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.
UN Photo/ Jean Marc Ferré
In the perspective of a conference co-organized with the Global Studies Institute (University of Geneva), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Canton of Geneva, we invite proposals that focus on the role of human rights mechanisms in implementing international humanitarian law.
We co-organized on 29 November 2018 with the BCHR-network a consultation for the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Business and Human Rights to inform their new project on business in conflict and post-conflict settings.
This photo exhibition by Giles Duley tells the stories of persons with disabilities during and following armed conflict
The first Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform will focus on the connectivity of human rights mechanisms.
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.
This training course provides participants with a deep understanding of the international legal framework for the protection of human rights and the environment as well as in-depth knowledge of how to promote environmental protection through existing human rights mechanisms. The 2019 edition will dedicate special attention to plastic pollution.
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.
This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.