[IRPCoalition] Internet & Human Rights Concerns needed in the Fortaleza Declaration of 6th BRICS Summit

Deborah Brown deborah at apc.org
Thu Jul 17 20:36:34 EEST 2014

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[Apologies for cross posting]

Dear all,

I'm sharing for your information a statement calling for internet and
human rights concerns to be reflected in the Fortaleza Declaration of
Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza that took place earlier this week. The
statement was developed by APC with input from some of our partners
and members in BRICS countries. The full list of supporters is at the
end of the statement. I believe the statement is available in
Portuguese as well, courtesy of FGV/CTS.

All the best,


July 2014
Call for Internet and Human Rights Concerns to be reflected in the
Fortaleza Declaration of Sixth BRICS Summit, Fortaleza, 14-16 July 2014

Dear Excellencies,

WE, the undersigned civil society organizations believe that the
internet is a global resource and a critical enabler of human rights
and development which should be managed in the public interest. We
therefore call upon BRICS governments, individually and collectively,
to ensure that the Fortaleza Declaration addresses the following issues:

1) Promotion of universal access to the internet;
2) Promotion and protection of human rights online;
3) Mobilising the internet for social, human and economic development;
4) Inclusion of civil society and other affected stakeholders in
internet policy processes.

1. Promotion of affordable access to the internet

WE urge BRICS countries to commit to putting in place policies that
guarantee affordable and high quality internet access.

The NETmundial, held in Sao Paulo in April 2014, agreed that internet
governance should promote universal, equal opportunity, affordable and
high quality internet access so it can be an effective tool for
enabling human development and social inclusion. There should be no
unreasonable or discriminatory barriers to entry for new users. This
echoes the declaration of UN member states made in Geneva in 2003
during the first phase of the World Summit on the Information Society
(WSIS) affirming a ?commitment to build a people-centred, inclusive
and development-oriented Information Society ? enabling individuals,
communities and peoples to achieve their full potential ? premised on
the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and
respecting fully and upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.?

The recent WSIS+10 High Level Event identified priority areas to be
addressed post-2015. These included: ?expanding access to and use of
ICTs to all, including broadband and mobile services, particularly to
vulnerable and marginalised people? and ?ensuring universal access to
information and knowledge and the capacity to use ICTs for all people,
including by offering services and ICTs that are inclusive of,
accessible and affordable for persons with disabilities?.

In this regard, we ask that BRICS address not only the importance of
ensuring sufficient and affordable internet infrastructure; they
should also consider the importance of public access to the Internet
(for example, access in libraries and community centres) as a powerful
tool for providing access to the internet, particularly for
disadvantaged users and communities.

BRICS governments can advance this goal through: a) the BRICS
development bank, which can target support for internet and other
information and communications development, and b) through the
post-2015 sustainable development goals.

*The Fortaleza declaration should reaffirm commitments from BRICS
countries to put into place policies that guarantee and promote
affordable access at the global level.

2. Promotion and protection of human rights online

WE urge BRICS countries to reaffirm their commitments to the
protection of human rights online.

We support the call from CIVICUS and other civil society organisations
for BRICS to include a ?collective commitment to promote and protect
human rights worldwide? in the Fortaleza declaration. With particular
reference to human rights and the internet, we urge BRICS to note the
following important international agreements which all BRICS countries
participated in:

2.1 The recent resolution (A/HRC/RES/26/) passed by the Human Rights
Council on 26 June on the promotion, protection, and enjoyment of
human rights on the internet. The resolution reinforced the
fundamental principle that the same rights people have offline must
also be protected online, in particular rights to education, privacy,
freedom of expression, and peaceful assembly and association.

The resolution called upon all States to address security concerns on
the internet in line with states? international human rights
obligations, including through national democratic, transparent
institutions, based on the rule of law. It also called on all States
to consider formulating national internet-related public policies with
the objective of universal access and enjoyment of human rights at
their core, through transparent and inclusive processes with all

2.2 The outcome document of the WSIS+10 High Level Event, endorsed on
11 June, which identified as a priority ?[t]he need to protect and
reinforce all human rights, and to recognize their importance to
realize economic and social development, ensuring equal respect for
and enforcement of all human rights online and offline?.

2.3 The NETMundial, hosted by Brazil with India and South Africa as
co-organizers, governments and other stakeholders recognized that
human rights ?should underpin Internet governance? and that the rights
?that people have offline must also be protected online, in accordance
with international human rights legal obligations??

At NETMundial, States committed to take the findings and outcomes into
other processes and forums, such as the post-2015 development agenda
process, WSIS+10, Internet Governance Forums, and all internet
governance discussions held in different organizations and bodies at
all levels.

2.4 The UN General Assembly resolution on the right to privacy in the
digital age (A/RES/68/167), which condemns unlawful or arbitrary
surveillance, interception of communications, and collection of
personal data as highly intrusive acts that violate the rights to
privacy and freedom of expression, and may undercut democracy.

*The Fortaleza Declaration should reaffirm the commitment of BRICS
countries to promote and protect human rights online and to the
implement their obligations from international agreements.

3) Mobilising the internet for social, human and economic development

WE urge BRICS countries to commit resources to mobilising the internet
for sustainable social, human and economic development.

The use of the internet and ICTs are widely recognised as accelerating
social and economic growth, sustainable development. While there has
been considerable progress in the adoption of new technologies in both
the developing and developed world, the potential of the internet for
social, human and economic development, in particular for youth,
women, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples, has still not
been realised.

Intellectual property rights (IPRs), appropriately tailored to meet
the needs of a country?s citizens, can be a catalyst for the full
realisation of the potential benefits of ICTs. But conversely and too
often, when IPR regimes are developed using a ?one size fits all?
model, they instead inhibit those potential benefits. BRICS leaders
should cooperate to promote a balanced international intellectual
property regime that strikes a fair balance between rewarding
creativity, providing knowledge resources, and meeting the cultural,
civic and educational rights of consumers and their needs for economic
and social development such as access to knowledge, health care and

The recent WSIS+10 HLE identified ?maximising opportunities to
leverage the ICTs, and transformative technology more generally, as
enablers for social and economic development by creating appropriate
national strategies and policies for the advancement of WSIS /ICT for
development goals? as a priority issue to address post-2015.

*BRICS countries should reaffirm their commitment to mobilise the
internet for sustainable social, human and economic development in the
Fortaleza Declaration.

4. Inclusion of civil society in internet policy processes

WE strongly emphasize the role civil society in internet policy at the
national, regional, and global level.

4.1 As NETMundial recognized: Internet governance should be built on
democratic, multistakeholder processes, ensuring the meaningful and
accountable participation of all parties, including governments, the
private sector, civil society, the technical community, the academic
community, and users.

4.2 The HRC resolution (A/HRC/RES/26/L.24) noted above stresses that
States commit to transparent and inclusive national internet-related
public policies processes, involving all stakeholders.

4.3 Involving civil society is particularly important as they have
expertise in developing Internet-related policy in the public interest.

4.4 We welcome the adoption of the Marco Civil in Brazil and urge all
BRICS states to develop national internet frameworks that, as was the
case with the Marco Civil, make use of an inclusive and transparent
policy development process.

*The Fortaleza Declaration should affirm the inclusion of civil
society in democratic, inclusive, transparent, and multistakeholder
processes on internet-related public policy at a national, regional
and global level.

This statement is endorsed by following civil society organizations:

Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade ? Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV-CTS),
Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), India
Internet Democracy Project, India
Media Monitoring Africa, South Africa
Núcleo de Pesquisas, Estudos e Formação (NUPEF), Brazil

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