[IRP] Comments on IGF Programme Paper
Mon Apr 20 14:44:46 EEST 2009
I've drafted a response from the coalition to the latest IGF programme
paper. It's pasted below and on the wiki (I hope I've put this on right
- those in the know, please change if I've done it wrong!):
Sorry for the late notice with this, but I think it's important that we
do submit a comment as a coalition. So please do say in the next 24
hours if you are happy for this to go out, or if you would like to make
suggestions or changes (directly to the wiki please if possible!). Max,
if people are happy, please could you send it by the deadline TOMORROW,
and we can also paste it on the discussion forum.
Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition:
Comments on the 2009 IGF Programme Paper (23rd March 2009)
The Dynamic Coalition on Internet Rights and Principles would like to
thank the IGF Secretariat for the publication of the Programme Paper
dated 23rd March 2009, and for the opportunity to submit comments. We
respectfully request that the following points are taken on board in
future open consultations and MAG discussions.
1) Internet Rights and Principles as a cross-cutting theme
We are disappointed that "Internet Rights and Principles" has not been
accepted as a cross-cutting theme for the 2009 Forum, and are worried
about the wording of the explanation for this in the Programme Paper:
"While some favoured the inclusion of 'Internet rights and principles'
as a cross-cutting theme, the view was also held that there was no
established definition of this theme and that therefore it should not be
discussed at the Sharm El Sheikh meeting" (Page 3).
We hope that this wording will be changed, with a guarantee that space
will be given in plenary and workshop sessions to discuss this important
theme. This is necessary in order to further collaboration to address
the critical issues that the theme encompasses, ranging from freedom of
expression and privacy to ensuring equal access and participation for
all cultural and linguistic groups. Such discussion space is also
necessary in order to build understanding and consensus around the
meaning of the Internet Rights and Principles theme if, as the paper
suggests, an established definition is currently lacking.
2) The main session on Security/Openness
We are pleased that the issue of Openness remains on the main agenda,
but urge the Secretariat to re-name the session Human Rights, Security
and Openness. This would help to encourage discussion about the
opportunities that the internet presents for advancing a range of human
rights, including education, participation in government, culture and
expression. This would help to realise the articles contained in
section B10 of the WSIS Declaration relating to the ethical dimensions
of the information society.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an internationally accepted
framework of ethical standards, commitment to which was reaffirmed in
the WSIS Declaration. There is an urgent need to apply this framework
to the internet so that the fundamental rights of everyone can be
protected and advanced. Moreover, the Declaration provides a framework
for balancing competing demands between individuals and the public
interest. It should therefore form the basis of discussion in this main
session, particularly concerning the balancing of security, openness and
privacy in order to produce a "win-win situation" (Programme Paper, p.
3) Proposals for new discussion and working formats
We welcome the suggestion of new meeting formats, and think it is
important to provide space for both large group discussion and smaller,
focused working groups. This is important for developing practical
strategies for action on specific issues, whilst at the same time
maintaining dynamic and inclusive debate. However, we hope that the
roundtable discussions will not be closed, but rather remain open to
observation and participation.
We would like to offer to host a roundtable discussion on protecting and
expanding human rights in internet governance processes.
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