International Property Law based at Strathmore Law School in Nairobi. He is a soft spoken intellectual. He was at the forum on Internet Freedom in Africa and distinguished himself discussing his presentation and research findings.

Also to the left of me I have Khalid Abdel-Hadi. It's his first time at the IGF and pleased to have him here. He is the founder and creative director of My.Kali magazine, a social magazine based in Jordan focused on the LGBT community and combating misperceptions there. Because of its reach and impact and popularity, it has been blocked by the government there and several regional governments. I admire Khalid's courage for being out and proud, particularly in a culture such as his.

I also want to recognize Japleen Pasricha from India. She smashes patriarchy for a living but does it in such an intellectually sophisticated and charming way it doesn't seem so bad. She is the founder and editor of Feminism in India.com, a compelling and provocative online forum on LGBT community, feminism, sexual identity and so forth. She interviewed 500 people, women, for her research on violence against women in India.

Oliver Trejo worked for the Heartland Alliance where much of his research and advocating focuses on labor rights in marginalized community. This, too, is his first IGF and he researched how women in Mexico are threatened online and faced real life consequences. He is a great recommender of restaurants here in Guadalajara. We are pleased to have him on our team. Dhouha Ben Yousseff to my right. She is one of the smartest people in Tunisia on Internet rights. This is her second Freedom House delegation experience at IGF. Her current research focuses on religious minorities in Tunisia and the unique threats they face.

And then finally to my right here Sonya Kelly, who doesn't need much of an introduction. She has been coming to these panels for many years. The director of the Freedom of the Net Report, which you see in front of you. And she has been a pioneer at this forum in introducing human rights into IGF discussions and she will be speaking about some of her findings a little later in the panel. So we're very pleased that she is here as well.

Because Moses and Khalid's research focuses on threats faced by the LGBT community, we're going to group their discussion a bit here. So I'll start with Moses here to my left and ask him to talk a little bit about the LGBT community online in Kenya, and the unique threats they face and how is that different from the rest of the population.

>> MOSES KARANJA: Thank you, Dominic, and thank you everyone who showed up. I'm Moses as has been introduced. Straight to the point around LGBT community in Kenya, we start out from a point of criminalization. Homosexuality is criminalized. The penal code. At the same time it's unconstitutional because the Constitution Bill of Rights clearly grants rights to all citizens in the country, all humans basically and as such there have been legal cases to contest the unconstitutionality of that. That is just a snippet of how the situation is where the supreme law grants all equal rights but the community around which these principles are to be implemented are very -- there is massive friction to implement these kind of principles. And it is that kind of offline reality that then mirrors online experiences of the LGBT community, because the fear and the stigma that comes offline just is also online. Importantly before I go to the threats is that there are massive opportunities that the Internet press to the LGBT community and especially meeting, you know, friends and making acquaintances in the safe space without necessarily having to unmask who you really are for fear of physical violence. However, as this community has, you know, found space online, the threats that are dominant in the society have also found -- followed them online and issues of hacking and breach of personal accounts online so that you can then unmask criminals gangs that do that to unmask the LGBT community because they know there is monetary gain or material gain that can be made from Ransom. Those are the threats that happen to be massively driving people out from what has been considered for a few years as a safe space for the LGBT community. And as such the engagements around the use of the Internet to promote or to challenge the power structures that are embedded in our society and in this case sexual orientation and gender identity, you can only talk of the Internet or the technology only as a platform, but how it's presenting its case in Kenya is a whole different scenario and as such I was privileged to work with Freedom House to understand much deeper how the Internet is being used and the threats embedded. We will have more conversation with Dominic.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: You run a website, Khalid, in Jordan based on what you are hearing from Moses, how the threats may be similar or different from what you are seeing in Jordan and what your publication is doing to address those.

>> KHALID ABDEL-HADI: So basically I think the LGBT community in conservative countries, very similar issues especially when it comes online. In Jordan, we face two different kinds of prejudice when it comes online towards the LGBT. One when it comes to the dating apps. There is often public outing. Through my report we found out that there was a big website that sort of outed over 100 person online and sort of similar to that.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Why is privacy or anonymity so important to the community online.

