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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

‘Internet rights are human rights’ Nigeria yet to endorse protocol


Despite the rapid growth witnessed in the nation’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry, Nigeria is yet to endorse the ‘Internet Rights are Human Rights’ protocol of the United Nations


Protocol is commonly described as a set of international courtesy rules, which have become well-established and time-honored rules, hence making it easier for nations and people to live and work together, according to Dr. P.M. Forni of the International Association of Protocol Consultants and Officers.

ITRealms Online investigations showed that with the 57 countries on the continent of Africa recording 118,848,060 Internet users as at June 30, 2011, a 11.5 per cent penetration rate from the 1,037,524,058 population estimate; Nigeria is rated highest with 44.1 million Internet user as at March 31, 2011, according to the Internet World Statistics.

These figures were followed by Egypt with 20.1 million and Morocco with 13.2m before South Africa with 6.8m and Tunisia 3.6m.

Noteworthy is that these figures were released prior to the recent Arab Spring demonstrations, which saw to the exit from power of Mr. Hosni Mubarak and death of Libyan strongman, late Col Mamman Gaddafi.

Presently some 50 countries globally have endorsed the protocol promoting the protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social, cultural rights and right to development, with only Tunisia endorsing the procedure so far from the African continent.

Other countries as outlined by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations at the end of its eighteenth session recently to include Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala and Hungary.

Also on the list of endorsed countries are Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Palestine, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova.

Additionally Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland made the list.

Summary of the recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, Mr. Frank La Rue, submitted to the Human Rights Council, showed that the protocol was on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 7 subsection 36.

Specifically, the resolution had requested the Special Rapporteur “to continue to provide his/her views, when appropriate, on the advantages and challenges of new information and communication technologies, including the Internet and mobile technologies, for the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to seek, receive and impart information and the relevance of a wide diversity of sources, as well as access to the information society for all.”

He noted that while the Internet has been in existence since the 1960s, its current use throughout the world across different age groups, and incorporation into virtually every aspect of modern human life, has been unprecedented.

The report quoted the International Telecommunication Union, the total number of Internet users worldwide is current in excess of 2 billion, citing for instance that active users of Facebook, an online social networking platform, grew from 150 million to 600 million between 2009 and 2011.

The Special Rapporteur believes that the Internet is one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency in the conduct of the powerful, access to information, and for facilitating active citizen participation in building democratic societies.

“Indeed, the recent wave of demonstrations in countries across the Middle East and North African region has shown the key role that the Internet can play in mobilizing the population to call for justice, equality, accountability and better respect for human rights,” part of the report stated.

The Rapporteur equally stated that as such, facilitating access to the Internet for all individuals, with as little restriction to online content as possible, should be a priority for all States.

Reacting to the development on endorsement the Project Coordinator, Internet Rights are Human Rights at the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), Ms. Joy Liddicoat, noted that for some time, APC has been working on global and national strategies for promotion and protection of online freedom of expression and freedom of association,

As part of this strategy, she said, APC has been working with members and networks to promote internet related human rights issues in the United Nations, including the Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.

This, she said, resulted from an APC suggestion in HRC 17 in May, which the Swedish government subsequently endorsed and proposed a resolution for which now is enjoying 50 countries support at HRC 18 last September.

She disclosed that APC is preparing for the forthcoming panel and will be submitting suggestions for experts and, if possible, sending human rights defenders to attend and advocate for follow up action and concrete proposals.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

2 comments:

Muse Origins said...

But we're getting there so i'm optimistic

Adiya
Muse Origins
Muse Origins FB

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