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5.  

Freedom of Assembly And Association And The Internet

Everyone has the right to use the Internet and digital technologies in relation to freedom of assembly and association, including through social networks and platforms.

No restrictions on usage of and access to the Internet and digital technologies in relation to the right to freedom of assembly and association may be imposed unless the restriction is prescribed by law, pursues a legitimate aim as expressly listed under international human rights law (as specified in Principle 3 of this Declaration) and is necessary and proportionate in pursuance of a legitimate aim.

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A coalition of some 35 civil society organisations has written to several international bodies including the African Union and the United Nations Human Rights Council over the recent internet shutdown in Togo. Signatories to the letter include Paradigm Initiative, Reporters Without Borders, World Wide Web Foundation, Access Now, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Ghanaian Centre of PEN International, the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and members Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA), Fantsuam Foundation, and Kenya ICT Action Network (KICTANet).

The Coalition calls on the international bodies “to bring a halt to the spate of Internet shutdowns in Africa and to publicly declare your commitment to this effort.

The report presents the findings of a study on what governments are doing to inhibit citizens’ access to ICT, for example content blocks, censorship, filtering, infrastructure control, law-making, court cases; how governments are using ICT activity and data to monitor citizens; and how government bodies and functionaries are using propaganda, impersonation, threats, cloning, and other tactics to shape online content in their favour.

Full country reports are available for ten countries: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The research was conducted as part of CIPESA’s OpenNet Africa initiative (www.opennetafrica.org), which monitors and promotes internet freedom in Africa.

This research was carried out by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) as part of the OpenNet Africa initiative (www.opennetafrica.org), which monitors and promotes Internet freedom in Africa.

The report presents the findings of a study on what the government in Uganda is doing to inhibit citizens’ access to ICT, for example content blocks, censorship, filtering, infrastructure control, law-making, court cases; using ICT activity and data to monitor citizens; and how government bodies and functionaries are using propaganda, impersonation, threats, cloning, and other tactics to shape online content in their favour. Other country reports for Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as a regional State of Internet Freedom in Africa 2016 report, are also available.

This research was carried out by the Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) as part of the OpenNet Africa initiative (www.opennetafrica.org), which monitors and promotes Internet freedom in Africa.

The report presents the findings of a study on what the government in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is doing to inhibit citizens’ accessto ICT, for example content blocks, censorship, filtering, infrastructure control, law-making, court cases; using ICT activity and data to monitor citizens; and how government bodies and functionaries are using propaganda, impersonation, threats, cloning, and
other tactics to shape online content in their favour. Other country reports for Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as a regional State of Internet Freedom in Africa 2016 report, are also available.

Over the past years, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have been actively engaging in local, regional, national and international matters with or against the public and private sectors ever since their genesis. This paper examines the role of NGOs in Zimbabwe by analyzing the dynamics of ICT on NGO relations and their direct causal effects on the promotion of sustainable development. Through a qualitative secondary study approach which was enabled through a content analysis, the paper illustrates various factors affecting the sustainability of ICT for NGOs in Zimbabwe. The paper explores the challenges being faced by NGOs in trying to maintain sustainable
development through the usage of ICT and web-enhanced tools in Zimbabwe. The paper establishes that government interference, financial instability, poor infrastructure, low technical expertise among citizens, effects of HIV/AIDS, desire to maintain status quo constrained the implementation of ICT by NGOs to achieve sustainable development.

Restrictions on internet access – commonly known as internet shutdowns – in north-west and south-west Cameroon are now in their 14th day. The restrictions ordered by the government of Cameroon, which have been in effect since 17 January 2017, have specifically targeted Anglophone regions, reportedly following protests against the marginalisation of Anglophone Cameroonians’ cultural and linguistic rights by the government. APC notes these shutdowns with grave concern.

Caroline is the West and Central Africa Programs Coordinator for the Coalition of African Lesbians. Based in Johannesburg, she is interested in how the internet can be a catalyst for women's rights and sexual rights activism. In her blog she writes about the challenges and realities that feminist in West and Central Africa face. She relates her blog to the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, where she cites principles on Gender Equality and Marginalised groups and groups at risk. Click here to read her blog

Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch) looked at internet rights and democratisation, with a focus on freedom of expression and association online. This Special Edition, analyses more than 60 country and thematic reports in order to better reveal and build understanding of the broad range of practical actions and strategies that activists are developing.

Natasha Msonza from Her Zimbabwe shares her views on women's experiences online, this post was written during her participation in the Gender and Internet Governance Exchange program in Addis Ababa, 2015.

Sandra Kambo is from Kenya where she works at AS&K Digital Communications, as a software and test engineer. She has practiced in this role for the past six years, while being in the ICT industry for over a decade npw. In her blog post she reflects on her experience at the African School on Internet Governance and how it can be applied to eveyday life situations from her country's perspective.

Maha Jouini is an Addis Ababa-based Tunisian blogger, and women’s rights and indigenous rights activist, with a special focus on the Amazigh community. She collaborates with the Campaign to End Child Marriage and is on the executive board of the Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She is also a translator for Global Voices. APC’s Leila Nachawati interviewed Meha in Addis Ababa during the African School on Internet Governance (AfriSIG) in September.

Human Rights groups and organisations responded to internet shutdown in Uganda during national elections through a joint letter to the African Union, Ugandan Government and other important parastatal institutions. The letter expressed the through the shutting down of the internet, human rights violations were committed.

This paper is a joint stakeholder contribution from the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) to the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism for Uganda. This submission focuses on women’s rights and the internet in Uganda. It explores the extent of implementation of the recommendations made in the previous cycle of the UPR and also identifies emerging concerns in Uganda regarding women’s rights online.

The Association for Progressive Communications, APC, organized a Global Meeting on Gender, Sexuality and the Internet in Port Dickson, Malaysia, bringing together 50 participants from six continents comprising gender and women’s rights activists, LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex) movements, internet and technology rights organizations, and human rights advocates. The goal of the meeting was to bridge the gap between feminist movements and internet rights movements and look at intersections and strategic opportunities to work together as allies and partners. In thinking through these issues, the participants at the meeting developed a set of 15 feminist principles of the internet. These are designed to be an evolving document, and you can join the discussion and debate on the evolving set of feminist principles of the internet here: http://erotics.apc.org or email erotics@apc.org

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