[bestbits] Coordination during WCIT -- who's attending, who's reporting

Deborah Brown deborah at accessnow.org
Tue Dec 4 13:15:57 EST 2012

Here's the transcript for of the FOEX debate for those interested:

La discussion de le Proposition Tunisienne:

Now, * in Article 1 there is the beginning of Article 1 there is one
proposal which is coming from Tunisia.  And I would love to take that, to
start with.  And I want to give the floor to Tunisia to present their
proposal.DT/rev 1, page 19, you have the floor for presentation.
>> TUNISIA:  Thank you, Chairman.

This proposal seeks to guarantee freedom of expression as recognized by the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International covenant on civil
and political rights, and Article 33 of the constitution.
And protect it in International telecommunications.  This will protect
access to all dissem means telecommunication, ICTs at at International
level and the exercise of these rights and as well as other rights
enshrined in the texts.
And states should impose no limitations on this, other than those permitted
by International law.
Tunisia believes that this will allow human rights and human privacy to be
protected when the ITRs are enforced.
Thank you.
>> CHAIR:  Thank you Tunisia.  And since this is the only proposal on this
specific ujs senior I would ask the floor -- subject, I would ask the floor
for any clarifications.  Is there any objection to the Tunisian proposal?
United States?  And then Cyprus.  Is
>> UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, we wish to state our appreciation to Tunisia for bringing to
our attention the very important precepts and principles that are contained
in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  We of course
fully support that declaration.
Mr. Chairman, our issue is more one of Claire if I indication.  And perhaps
The clarification goes to the need to restate the Article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the ITRs.  The universal
declaration stands on its own feet and is understood to be the foundation
of the United Nations.  And it may not require restatement in the ITRs as
we have all, as we have oh as we are members of the United Nations have
committed to the principles of the universal declaration.
Secondly, Mr. Chairman, we would also note that the same sentiments
expressed by Tunisia in their proposal are found in paragraph 4 of the
Geneva declaration of principles of the World Summit on Information
Society.  We have fully supported at the head of state paragraph 4.  And we
believe that that may be sufficient to meet the proper references to the
declaration, and that that may be sufficient that, to the extent to which
we may not require, therefore, its repeating in the ITRs.
Mr. Chair man, we would also obviously wish to restate our full commitment
to the universal declaration with the questions of clarification and point
made as it specifically references the world summit.  And that may be
sufficient for all of us as it was a commitment of at the head of state
level and may not be required, therefore, in the ITRs.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

>> CHAIR:  Thank you you.  Cyprus.
>> Cyprus:  I'm speaking from the you're peeb Commission on behalf the the
European Union behind the Cyprus nameplate.
I want to ensure the group that we of course in the European Union support
fully and respect the universal declaration on human rights.  And these are
part also of the European core values, of course.  We think also that it's
not necessary, though, to repeat these basic fundamental principles, and
certainly not in this particular part of the ITRs.
Other International laws and provisions and charters stand on their own,
and I think in discussing the preamble you have also discussed the lack of
necessity to repeat various provisions in other parts of either the
constitution or the Convention of ITU.
So we think that although we support entirely these basic principles and
these are things that we all must follow in any event, and the basic
principles apply also to telecommunications.  It's not necessary to include
them in this particular part of the ITRs.

