IRIS Actions / SMSI / Droits de l'homme - Human Rights

Comments on the Non-Paper produced by WSIS process President after PrepCom3
Non-Paper available here

Human Rights in the Information Society (HRIS) Caucus and Privacy and Security Working Groups
WSIS PrepCom3 - October 28, 2003

Paragraph 1:
We request a reference to the principle of 'non-discrimination' in Sections A. We suggest it be included in paragraphs 1 or 2.

It is crucial that the principle of non-discrimination be affirmed to stress that all (women, young people, people with disabilities, elderly people, minorities etc.) should have equal rights in the information society.

Paragraph 3:
We support the reference to the Right to Development.

Paragraph 4:
We strongly support the reference to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We suggest that article 19 be quoted in full length: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".

Paragraph 5:
We request removal of the second sentence ("and our shared values as well as religious, family, cultural, social, and linguistic interests and ethical principles protected.").

The concept of shared values, interest and ethical principles is too broad and vague, and opens for possible misuse for instance in terms of censorship.

Paragraph 20:
Insert 'community centres, libraries' after 'schools'.

specific attention and support should be given to community-based initiatives.

Paragraph 21:
We strongly support the affirmation that: 'the ability for all to access and contribute information, ideas and knowledge is essential in an inclusive information society.'

Paragraph 32:
We request removal of the term 'information security' and to use only "network security".

Information security implies regulation of content and can be used to legitimize censorship and surveillance measures.

Paragraph 33:
We strongly suggest deletion of paragraph 33. However, if the paragraph is kept, we demand that the phrase 'consistent with the need to preserve the free flow of information' stays in the sentence. The competing proposal 'in accordance with the legal system of each country' is unacceptable. We also request deletion of the bracketed language '[in both civil and military fields]'.

The privacy and security discussions have - since the Paris Intersessional - shifted from a focus on the need for infrastructure integrity to a highly politicized agenda, characterized by language referring to the integrity of the military field and the use of information resources for criminal and terrorist purposes. Definitions of criminal and terrorist purposes in existing and emerging policies and legislation are ambiguous and prevent the use of information resources for legitimate purposes. They threaten rights such as the right to privacy, freedom of association, freedom of movement and freedom of expression.

Paragraph 36:
We request that it be stressed that the rule of law should comply with human right standards.

Paragraph 38:
We strongly recommend the deletion of this paragraph because it is confusing. It would be necessary to distinguish between the various forms of intellectual property, such as copyright, patents, trademarks, etc.

Paragraph 46:
We recommend the deletion of this paragraph.

National policy issues have to comply with international human right standards and other international agreements.

Paragraph 47:
We consider it unacceptable that none of the options mentions the involvement of Civil Society. Of the five available options, we would prefer a).

Paragraph 52:
We request that the following bracketed texts be deleted:
[in accordance with the legal system of each country and]
[particularly on Articles 19 and 29]
[Individuals and media should have access to available information]

First sentence opens for national legislation that is not in compliance with human right standards. Second sentence should only refer to article 19, which regulates press freedom, or not point to specific articles at all. Third sentence is without meaning, since it only addresses access to "available" information.

We propose to include the following text after the words 'Traditional media': including public service broadcasting and community media' instead of 'in all its forms'.

Paragraph 54:
We suggest deletion of this paragraph.

It is to broad and imprecise when speaking of ethics and the family. It could be misused to legitimize censorship on content.

Contacts in Geneva for Human Rights Caucus
Diana Bronson, Rikke Frank Jorgensen, Meryem Marzouki
Web site and mailing list of the HRIS caucus:

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