From May 30 to June 17, 2011, the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council took place in Geneva, Switzerland. Invited by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Marina Maria, SPW’s communication and project assistant, participated in the panel Internet rights are human rights, organized by APC on June 3, to present some outcomes from the research EroTICs: Sex, rights and the internet – An exploratory research study, which was developed in Brazil, India, Lebanon, South Africa, and United States (read the research report).
The panel, moderated by Anriette Esterhuysen, APC’s Executive Director, also included: Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur for the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Expression and Opinion; Desiree Zeljka Miloshevic; Senior Public Policy and International Affairs Adviser at Afilias; Manal Hassan, Arab Techies Coordinator, Activist and Blogger from Egypt; and Shahzad Ahmad, from Bytes 4 All, in Pakistan.
This was the first time in a session of the Human Rights Council that the report presented by the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion emphasized aspects related to human rights violations on the Internet, denouncing cases of blocking content, illegal surveillance, restriction of access, invasion of privacy and the threat to freedom of expression.
Considering the report, APC took this opportunity to call the States and relevant non-state actors to take immediate steps to ensure the safety and freedom of their citizens online. This includes the repeal of laws restricting free speech, ending practices of unlawful surveillance, establishment of clear and transparent legal procedures for the blocking of illegal content and the passing of laws that protect the security and privacy of citizens’ personal information.
During her participation, Marina Maria highlighted some findings from EroTICs, mainly focusing on the Brazilian EroTICs research, conducted by SPW and the Latin American Center on Sexuality and Human rights. She stressed that the use of the Internet to talk about sexuality matters and to access information on sexual reproductive rights must also be provided to internet users, and the human right to access information cannot be violated. Marina also participated in a few more days of activities of the Human Rights Council, following the debates regarding gender and sexuality, like the negotiation for the UN Resolution on Human Rights Violations based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, proposed by the South African mission, and the resolution Accelerating efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women: ensuring due diligence in protection, proposed by the Canadian mission. On June 10, when the Human Rights Council celebrated the annual day of debates on women’s rights, Marina read the APC statement on women’s rights and the Internet during the main plenary.
>> The video of the APC panel Internet rights are Human Rights
>> Article produced for the Marina Maria’s presentation during the APC panel (in English and in Portuguese)
>> Brief notes on the intense day of work for human rights, by Marina Maria
(only in Portuguese)
>> Checkin from the Human Rights Council, a new and complex universe!, by Marina Maria
>> APC Statement on women’s rights and the Internet
>> Video – Marina Maria reading the APC statement