>> CHAIR:  Thank you.  China and then South Africa, briefly, please.
>> CHINA:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
China has some similarities in our views compared with the United States
and EU.  We respect the principles in the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights and also we respect the principles advocated by the declaration of
WSIS.  But we think the ITR is about the interconnection of International
networks as well as to guide the operation of International services is
more technical savvy.  So it's more  focused on the technical aspects.
So we think it's not necessary to reiterate what we have recognized the
International political principles.  Therefore, we support the intervention
of the previous two speakers.
Thank you.
>> CHAIR:  Thank.
South Africa?
>> SOUTH AFRICA:  Thank you, Chairperson.
We do think it was a very good proposal, but we would also have to reserve
our own position on this issue.  In particular, because whilst we agree
with the right of freedom of expression, in our constitution it's not an
unlimited right, in the sense that it is balanced against other rights such
as the right not to be the victim of hate speech.
So I think from our perspective, we would need a little time to consult on
this issue.
Thank you, Chairperson.
>> CHAIR:  Thank you.  Before giving the floor to the others, I don't see
agreement to, while respecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I
don't see agreement to include this in the ITR.
So Tunisia, before giving the floor to the rest, we do not have an
SG, you wanted the floor?
>> HAMADOUN TOURE':  Thank you, Chairman.  Yes, I did want to speak.  And
because I wanted to draw your attention to something, as indeed I did in my
opening statement.  It seems to me to be essential, fundamental for the
future and the credibility of the union and to the image which the union
wants to project to the outside world, and in view of all the various
conspiracy theories that are floating around in respect to individual
freedoms in this meet, that it would be a good idea to put some explicit
recognition of this essential right, which after all is already
acknowledged, the rights to the freedom of expression.  That would perhaps
contribute to preventing people distorting the cause and purpose of this
This is a universal right of course.  It's one that has already been
negotiated and agreed by our Members.  But an explicit reference to it, I
think, would be helpful at the beginning of a Treaty of this kind.
It would, as I say, dissipate any potential misunderstanding about this
whole question.  So as far as I'm concerned, that would be the essential
purpose of a proposal such as that which has just been tabled by Tunisia.
Tunisia was, after all, the host country of the WSIS, where these issues
were dealt with.  And dealt with at a level that cannot be exceeded at the
level of heads of state.  Tunisia was also the cradle of the Arab Spring,
where the Freedom of Expression as we know was extremely important in many
respects.  It was used in order to return countries to Democracy, after
I therefore think that this would be helpful and I would create the
indulgence of Member States to look at this from the point of view of the
image which this organisation wants to project, particularly at this
conference.  For those who want this conference to be successful, I think
it would be a good idea to try and reach agreements here and reach
agreements such that they give the right image of the ITU outside the
organisation's walls.
I would like to see contribution number 25 from the Tunisian delegation
looked at in this way and I urge delegations to try and do that.
Thank you.
>> CHAIR:  Thank you.  Iran?
>> IRAN:  Thank you you, Chairman.  We are grateful to the presentation of
the Tunisian Government to propose this very important issue, which has
drawn our full attention to the fundamental rights that are mentioned in
Article 19 of the universal declarations of human rights.
Something having said that, Chairman, the nature of this proposal more
fitted to perhaps a proposal to the plenipotentiary conference, to
possibly, if necessary, am amendment the preamble of the constitution,
which covers everything, not only ITR but also other segments and the
entire ITU as was mentioned.  Therefore, in our view, this proposal needs
to be, if the delegation of Tunisia so wishes, submitted to the
plenipotentiary conference and should not be discussed at this conference
and should not be included in the ITU-R in any part of the regulations.  --
ITR in any part of the regulations.  Thank you.
>> UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I'm speaking on
behalf of CETIL in connection with two interAmerican proposals, 21 and 23.
We certainly endorse the sentiment expressed in the Tunisian proposal.
However, in our view, as expressed in these interAmerican proposals, the
purpose of the ITRs is to assure the interoperability of underlying
telecommunications systems that enable communications, not the content of
the communications that flow over them.

