Posts Tagged information

A Human Right – Council of Europe urges UN to take on Internet Freedom

As a former student of modern information topics like the digital divide, privacy, and net neutrality, this news piece from the Guardian comes as no surprise.  It has been a long time coming.  If we are to look at the history of the Internet, it’s creation was founded on egalitarian principles of equal access and later, during its early years, as an outlet for free speech and even cyber-activism.

Is it inevitable that with the pervasive quality of the various social media outlets on the Internet today affecting the international political landscape that the United Nations would take notice?  The Council of Europe‘s commissioner for human rights, Thomas Hammarberg, believes that the UN should do more to urge political actors to engage actively in this debate that they consider global.  The debate surrounds the question of media censorship as outlined by the organisation, Article 19.  The Council wants the UN to take up the gauntlet on protecting media freedom and privacy issues online.

Despite the fact that such hopes to find solutions which can regulate the Internet at all, even on a national scale, have mostly remained an elusive Utopian dream, this is a positive step.  Such an international collaboration among IGO bodies to raise more awareness among the political realm could only lend legitimacy to what has mostly just been the fanciful ideals that freedom of expression and diversity should be allowed to exist on the Internet.

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Strategising Online Activism Toolkit

The Association for Progressive Communication Women’s Networking Support Programme (APC-WNSP) and Violence is Not Our Culture(VNC) have collaborated to design a toolkit to develop certain skills in online activism.   Strategising Online Activism: A Toolkit was inspired by the workshops held in Asia and Africa for the partners and members of the Violence is not our Culture (VNC) campaign.

While this toolkit has been designed primarily for the local partners and activists of the VNC campaign, this can be a resource, too, for human rights activists who are keen to develop their online activism and want to know where and how to to start.  Through this toolkit we hope that campaigners will acquire the following skills:

– An understanding of why and how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be appropriated by women’s rights and human rights groups in their advocacy skills through their use of online tools, including networking and mobile tools for advocacy and campaigning

– The ability to develop an advocacy / communication strategy

– Knowing what social neworking is and the various spaces and tools they could use in their online activism

– An understanding of online privacy and security issues relevant to building their online activism…

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Right to Know, Right to Live: Building a Campaign for the Right to Information and Accountability

As promised earlier this week, here is another publication suggested to AW by New Tactics in Human Rights that we are featuring-Right to Know, Right to Live: Building a campaign for the right to information and accountability.

This notebook shares how Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) has been deeply involved in a collective process which has shaped and influenced the Campaign for the Right to Information in India. MKSS makes the case that without access to information and transparency there can be no genuine participation of all members of society, particularly the poor, in democracy. The right to know and actual transparency of information provides the ability to demand and access rights…

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Making Sense of the Information Wilderness: Library and Information Services for the Improvement of Human Rights Work

This week I am featuring a few publication resources brought to the attention of AW by the organization New Tactics in Human Rights.  Below is some information on the first of these publications-Making Sense of Information Wilderness: Library & Information Services for the Improvement of Human Rights Work.

Sometimes institutional strengthening tactics applied inside an organization improve the way human rights practitioners do their work and what they can do. Organizations that use their resources effectively, can more effectively advance human rights work.  In this notebook, the experience of the Human Rights Centre at the University of Sarajevo is presented.  They built a strong information system and central role for an information specialist or librarian.  The utilization of this information system and information specialist’s skills allowed other staff to better, and more productively, focus on their core programmatic missions.  Although the Human Rights Centre is now a fairly large and relatively well-funded organization, the tactic explained in this notebook presents ideas in a way that nearly any group doing human rights work could apply this organizational strengthening tactic.

The notebook is currently available in English, Turkish, and Bangla…

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Advancing Children’s Rights – A Guide for African Civil Society

This past month, Plan and Save the Children Sweden have collaborated to produce a second edition of this guide on how civil society organisations can best engage with the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Children (ACRWC).  This guide has been developed in collaboration with African civil society organisations, academics and members of the Committee.  .

Africa is the only continent with a region-specific child rights instrument.  The ACRWC, adopted in 1990 by the Organisation of African Unity (disbanded 2002), is an important tool for African child rights activists as it complements the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Though much progress has been made to promote the ACRWC, still more needs to be done to make this important human rights treaty accessible for civil society and state institutions in Africa.

This guide aims to be a resource for civil society organisations who are interested in finding out more about the ACRWC and the Committee.  The publication highlights methods on data collection, documenting information, and the use of official parliamentary/legislative records.  It contains practical advice and information on how civil society can engage with the Committee to advance children’s rights in Africa.  This edition reflects important developments relating to the Committee’s work, civil society organisations’ engagement with the Committee and the functioning of the CSO Forum on the ACRWC (note the special mention of the CSO Forum database).

The publication of the French version of the Guide is scheduled for May 2011. An Arabic version is also foreseen.

All comments you may have to help improve this edition are most welcome. Please send any input to Åsa Rapp Baro, Regional Advisor, Save the Children Sweden West Africa (asarb@waf.savethechildren.se) and Stefanie Conrad, Deputy Regional Director Programs, Plan West Africa (Stefanie.Conrad@plan-international.org)

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Tactical Dialogue on Research for Participatory Action

I discovered a new website care of HURIDOCS this morning called New Tactics in Human Rights.  Each month New Tactics conducts online tactical dialogues in which the public is invited to participate in discussions regarding resources and tools for human rights activists networks and organizations.  New Tactics urges those interested to join in on their upcoming online dialogue, Participatory Research for Action to be held on November 17 to 23.

Here is some more from their website:

Participatory research can create credible and critical documentation at the grassroots level.  Not only can the information be utilized in advocacy and lobbying efforts, the research process itself can serve to create a network of activists, informing organizations working on issues that impact study participants, and directly benefiting the people themselves.

Participatory research is about “connecting victims of human rights violations to the information they need to become active defenders of their right and to develop creative solutions to human rights challenges.” (Chubashini Suntharalingam, Research for Action)

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WikiLeaks’ Proposed Radical Transparency

Generally, under the absence of sinister forces, the secrecy of a state is grounded in a concern for the security of its citizens.  Information professionals like traditional government archivists, romanticize themselves as gatekeepers to stores of information, and by nature they feel possessive of the records in their custody.  So what are traditional, and modern archivists, for that matter, to make of the radical transparency behind the actions of WikiLeaks?  The framework in which this organization operates poses serious ethical questions to the profession and its role in the processes of transitional justice, reconstruction, and stabilization that occur well after the fact.

The profession of journalism similarly comes under assault by WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange.  The New Yorker provides insight in a critical portrait of the WikiLeaks founder vis-a-vis the journalistic integrity of the most recent leak.

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