>> KHALID ABDEL-HADI: Many LGBT can't be online because they're outlined. Blackmailed and threatened. Jordan, crimes are a lot. When it comes to your orientation and sexuality you are often targeted for that. Our publication tries to promote more visibility and more accuracy when it comes to the LGBT community in Jordan. However, the media does not do a great job when it comes to promoting or not promoting, discussing the LGBT issues in Jordan or in the region.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you. I want to advance the conversation a bit to violence against women online and this is where we turn to Japleen and Oliver because some of the content of what they're researching overlaps with one another. Japleen, perhaps we could start your video. You need the two to three-minute warning or we can do it right now? This is just a small clip of the work that Japleen has been doing through her interviewing of 500 women and so we'll just play that for you quickly. It is just a minute. This is like an old silent film. We've had technical difficulties with the audio, so if can read that, that would educate you as to the content of this video.

(Video being shown)

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Japleen, thank you for creating that video. Thank you for the research that you've done for this project. A lot of people who are unfamiliar with this topic might think what is online violence and what is online harassment? Violence we often associate with physical violence. So could you explain for us a little bit the difference between like online harassment, what is online violence, and how it plays out both online and off line?

>> JAPLEEN PASRICHA: Thank you for the lovely introduction and thank you everyone for giving us your time. I interviewed 500 women for this resource report and this question has been asked multiple times why do you term it as violence and not harassment and abuse? As you also saw in the video, we in my report I did not just focus on trolling women receive on social media website but I also looked at online violence, that translates into offline violence. If somebody's private or identifiable information is put online. Somebody's home address. That is a serious offense that can translate into physical danger.

Another very common global problem that we're facing, which is popular known as a sexual abuse or non-consensual -- your images put online. Private images or videos put online without your consent. This again is a huge issue not just in one country but there have been many cases in the U.S. and India where there was a video of a woman who -- non-consensual private video of a woman who was put online and that shamed her to the extent that she committed suicide. So when these cases come up, it doesn't just restrict itself to harassment or abuse by trolling on social media website but a form of online violence. A lot of women reported that the abuse and harassment that they face via the screens is not just to the screens, it has effects on the physical and emotional well-being. It causes them depression, insomnia and leads to self-censorship where they either get off the Internet, off Facebook and Twitter or they sensor themselves by posting their opinions online. Thank you.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, Japleen. A quick housekeeping note. What I understand is for those who may be watching us online -- I hope there is many of you -- feel free to send in your questions and we will be indicated as to any remote participation. We will have question and answers after we run through our panelists. Mr. Oliver, you have been researching similar types of work but even more disturbing findings right here in Mexico. You've talked often about the term viral hate and you also interviewed a number of women who have been harassed and have had terrible consequences. Could you explain for us the term viral hate and also some of your findings from the women that you've been working with on this research?

>> OLIVER TREJO: Thanks, Dominic. First off, I want to say that the job -- the work that I has to do with violence. That's where the link lies with research. Viral hate comes from a journalist and Mexican writer in an article that he has. He coins viral hate as sex-related term. It has to do with all the aggressions, as my colleague Japleen mentioned -- more than trolling we're talking about strong instances of violence or situations of violence against women. My research in particular talks about women who have been sexually assaulted in Mexico using digital media to bring attention to the subject of the sexual assault or to ask for help. For example, identifying a perpetrator. While using popular platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, the society turns against them and the violence that they receive -- this viral hate is actually reached instances of rape threats, death threats, photographs of mutilated women and saying that's what's going to happen to these people. So basically this online violence, there is no prevention to it. There is no reaction from the institutions. And even though there is a strong legal framework here in Mexico for violence against women, for discrimination and so on, there is no actual enforcement and no access to justice. So these women cannot rely on institutions. These women cannot rely on society for protection. There is no prevention mechanisms. That's where the problem lies. What can be done in order to prevent that women who have been attacked on the street and attacked online don't have to move from one city to another to not be scared?

