[IRP] Charter

Abbe Brown abbe.brown
Tue Sep 7 19:57:55 EEST 2010

Sorry I had to miss the call today.  As suggested by Lisa,  I'm 
forwarding my comments to the list.

1. I think it is best to keep the document as one (well, two with the
explanatory document).  It is not an easy document.  Trying to cut it
down will not be easy and ultimately unproductive.

2. What about "internet and digital communications" as a title. Within
the text, I think that so far as possible, the text should aim to be
technologically neutral.  Otherwise it will be out of date VERY soon.
And the issue I think is not how the communications
opportunities/obstacles are delivered, but the human rights which
could apply to them. So, add in new points which are clearly required
now for networks and mobiles, but I suggest that we should not put them 
in with reference to a particular label.

3. I think stick with "human rights" in the title.  It is the "rights"
bit which will be a problem with many, and the "human" bit is more of
a concern for our group, so best to go for everything!

4. This leads on to a point on which I have deliberately kept silent:
can companies have human rights.  I know there is a strong view of the
group that they cannot.  Personally, I would like to agree.  However,
ECHR jurisprudence and the ECHR makes it clear that they can - to
property (eg in Article 1 Protocol 1) and to expression (eg Markt Intern 
v Germany (1990) 12 E.H.R.R. 161 and Casado Coca v Spain (1994) 18 
E.H.R.R. 1).

5. This was not a real problem, I think, for our charter as there are 
also strong arguments that companies cannot have human rights. However, 
I do wonder whether, in the light of this,it is sensible to omit any 
specific reference to the ECHR, as one of the sources on which the 
charter builds.  So I suggest that the early statement refers  to 
"building on the the UDHR [perhaps also to the Millennium Goals?] 
amongst  others".  This would avoid arguments regarding companies and 
human rights, and also avoid arguments from other regional bodies that 
they should also be referred to.

6. I agree that states should take all responsible steps to achieve
universal access to the internet.  I do not think that this should be 
subject to national laws.

  Hope this is some help for your discussions - I appreciate that 
different views will exist! Enjoy Vilnius


Dr Abbe E. L. Brown
Lecturer in Information Technology Law
Associate, AHRC/SCRIPT
University of Edinburgh
Old College
South Bridge
Scotland, UK

Tel (44) (0) 131 650 2031

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