[IRP] our proposals for events @ IGF09

Lisa Horner lisa
Tue Apr 21 15:10:17 EEST 2009

Thanks again for all of the comments.  I'm going to submit the proposal
now, taking values out (see below).  Looking forward to continued
discussion and work on this.

All the best,

Human rights and principles in internet governance: Practical steps

This workshop will examine practical strategies for incorporating human
rights standards into internet governance processes and policies.
Building on the commitment and momentum generated amongst different
stakeholders at the IGF 2008 workshop, Mainstreaming Human Rights in
Internet Governance, this workshop will help individuals and internet
governance organisations to take practical steps to protect and expand
universal human rights within their work and activities.  

The workshop will provide an update on the progress made by different
initiatives throughout the year, and explore challenges and
opportunities for their continuation and expansion.  Discussion will be
rooted in specific contexts and case study material in order to develop
practical strategies and solutions rather than only theoretical debate.
The workshop will be highly interactive, inviting audience members to
feed in their experiences and ideas.  It will provide a space for
furthering understanding about human rights and internet governance, and
for fostering collaboration between stakeholders from the business,
civil society and government sectors to address critical issues.

-----Original Message-----
From: irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org
[mailto:irp-bounces at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org] On Behalf Of
Anja Kovacs
Sent: 21 April 2009 07:06
To: irp
Subject: Re: [IRP] our proposals for events @ IGF09

Thank you for drafting this workshop proposal, Lisa.  Like several other

people on the list, I fully agree with the body of the text, but feel 
uncomfortable with the use of the word 'values' in the title.  I agree 
with you that it is important to think through the relation between 
values and human rights, and the importance of values for the 
realisation of human rights.  But I doubt that the next IGF is the right

place and time to do so.  I am often quite taken aback by the kind of 
fights we have to put up in the IGF to defend human rights perspectives 
- although it is true that these are somewhat under attack everywhere, I

feel their acceptance in the IGF is particularly fragile.  If we, at 
this point, bring a discussion of values into the debate as well, I 
think we are only going to make those battles even more difficult. 

While we may have an understanding of alternative ways in which ideas 
about values can be linked to human rights, there are precedents with 
regard to the ways in which many governments have chosen to understand 
them - and these precedents are often chilling.   I am sure we are all 
aware of such incidents - the consequences for women, for example, have 
often been horrendous, and, for dubious as much as welcome political 
reasons, are often publicised widely.  The point to note here is that 
the IGF is not a neutral space, and as things stand, I doubt it is an 
appropriate space to start trashing out this important debate at this 
point in time.

I hope we will continue this important discussion though - like I said, 
I do agree it is a very significant point that you raised.


Graciela Selaimen wrote:
> Hi, Lisa
>> When I talk about values in this context, it's always rights-based 
>> values. If you can't root the "value" in the human rights framework, 
>> then I'm not interested!
> So this must be made clear in the text. Of course I understand your 
> vision on what values are, and even support it, but the words we use 
> in a proposal like this goes far beyond ourselves and our commitment 
> in understanding and being open to each other.
>> For me, human rights are all about values - values that we have about

>> what it means to be human. I think part of the reason why cultural 
>> and religious values are often invoked in ways that ultimately 
>> violate human rights is that we haven't done enough over the past 60 
>> years to demonstrate how human rights are relevant to all 
>> communities, cultures, religions etc across the world. We've shied 
>> away from debates about values, which has contributed to the rights 
>> framework being dismissed as a western construct, and very little 
>> effort has been made to link religious and cultural debate/discourse 
>> into the human rights framework. I think that we need to address some

>> of these issues head on, as shying away from them will only serve to 
>> perpetuate this disconnect.
> I agree there's a lot to be done in this respect - but since we are 
> aware of this gap, lets be cautious on how we'll overcome it. *A lot* 
> of discussion is needed so that we can coherently present a different 
> understanding of language, especially of a concept that has been 
> traditionally used for the last decades to justify exactly what we 
> fight against.
>> These are just some initial thoughts, and it'd be great to continue 
>> this discussion. I'm hoping that Max's research will help to clarify 
>> some of my own thinking about this, and about where "principles" fit 
>> in too. Hopefully this can be a practical discussion, rather than 
>> just semantics. Language can be very powerful, and it is important to

>> find the right words necessary to convey what we mean and reach the 
>> intended goals.
> Totally agree. And I look forward discussing this further, with no 
> deadline constraints - so that all of us can spend more time 
> reflecting before reframing our speech.
>> Regarding the title of the workshop, I actually came up with a few 
>> options before settling on the rights, values and principles heading.

>> I could take "values" out, or does anyone have any preference for the

>> ideas below?!
> I really like this one:
>> Mainstreaming human rights in internet governance: >From discussion 
>> to practice.
> all the best,
> Graciela
> _______________________________________________
> IRP mailing list
> IRP at lists.internetrightsandprinciples.org

Dr. Anja Kovacs
Senior Research Associate

IT for Change
Bridging Development Realities and Technological Possibilities
Tel: (00-91-80) 2665 4134, 2653 6890


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