More than trolling, we get to the point where women start losing weight, start leaving cities. This is not something that any woman can do. This emblematic cases talk about a couple of people who had the possibility to move away from the city where they were threatened. But this happens on an everyday basis to a lot of women in Mexico. Statistics are really high. Not everyone has the possibility of moving away. And they shouldn't have to move away anyway.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, Oliver. Dhouha, are you ready for my questions? Dhouha again comes from Tunisia where she is one of the brightest minds in Internet freedom and governance issues and her research focused a lot on religious minorities there. So I would like to ask you, Dhouha, what do you see are the top threats to religious minorities in Tunisia with respect to freedom of expression? And what can be done about it? Or what is the legal or Constitutional framework in which those threats occur?

>> DHOUHA BEN YOUSSEFF: First of all, thanks, everyone, for being here. As Dominic said, our research with my colleague was about religious freedoms in Tunisia. We started by verifying if the legal framework we have in Tunisia is protecting. First of all human rights in general. Then we went to the religious freedoms, other like right to privacy, etc. We find that in the Constitution, all the human rights are guaranteed, but if you look to the legal framework, as you might know, we had a revolution. So we are in transitional process. We need to reform all those old laws and decrees, etc. Then we in our research, we saw that it is not only legal threats -- I mean to any kind of minority groups, but it is also cultural problem. Our society is conservative, very conservative, so when we talk about minorities, they represent 1% from 11 million. And those minorities have no spot from the community. Even online communities like bloggers or human rights defenders in general. They find only support from international organizations.

One case happened back in 2012 when two bloggers -- one was a blogger and the other one cartoonist, they got sentenced 7 1/2 years in jail for sharing a cartoon like the one from Charlie Abdo, what happened in France. We had a big online campaign and behind the scene lobbying with international organizations like human rights watch asking for pardon. But locally only online campaign worked and showed the spot for these minorities representatives.

So to answer your question regarding what reform we need, we need to implement first like four or five amendments to our data protection act, because it is old. It is from 2004, and the cyberspace isn't considered in this act. Second thing, which is very important, is education. We need to introduce the principle of tolerance regarding any minority, even in our school programs. So we need to start from scratch or from -- we need to do a grassroots work as advocate as civil society in general.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, Dhouha. We now turn to Freedom House's top expert and advocate on Internet freedom and governance, Ms. Sonya Kelly, who has been managing and publishing our freedom on the net report six years and running. A publication we're proud of and helps set the discourse and norms around Internet governance as it relates to online rights and freedoms. This year Sonya and her team, one of whom is here with us, Jessica white, and Jessica is the Latin American specialist for the publication and she has also been running backstage engineering for this delegation and without her we couldn't have been as successful as we were. So thank you very much, Jessica.

In this year's publication, we saw new restrictions on social media and messaging apps, shutdowns, as well as a growing diversity of topics that have been censored. I would like to ask Sonya if she could elaborate on how some of those restrictions have impacted marginalized communities.

>> SONYA KELLY: Thank you very much, Dominic. Freedom on the net is publication that looks at a whole broad range of restrictions on human rights and Internet freedom. We don't specifically focus on the issues related to marginalized communities, however, through our research and data collection, it is impossible not to see links between some of the key threats that affect everyone and the threats affecting communities that we're discussing today. For example, one of the key findings of this year's freedom on the net has to do with a dramatic increase in restrictions on messaging apps and social media tools. This is obviously something that affects us all. But looking at the examples from throughout the world, we have come across a number of cases where these restrictions are affecting marginalized groups in a very disproportionate way.

For example, many countries in the gulf region such as Saudi Arabia and UAE and so forth, they restrict messaging apps and voice over IP. This is in part because they want to protect the prophets of their national telecoms. What this means is many of the communities, for example, migrants from other parts of the world such as south Asia, and they comprise a substantial proportions of these countries, they are actually unable to communicate with their communities and loved ones home and this is a huge issue particularly given, you know, quite hard labor conditions in their countries. So, for example, we have interviewed migrant workers in the UAE actually saying it was extremely difficult for them to communicate about labor conditions and even submit complaints to their own embassies because some of these tools are unavailable due to blocking or other restrictions.

