Submitted Proposals

Organization: Global Partners and Associates
Title :
65. Mainstreaming human rights in the work of the IGF
Provide a concise formulation for the proposed workshop theme including its importance and relevance to the IGF.

Signatories to the WSIS Geneva Declaration and Tunis Agenda reaffirmed their commitment to upholding human rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration in the information society. It is therefore necessary to ensure that human rights lie at the core of the shared norms and principles that govern the evolution of the internet and its use. One important way of achieving this would be to mainstream human rights in internet governance policy and activity, ensuring that governance processes never undermine the rights that are protected by international law and, where possible, advance and expand them.

The workshop will discuss practical strategies for ensuring that international rights standards are upheld within internet governance processes and policies from the bottom up, and for enhancing collaboration between people working on rights issues at the IGF. A major focus of the workshop will be whether the IGF dynamic coalitions can be an effective vehicle for this mainstreaming process. The workshop will also examine whether different stakeholders could find human rights useful as a positive framework for decision and policy making.

The workshop will begin by exploring how human rights standards are relevant to the work of each of the coalitions. For example, some coalitions, such as the Privacy coalition, are seeking to protect existing human rights. Others, such as the A2K and Accessibility coalitions, are seeking to enhance and expand the positive dimensions of existing rights. Others, such as the Stop Spam Alliance and Child Online Safety, are working on policy issues which affect rights and should therefore align their policy solutions with international human rights standards. The discussion will then move on to consider the challenges and opportunities for mainstreaming rights within the internet governance work of different stakeholders.

Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite. Describe the main actors in the field and whether you have you approached them about their willingness to participate in proposed workshop.

The aim of this workshop is to hold a productive and inclusive discussion amongst all workshop participants. Therefore, rather than having formal panelists in the traditional format, we are inviting a number of stakeholders to make short, concise contributions and comments as part of an interactive debate. Discussants include representatives from the dynamic coalitions, including the coalitions on:

  • Accessibility and Disability (Gabriela Barrios)
  • Access to Knowledge (Lea Shaver)
  • Framework of Principles for the Internet (Gurumurthy Kasinathan)
  • Internet Bill of Rights (Max Senges)
    Linguistic Diversity (Viola Krebs)
  • Privacy (Ralf Bendrath)
The discussion will also include contributions from a range of other experts in the wider internet governance community including Peter Hellmonds (Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Nokia-Siemens Group), Miriam Sapiro (Summit Strategies International), Shahzad Ahmad (Bytes For All) and the Council of Europe.

Provide the name of the organizer(s) of the workshop and their affiliation to various stakeholder groups. Describe how you will take steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle, including geographical diversity.

This workshop is being proposed by Global Partners and Associates, a UK-based company that works with partners around the world to build effective democratic institutions and promote human rights. Global Partners and Associates has been working in the internet governance field for a number of years, with a focus on fostering communications policy and practice rooted in human rights and public interest principles.

The workshop is seeking to advance and strengthen the multi-stakeholder principle within the IGF through engaging and supporting the work of the dynamic coalitions, the main vehicles for multi-stakeholder collaboration within the IGF. The workshop itself will involve discussants and participants from each of the main stakeholder groups, and will strive to ensure an equal balance between representatives of each group. An important aim of the workshop is to explore and incorporate perspectives held by people from countries around the world, including both the global north and south.

Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion?
Yes. Each of the dynamic coalitions, and the different stakeholders within them, will be bringing different views concerning the importance and position of human rights within internet governance processes to the workshop. The aim is to identify where the similarities and differences in these views are, and what are the opportunities for building consensus and collaboration.
Please explain how the workshop will address issues relating to Internet governance and describe how the workshop conforms with the Tunis Agenda in terms of substance and the mandate of the IGF.
This workshop fully conforms with the mandate of the IGF as laid out in the Tunis Agenda. Through encouraging dialogue between dynamic coalitions working on different issues, the workshop will facilitate discourse and information exchange between bodies dealing with the cross-cutting issue of human rights (Articles 72b & d); identify emerging issues and tensions relating to internet governance and human rights (72g) and explore how the international human rights framework can help find solutions and address tensions arising from the use and misuse of the internet (72k).

Article 72i of the Tunis Agenda states that part of the mandate of the IGF is to "Promote and assess, on an ongoing basis, the embodiment of WSIS principles in Internet governance processes". This workshop will help to promote and assess adherence to Article 1 of the Geneva Principles, namely the commitment to develop a people-centred, inclusive and development-oriented information society, respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Commitment to upholding rights is discernible throughout the Tunis Agenda. The Agenda recognises the tensions that currently exist between human rights and salient internet governance issues such as fighting cybercrime, countering spam and maintaining the stability of the internet (Article 42 and 44). However, the Agenda reaffirms that rights must always be upheld. This workshop will help the IGF address these tensions, providing the dynamic coalitions with support to ensure that internet governance mechanisms address important and pressing issues but do so in a way that protects human rights.

Finally, the workshop will highlight how international human rights are already established in international law as norms and principles for government, private sector and citizen activity. As such, they should form a basis for the norms and principles to guide the use and evolution of the internet that the IGF is working to develop and apply.
List similar events you and/or any other IGF workshops you have organized in the past.
The Internet Bill of Rights coalition held lively panel discussion events at IGF Athens and Rio.

Were you part of organizing a workshop last year? Which one? Did you submit a workshop report?
The IBR coalition submitted a report for its workshop in Rio immediately after the event was held.