26 February 2019
Our Research Fellow Dr Jonathan Andrew represented the Geneva Academy at a two-day workshop on digital space and the protection of freedom of association and peaceful assembly in Africa organized by the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), Civil Society Reference Group (CSRG) and the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) .
This workshop provided an opportunity for civil society organizations, trade unions, NGOs and human rights defenders from more than 20 countries in Africa to share their expertise and experiences of freedom of peaceful assembly and association (FoAA) online with the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clément Voule.
Dr Andrew facilitated the discussions in the different sessions of the workshop and documented information pertinent to the UN Special Rapporteur’s upcoming report to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on the right to FoAA in the digital era.
Participants notably examined key definitional issues relating to assemblies and association online and discussed new features and practices brought about by mobilization in the digital sphere. The discussion also focused on the impacts of new online platforms on civil society, human rights defenders, media and other groups and movements in Africa.
They also discussed their experiences of specific threats and challenges faced when exercising these rights in the digital age, including the emergence of restrictive laws, state surveillance, criminal defamation suits, and the role played by the private sector in promoting the right to FoAA in the digital era.
Participants provided examples of good and bad practices across the continent and discussed how the private sector can effectively respond to the challenges facing civil society to meet and associate online.
Participants presented recommendations to relevant stakeholders including African states, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Rapporteur, the private sector/industry, and civil society.
These inputs will inform the preparation of the UN Special Rapporteur's upcoming thematic report to the HRC on the right to FoAA in the digital era.
‘The workshop proved particularly insightful with regard to documenting testimony relating to specific regional concerns of citizens’ access to Internet resources, and the subsequence hindrance of their ability to mobilize and assemble peacefully to raise concerns within communities in Africa’ underlines Dr Andrew.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
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Luisa Gómez Betancur
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ILO/ Thierry Falise
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This side event during the 41st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, co-organized with Earthjustice, will address the issue of plastic pollution.
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Nicolas Axelrod / Ruom
Cette formation en ligne permet d’acquérir une connaissance approfondie des droits économiques, sociaux et culturels (DESC), des obligations des états et des mécanismes chargés de les protéger et de surveiller leur mise en œuvre.
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Sandra Pointet / Geneva Academy
The digital age offers unique opportunities to strengthen human rights implementation and monitoring and has transformed the means through which human rights are exercised. Equally, the digital age poses unique challenges in ensuring that states and businesses respect and protect our rights in the digital forum. The full extent of the human rights implications of the digital age remain unknown.