Similarly, another finding from this year's edition -- this is applicable to everyone -- has to do with dramatic increase in the number of people who are imprisoned for their speech on social media. And we are actually seeing this also having very disproportionate effect on religious minorities or women. For example, we have documented many cases in China where, for example, people were arrested simply for watching religious videos on their mobile phones. Similarly, in places like Saudi Arabia we have documented cases of women who posted pictures of themselves on Instagram and then they were arrested simply for not wearing a HIJAB.

Another finding that is a broad finding from freedom of the net as posed to Internet freedom at large. Topics being censored at line. A number one censored topic is criticism of the government. Something that we have also documented is more and more governments around the world are censoring information relevant to LGBT communities as well as religious and ethnic minorities. One example in Russia we have documented numerous LGBT websites that were blocked, as well as numerous instances of take-down notices to private companies of content that is purely content that is meant to -- that is meant to talk about LGBT rights. One of the platforms that is currently blocked in Russia is actually a platform for LGBT teenagers, just the completely innocent platform, but yet it is being blocked because the authorities have claimed that it is spreading LGBT propaganda.

Then finally we've seen the use of national security laws being used also to imprison minorities as well as people who write about minority rights. I know that many countries and for many governments the issue of minority rights is quite contentious but in places like turkey, for example, when you have the Kurdish minorities, writing simply about criticism of the government, they are being imprisoned under national security laws. And they are being sometimes sentenced under terrorism charges.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Thank you, Sonya, for that. At this time we would like to open up the floor to questions and comments so that we might benefit from the audience's wisdom and insight. And allow them to ask questions of any panelist here. And so we'll just kind of throw it open if anybody has something they would like to ask or share. We ask you keep your remarks brief so that as many people can participate as possible. Yes, Ma'am. Please.

>> LORETTA:  Hello, my name is -- there is no translation, right? My name is Loretta from Mexico and my question is to Japleen and Oliver. I was wondering if in your research you were able to assess the response of the judiciary and other reactions, or how women are being able to find or not solidarity networks in response to the attacks that they experience.

>> JAPLEEN PASRICHA: I will respond first for the India part. So in May 2016 our minister for women and child, she made out a statement stating that online abuse and trolling of women in India should be treated in the same way as violence in the real world. She acknowledged that online violence is a real problem. The very next day the home ministry of India announced they would be launching cybercrime prevention against women and children to allow women to post complaints about online harassment. So far so good. But what happened when our minister tweeted this out and she got so trolled on the tweet that said that they would launch -- for women to complain about online harassment there has been since May 2016 no update whatsoever about the  portal if it is coming out or not. I think that kind of answers the question. Also throws a huge light on the problem. If a minister can be silenced by an army of trolls and since then they haven't taken any action or any decision if they will be launching the portal or not.

>> OLIVER TREJO: What happened here in the cases in Mexico is lack of response from the authorities. Basically turned the attention to certain people within the same society trying to contain the attacks. That was perhaps the only way to stop the viral hate these women were being victims of. So basically they all -- in the cases of the people that I spoke with, they all presented their claims to the authorities and the only response from the authorities was to tweet whenever they actually showed up to present the claim saying such person is here to present the claim. The cases became so popular. There were in the media in different times but as very popular cases. Like I said they are emblematic cases. Whenever one of these women went to present and file a claim, then the government in Mexico city would say oh, this person is here and we'll help her. After the series of two or three tweets from the Mexico City government, then this person would be filing a claim for nine hours waiting for psychological examinations and in the end this sort of either dropped the claim or don't expect anything. They actually do the policing work is what they were saying. They come up with the evidence itself and present it to the authorities and the authorities disregard them. I don't know how large, but a segment of the population decided to attack them for vocalizing these sexual assaults. A segment of the population also resulted in taking action towards helping them. For example, by telling Twitter or Facebook to block a user. That's as far as it went.