We are concerned that we should not open this door and get into the issue
of adding content issue, even Freedom of Expression be issues, which we
certainly endorse, to the ITRs.  Our fear is that once this door is opened,
the other language could be added on this subject and this is a highly
sensitive matter.  We think it would be much better for all of us if we
left this issue -- kept the issue of content entirely out of the ITRs.
Thank you.
>> CHAIR:  Tunisia, I think you've heard the comments from a lot of Member
States.  And all of them said one thing, that there is a respect to the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but there is no support to include
this in the ITR.
So I'll give the floor back to Tunisia, if they still insist on their
And withdrawing it does not mean that there is no respect to the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
>> TUNISIA:  Thank you, Chairman.
Well, I would like to be able to reach a consensus agreement if that were
probable possible.  But before I go to maybe I do draw something to the
delegates' attention.  The events which we have seen taking place recently
in some regions of the world, the cutting of International
telecommunications things, for example, and that despite the existence and
recognition of these rights in existing texts, has happened.  Existing
texts haven't prevented some countries cutting off International
telecommunications, and that's why we in Tunisia think that this conference
should give a very strong signal about the need to protect this right of
the Freedom of Expression.
We need, I think, to make explicit the fact that this kind of cutting off
of International telecommunications is unacceptable.
Perhaps I could agree with the United States who have proposed that
reference be made to the summit text.  That might get the idea across.  And
I leave it in your hands, Chairman, to find how we can actually do that and
make headway on this.
Thank you.
>> CHAIR:  Okay.  There is a proposal to refer to the WSIS text.  But
before putting that to the floor, UAE is asking for the floor.  UAE?
>> UNITED ARAB EMIRATES:  Thank you, Chairman.
And in order to be very brief, I think most of what we would like to say
was already mentioned by the distinguished Secretary-General, and also by
the Distinguished Delegate from Tunisia.  It's also important to highlight
that there has been some, under some of the media, some let's say wrong
information that there are some proposals to actually neglect freedom of
speech.  And here we go, we have an Arab proposal, an Arab country proposal
cominging to this conference that would like to emphasize this, and we can
go along with whatever appear proch as has been endorsed by Tunisia, the
Secretary-General as well as you, Mr. Chairman, to send a signal from Dubai
that this principle and all the principles of the WSIS.  So I think if we
prefer, if we go and refer to the WSIS, we should refer to it as a whole.
We have been active in the WSIS and we actually can go along with the idea
to prefer to the WSIS and all of its principles and endorse it from --
within the conference of the WCIT.
Thank you.
>> CHAIR:  Thank you, UAE.  I think refers to WSIS as an entirety is also a
very dangerous sign so I need to be careful here.
I think there has been a lot of discussion on this issue.  And I'm sure
there has been a lot of reflection on such important and novel declarations
is there, and it's already amended.
I'm not sure if there is any additional thing that we can add to that.
There are strong views.  We have heard also the Secretary-General review on
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  But there are views respecting
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but having an opinion that the
ITRs is not the place for it.
And the reflection of it in the summary record, it's important.  And I
don't know if you can go along with that, and sending also a message from
Dubai to the rest of the world to through the summary record of the plenary
respecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but also as I see it
from the Member States that there is no agreement to have it included in
the ITRs itself.
So I would like to thank Tunisia for their proposal.  Unfortunately, we
have no support.  But we can reflect on the summary record of the meeting
and emphasize on it and perhaps we can have a text proposed by Tunisia to
look at it as well, so that we can have -- so that we can give it a proper
place in the summary record.
I see others asking for the floor.  And then Iran
Qatar:  We are sitting at the back of the room and let me explain why you
can't see us Chairman.  I sought the floor several times but didn't obtain
As far as the Tunisian proposal is concerned, we think that this is an
extremely important proposal and an extremely important principle and we
support it.
It's a question of ensuring the human rights and the Freedom of Expression
are respected.  As the Secretary-General said in his statement, it's very
important that we send out a positive signal on this one from this
That will be the best possibly response to some of the rather inaccurate
information being put around about this conference, to the effect that
we're trying precisely to limit the Freedom of Expression.  I think that
the content of the Tunisian proposal is crucial.  As I said, I think it
needs to be mentioned even if that is done via a referral back to the WSIS.

The essential point is that this be mentioned, one way or the other, to
make it * very clear that our conference fully respects both human rights
and the liberties of expression.
Thank you.  irp iron we have no difficulty if Tunisia would like to have a
statement in the minutes of the plenary.  However, with respect to a
general recognitions of the conference, it depends whether this is in the
agenda of the conference or not in the agenda of the conference and also it
depends on the text, what text we put.  What is the language, what is the
wording of that.  And before saying that we could not agree to the
inclusion of that text we have to see it clearly and we have to consult our
Thank you.
(That was Iran)

S Poland:  Thank you very much, Chairman.  Poland would like to associate
itself with the Tunisian proposal and the comments of the
Secretary-General.  We believe that the general reference to human rights
would send the positive signal, and our proposal is that the general
reference to human rights and guarantees of the freedom of the Internet
perhaps should be made in the preamble to the ITRs.
Thank you very much.
>> CHAIR:  We will take Mexico first and then the Secretary-General wants
to speak as well.

