Thursday, 1st December, 2022 (14:00 UTC) - Thursday, 1st December, 2022 (15:30 UTC)
About this Session
Main Session Connecting All People & Safeguarding Human Rights

The session builds on discussions of previous IGF meetings and aims to discuss two interlinked topics: Firstly, the establishment of a basic human right to free and universal internet, and secondly, the need to equally respect human rights both on- and offline. There is a strong interconnection between connectivity and human rights. Meaningful, sustainable and free access to the Internet is a priority, especially for people in developing countries and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of a wide array of human rights such as e.g. the right to education, health and work. Improving connectivity is vital for bridging the digital divide, improving access to information and knowledge, and fostering human rights. At the same time, with increasing connectivity and the spread of digital technologies, new threats to human rights emerge both on- and offline, including data privacy breaches, disinformation, hate speech and mass surveillance. Stakeholder groups representatives will share their views on these pertaining issues, e.g. what are the main barriers to meaningful access to a free and universal internet, how to deal with certain state and business practices that employ digital technologies that potentially violate human rights, what are best practices to promote and safeguard human rights both on- and offline, etc. The discussion is directed towards contributing to the Global Digital Compact in terms of articulating its goals and possibly specific proposals. To this purpose, we need to address the fundamental question of how we can make sure that the Internet to which we are connecting more and more people, is really an internet that we do want to be connected to, based on the values of freedom and human dignity that form the very basis of human rights and peace.


  • Irene Khan - UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion, Bangladesh 
  • Peter Kirchschlaeger - Ethics Professor and Director of the Institute of Social Ethics ISE, University of Lucerne, Switzerland 
  • Lisa Schirch - Professor of the Practice of Peace Studies, Kroc Institute, expert on technology, peace and human security, USA
  • Dawit Bekele - Regional Vice President for Africa at the Internet Society, Ethiopia
  • Hon Neema Lungira - Member of Parliament, Tanzania 
  • Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo -  Dean of UPeace University, member of the Commission for Peace, and Human Rights Expert, Costa Rica
  • Elizaveta Belyakova - Director of the Alliance for the Protection of Children in the Digital Environment, Russian Federation

Onsite Moderator: Paula Martins, APC, Brazil

Online Moderator: Risper Akinyi, TunapandaNET, Kenya 

Session Agenda

  • Welcome, introduction of session topic and speakers by moderator (5 -10 min)
  • Panel Discussion: Inputs from speakers based on issue description and policy questions (5 mins / speaker, total 25 min)
  • Follow up questions and comments among speakers (2 min per speaker, 10 mins)
  • Open discussion with the audience (30 mins)
  • Final remarks from the speakers (2 min per speaker / total 10 mins)
  • Summary and closing remarks by moderator (5-10 mins)

Policy Questions:

  1. Is there an emerging human right to a free and universal internet?
  2. What kind of internet would we like to be connected to?
  3. What policies and strategies should be put in place to address the digital divide and create an internet that promotes and respects human rights, especially for unserved and underserved communities as well as marginalized groups? 
  4. How can connectivity, meaningful access and free information sharing promote human rights and peace?
  5. Can we identify any best practices to deal with harmful state, business and individual practices (e.g. internet shut-downs, data privacy breaches, censorship, manipulation, surveillance, etc.) that present a risk to human rights?
  6. How is the respect for human rights online linked with human rights violations offline (e.g. hate speech, disinformation, political repression, or discrimination of certain ethnic of religious groups)?
  7. What shared principles and norms should be adopted in view of the Global Digital Compact in order to promote connectivity and access to a free and universal internet that is firmly anchored in human rights?
Connecting All People and Safeguarding Human Rights