Now, they had come up with their own efforts. Like this vile hate effort and we just started with the promotion of this audio -- the real hate -- viral hate is real. Hate in any case. Basically these people have come up with their own efforts as well. No means no. No is no. One of them. Don't be silenced at another group of victims. They are just random small efforts unfortunately. Even though these people are bloggers, journalists and somewhat became online personalities.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: You had a question you would like to raise? If you could just grab one of the microphones. Thank you.

>> Hi, my name is Sarus. I am from the Government of -- I am a truly activist in some way. I work with private information because I work in government. I have two very pointed questions. Sorry for the English. One of them there is some technological advantage or some technological advantage you are promoting to prevent these type of crimes? Using a Mac is not a good idea. Second question, there is beside the complaint to get better laws to punish this crime, there is confines about making conscious of people how important is their personal information to prevent in the first line of combat that the people shares information or have a quick password. A lot of basic security issues that I have 2,000 users that have the same password. Where are you working about that?

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Anybody want to address that?

>> On privacy and security as a way of promoting trust online to make that space as safe as possible is really about how secure are you when you are online? And if you will notice that there have been massive global movements towards much more consciousness around privacy, and one of the key things that probably we can all agree on is that it is easier to be safe if your data is as limited as possible online. As such, the design of most of these platforms that could be used, it is about if you don't really need this kind of data, you don't have to collect it and keep it. So that kind of design thinking towards even if we receive government -- even if we're hacked, we have nothing to give because we never collect it in the first place. Two, this ties in with the mainstreaming of LGBT and minority communities. These things that affect minority communities actually overwhelmingly affect almost everyone else. By just raising the threshold of safety online on all these platforms could be a simple thing like incorporating two step authentication in almost all platforms that you are engaging in. You raise the threshold for everyone using that platform and by so doing, you have covered the minority groups who, if you targeted personally. If you say I just want to target the LGBT community to improve their safety online, by so doing you are, if anything, marking them out. Like oh, these are the people who encrypt or these are the people who use PGP and these are the people I need to engage it. You have narrowed the sample for me. So it is really about how do we reach the threshold for everyone else and in so doing we are covering the minority groups.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Did you want to add a comment?

>> We have actually noticed that once governments realize that particular groups are more likely to use a certain tool then they are actually more likely to target that tool and we have seen that actually with telegram in China. For a number of years, telegram was not blocked in China. Although so many other social media and messaging tools were. And then once the authorities actually noticed that telegram was popular against -- among human rights lawyers and among religious minorities, actually that was the breaking moment when they said telegram is off limits and then they blocked it.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Be careful about being popular, I guess. The distinguished -- yes. They'll start blocking you. This

>> I'm Mark from the American Bar Association. Interested to hear from you, when these cases go to -- when legal action is taken, do you find that there are enough lawyers? An adequate amount of lawyers who are willing to take the cases? Do they experience -- do any of the lawyers experience intimidation for taking on the cases? Do you find there are enough lawyers who have the capacity to take the cases?

>> KHALID ABDEL-HADI: We were blocked recently in Jordan because we migrated our platform from being English and bilingual. That was a hazard toward the government in Jordan because the articles and features we publish are very sensitive culturally toward our traditional country. Therefore, sometimes fighting the government could only -- could appear like there is an organized group that is trying to fight the government. Therefore, we try sometimes not to retaliate in that way and try to find solutions around the laws that the countries have presented to us. The Jordanian laws specifically are very vast and vague. Therefore, you have to pick your battles in that sort of situation. When it comes to legal work, there is a lot of lawyers who work with human rights who are willing to work with people who are like minorities and stuff like that.

