Human rights on the internet

Date: December 14, 2011
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In November 2011, 11 civil society organisations in South Africa including Gender Links joined forces to put together a UPR on human rights on the internet status update for South Africa. The submission focuses on: freedom of expression; the right to information; freedom from censorship; freedom of the press; the right to privacy; and the importance of affordable access to the internet. The submission is structured as follows:

  • Section B highlights concerns about universal, equitable and affordable internet access; internet penetration in South Africa; and online content diversity and language.
  • Section C highlights concerns about the right to privacy and the regulation of the interception of communications.
  • Section D highlights concerns about the freedom of expression and impending legislative restrictions.
  • Section E highlights concerns about access to information and protections for whistle-blowers.
  • Section F makes recommendations for follow up and implementation.

The UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a process where members of the Human Rights Council take a look at the human rights record of each UN member state (known as a “Member State” or “States”). The review process runs through a cycle which includes monitoring and assessing (through reports), recommendations for improvement and specific action, implementation in-country (including national and local actions), and then review of progress.

The purpose is to gradually improve human rights by creating a constructive process in which governments are held accountable for their human rights performance. The review provides an opportunity for governments to present their point of view, explain steps they have taken (or why they have not), outline planned improvements and agree on what they will do to fulfil their international human rights obligations. To read the submission, click here.



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