>> MEXICO:  Thank you very much, Chairman.
We have listened with very careful attention to the debate which has been
taking place in respect of the issue of human rights, and particularly
Article 19 of the universal declaration.  We support that Article.  We
support the declaration.
But we do agree that it is perhaps not in the ivrts where we find the most
appropriate place from which to send out this message.  We do, however,
agree that it's a good idea for this conference and indeed for ITU in
general to send out a message to the world outside about guaranteeing
communication and human rights in general.  Maybe this could be done in a
resolution from the conference.  We don't think we should be considering
only the specific text of the ITR.  We have a bit of more gin over to us by
conference resolutions.  So perhaps a conference resolution would be the
right place to mention this.
What we suggest is that we mention this issue in a conference resolution.
Thank you.  *

>> CHAIR:  Secretary-General?
>> Secretary-General:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  I think there is full
agreement here that Universal Declaration of Human Rights is very important
to every single delegation here.
That every delegation who spoke, spoke for it.
But it's clear, also, that it has not its place in the ivrts, and we have
said that all along.  During the preparatory process of this conference.  I
had multiple press conferences and replies to press allegations that this
conference is about Freedom of Expression and I've said no.  It's not the
case.  And you are just proving that here.  And you don't want it to be the
case.  You'll set a presence dense.  As the President of CCITEL said it
will open the doors for content issues being in the ivrts.  And we have
said that ivrts is not about content.
If we have to make reference to this in the ITRs, we should say that even
though content is not an issue for this conference, it has been, since it's
been too much labeled we make it clearer.
But if we decide not to, you allow me to make a press release again to
clarify this issue.  And of course I have my daily conference briefing,
press briefing, in which I will refer to this issue and make it clear that
this conference, in this conference, we all agree that human rights issues
are very important, the Freedom of Expression is something that no one can
-- nothing in this conference, in this Treaty, will contradict that.
But we decided un nan mustly not to put it in there, but it was a gracious
proposal by Tunisia to clarify the matter.
On that compromise, I will be very able to handle this issue.  Because as
you can -- as you have seen in the press, there has been simply too much
negative labels on this conference for this very issue, which has never
been on the table.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

>> CHAIR:  Thank you.
>> SWITZERLAND:  Thank you, Chairman.
We feel the same way as our colleagues from Poland who spoke a little
earlier.  And indeed more or less for the same reasons.  It seems to us to
be very important, as other people have said, that given the unfounded
criticism we have heard leveled at this conference, we make reference of
some kind to the respect of human rights in general.  The idea of putting a
very brief reference to them in the pream preamble without going into
detail would be for us a very simple slu, with their support.
I think we would really be missing the boat in this conference, so to
speak, if we did not refer to what is a very basic and fundamental
principle for our society.
Thank you.