>> JAPLEEN PASRICHA: My research found that actually the situation doesn't even reach the lawyers because people here do not report to -- although we do have cyber laws. We have a special information technology app under that app it covers some cybercrimes against women. It covers violation of privacy, breach of privacy, cyber stalking, etc. So in that sense we do have laws, but I think that's a global issue, laws do not prevent crimes and as much as laws are sometimes just on paper and do not get implemented. In my report, I found people, women are not aware of the laws, B, even when they're aware they do not report to the cybercrimes. They actually don't report to social media corporations. There has been -- my research found there has been a mistrust with social media -- they all have report mechanisms. However, the fight for -- did report to law enforcement, those cases were then taken to the cyber cell and in India we have 20 cyber cells all over the country. So the issue with lawyers is actually not a big issue. I mean, the Constitution doesn't say that you cannot -- these crimes are not recognized and you cannot report them. So that as far as I know hasn't been an issue with the lawyers.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Dhouha, please.

>> DHOUHA BEN YOUSSEFF: Just to add to my colleagues answer. Not only human rights defenders or lawyers are attacked when they are defending. Minorities groups rights but especially academia. When they are making like research about religions, any religion, they got attacked, especially online, on their Facebook accounts, they got hacked. But also physically. One incident happened like six months ago or something like that. A well-known academia person was invited for a conference in Cairo. She was stopped and sent back to Tunisia in Egypt because she wrote two books about religion. In Egypt they thought it was against Islam. So they had her name written and she was blocked, literally at the airport.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: We now invite the participation of the gentleman at the far end who has indicated he has a question or comment, please.

>> AMOS TOH: Hi, thank you so much. I'm Amos Toh, and I think this has been a really amazing panel. This brings one question that we see a lot in our work which is that on one hand, you know, we see in the context of cyber violence against women, LGBT communities, there is an under enforcement and under reporting of well-established crimes like identity theft and hacking and so on. On the other hand we see governments advancing legislation and legislative proposals like cybercrimes and cybersecurity proposals under the auspices of protecting children and women and so on and so forth. Given that landscape, what is the appropriate role of state regulation, if at all, in an intervention in these situations and then what is the burden that private entities should bear in relation to that?

>> When it comes to legal frameworks, they have definitely been updated, I guess. The main role of institutions and public institutions should be to grant access to justice and to provide the exercise of people's rights. But I mean that's not the case unfortunately. And I will speak for the case of Mexico in which we have -- I repeat a strong legal framework. Even international conventions and agreements and we will sign and adhere to anything pretty much. You name it, labor-wise, gender-wise, child labor-wise, like I said, you name it. However, enforcement is not there. The actual protection from this legal framework is not there. So that's where one can raise the question as to where does social responsibility come into play? Just like for any other subjects that affect people's rights. I'm referring to social responsibility. Our part as a society as well. Education is a great, great, great aspect of it. Sensitizing and making people conscious and aware of how advancing in new technologies is affecting people's everyday lives.

Like I said, I don't think -- I mentioned this yesterday. We were having a sort of internal debate and the thing is there is no clearance to this. If I had the answer I would probably be working with ADK as well. But the point is, there has to be something that can be done without affecting either the freedom of expression or other rights of people. That's where the difficulty of this lies.

>> I just wanted to add when it comes to issues such as violence against women and particularly the examples that we've heard here from the panelists, for example, women being harassed to the extent that people are writing down their addresses and sharing them online, you know, threatening their children and threatening rape and so forth, I would say that many, if not most, governments already have legal standards that protect women from such violence and they exist in the off line space. So I'm not persuaded we need new legal framework for the online space just to address this. I think the legal frameworks that we have already address this problem. We just need to ensure that authorities realize that online space actually can have similar consequences for women and violence against women in the online space is also something that is important. So for me it becomes an issue of enforcement of what already exists.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Yes, sir, please, a question.

>> HANZ KLEIN: My name is Hanz Klein from the Georgia Institute and a professor of public policy. The potential and risk of human rights being co-opted by other policies. So in the U.S. as a consumer of media in the U.S. and someone who follows human rights I hear a lot about human rights, but I hear a lot about bad things happening in Iran, a lot of problems in China, a lot of problems in Russia. In the U.S. context I don't hear all that much about problems in Israel. For many years I didn't hear about problems in Columbia. That is changing as the U.S. relationship with the Columbian government is changing. For anyone active in human rights, and I've worked with human rights groups, mostly at the domestic level. But at the international arena, how do you handle the risk of -- that there is certain programs that get resources, that get media attention, some countries, certain programs in certain countries get less resources and less media attention, and it may or may not be obvious that perhaps some of those resource flows which lead to stronger or weaker programs reflect underlying geopolitical tensions or geopolitical strategies to influence you. How do you pursue human rights for all humans across all countries?

>> SONYA KELLY: I can address that at least from Freedom House's perspective and perhaps my colleagues will have something similar to say as well. Freedom House analyzes every country in the world based on their political rights and civil liberties. So not only do we analyze every country but then we also analyze disputed territories. And then based on the objective data we collect throughout the year and for Internet specifically we look at the number of websites being blocked. What is the topography of those websites and how many people being arrested for challenging the government online. We look at this data and we rank the countries based on this methodology. So then countries like Saudi Arabia, they are going to school poorly as will China on our rankings the Scandinavia countries score the best. We then internally as an organization see where the greatest needs are and so that would be one of the criteria. The second criteria is where can we actually make meaningful difference?

For example, we sometimes work in some of the most challenging areas and some of the most challenging countries in the world. But very often what we focus on are actually countries that we consider to be kind of in the middle. So where the government is somewhat repressive but there is still space for civil society to operate. So to kind of directly answer your question, for us then this really becomes an internal discussion where we determine where the priorities are, where we can make the difference and then we go out and then we seek funding for projects that are relevant to those countries. And I'm sure that some of my colleagues here and some of the other organizations represented can speak how that has influenced for them internally.

>> MOSES KARANJA: Quickly I can just jump in that -- I will just go straight to the LGBT in Kenya and Africa and how it has been for long been constructed as a Western input. And that has its own disadvantages, especially because when the authenticity of a personality or a claim to a human right is just blocked first and foremost but the political realignment and the global divide between west and east, it has its own implications. But at the same level you also need to have programs and outreach and they are, you know, limited sources of funding that may come from maybe the global solving institutions. As such if there can be an opportunity to reach out to whoever it is who is willing to support that kind of work in its authentic nature, that is something that even from a basic research perspective. The research questions that you are designing for your own work, who will approve some of those research questions and are they aligned to maybe the programmatic or ideological level of whoever is funding, that has always been an issue. But it's true, the nuances but the authenticity of the claim to the human rights of the LGBT community in Kenya and the region by inference, you know, is authentic in its own nature and as such I would imagine global policies, secondary issues that will have, you know, secondary implications. But the core issue is the authenticity. Is it real that these things are normal or are they just a Western input for a program funded by a U.S. or other organization.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: Japleen, brief. We're out of time here.

>> JAPLEEN PASRICHA: I found two points and I will try to answer it. On your point of what you see in the media and not see in the media, that is something that I also find a bit problematic and I will give the example of sexual violence against women and most specifically rapes. Rapes against women is actually a global problem but what we see in the media is rapes are happening in Saudi Arabia and India and other countries. I find the argument very flawed and also I think we need to understand that there is a media propaganda behind it where these -- if you talk about early rape case in U.S., it will get more eyeballs  automatically. Which issues get more funding and which not. One thing coming from a developing/emerging country/Third World country I know that a lot of issues have donor agendas behind it. There is a lot of work going on in India for child marriage and early marriage as they call it. But we don't have marital rape legalized -- criminalized. There is literally no work in India on this issue. Very few people work on it and very few donors interested in this kind of work. This then gets conflicted with the government's whole cultural family issues and family -- what is the definition of family and -- it's the duty of a husband and wife, etc.

>> DOMINIC BELLONE: With that we have to wrap up here. I want to thank everybody who joined us today and for your attention and participation. We're honored to have you and I want to thank our delegation here who I'm so fond of. Thank you all again for showing up.

(Applause)

(Session ended at 11:50 AM CT)

 

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