>> CHAIR:  Let me try this and let me try this proposal, to have the
Tunisian proposal or let's say a modified version of the Tunisian proposal
in a resolution.
Is there an agreement to do that?  Or let me put it this way:  Is there any
objection to have a resolution attached to the ITRs that talks about
Universal Declaration of Human Rights?  As per Poland's proposal.  tp
>> CANADA:  Yes, sir, thank you, Chairman.
First and foremost I'll not take a lot of time.  We fully recognize the
principles embedded in the Tunisian proposal and we thank them for it.  But
as clearly stated by several people that have preceded me in the use of the
floor, in particular I would quote the reference made by the Distinguished
Delegate of China, as to the nature and scope of the ITRs.
Secondly, the reference made by the Secretary-General to the media coverage
of this conference, whether it is unfounded or founded, it is not up to
Canada to qualify it.  But we will certainly agree with his proposal to
deal with any issues associated with the coverage, precoverage, and post
coverage of this conference by means of a press statement that needs not to
be part of the ivrts.  ITRs.  Lastly, the issue of human rights it's
already clearly enshrined in the u verse sal declaration of human rights
and there is no need for this this conference or WCIT or plenipotentiary or
WSA to include such an important element already recognized by extremely
important declarations as the declaration of human rights.
Thank you, Chairman.
>> CHAIR:  I'll give the floor to Tunisia.  I don't see, at least from the
start, support for my proposal.
>> TUNISIA:  Thank you, Chairman.
What I would say is that our conference should issue a clear signal in
response to the severe accusations which it has faced in the recent
period.  And the only way that we can do that is by making mention of
freedom of expression and human rights in the International
telecommunication regulations.
To that end, I would like to go back to the proposal made by Poland and
Switzerland to make such a mention in the preamble to say that our
conference attaches importance to Freedom of Expression and human rights.

>> CHAIR:  Thank you.  But there is no -- until now, there is no support
for it yet.  I'll give the floor to Costa Rica and then Iran.  I really
need to conclude on this discussion.  There is a proposal from also the
Secretary-General that we -- the ITU issue a press release on this issue,
recognizing what happened in the meeting.  That all Administrations
respecting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but not to be part of
the ITRs, which is a binding Treaty and I've seen also the comment made by
Costa Rica you have the floor.
>> COSTA RICA:  Thank you, Chairman.
Costa Rica has a hundred year long Democracy and we think that the
Secretary-General's comments are very important.  We need to issue a
message on this, particularly given the accusations which have been going
around in the press.
As the UAE said, we need to agree on a message, but Costa Rica believes
that the ITRs aren't the best instrument for that to be achieved.  And
that's why we think that it would be more sensible to think about what was
said by Mexico, to have the resolution by this Assembly, which takes up the
spirit of what was said by Tunisia toon and supported by Poland and
Switzerland.  So we could have a resolution and perhaps we could also
cover this
using a press release as said by the Secretary-General.  We think that
would be a more viable course of action.

>> CHAIR:  Thank you.  There is now some support for having a resolution.
I don't want to give the floor to many people.  I'll give it to two
>> IRAN.  Briefly, please.
>> IRAN:  Thank you, the last speaker was quite clear saying that either a
press release or resolutions.  Chairman, resolutions first of all should be
very carefully Crafted.  It would take a lot of time on the wording.  It
should be within the agenda of the conference.  And we fully support the
wisdom of the Secretary-General that he said clearly that he would take
this action in a press release, and make necessary and appropriate courses
of action in order that the correct signal be given to outside people.  And
we are not in favor of a resolution.  We are opposed to a resolution.
Thank you.
>> PORTUGAL:  Thank you, Mr. Chair man.  Like the majority of countries, we
are -- we do not favor including the issue in the ITRs and I think this is
already solved by now.
And we also do not favor the resolution model.  We think the proposal by
the Secretary-General is very balanced, and very towards our aim here.  And
maybe a record -- including in the record of decisions as was also
initially proposed would be the appropriate way to deal with this issue.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

>> CHAIR:  Thank you.  I will close the discussion now.  I don't see an
agreement included in either the resolution or part of the ITRs, so we will
go along with the Secretary-General proposal to have a press release, the
minutes of meeting also -- or the covering all your sentiments from all the
Administrations, and I would thank everybody including Tunisia to bring
this important issue.  And we will have its size in a press release that we
do on a daily basis, recognizing the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights.  And emphasizing that this conference is a technical conference and
all Administrations here recognize it, and they do not feel that it's
appropriate to include it in the ITRs.
>> Secretary-General:  I just want to thank this conference for coming
again to a good compromise on this very delicate issue.  In fact, you have
done half of my job by speaking out here in this meeting.  Because this is
webcast.  And this webcast goes to the press.  So I'll simply be
reiterating what you said here, which satisfies me, because this is what we
have been saying all along.  Because we know the feeling of our
membership.  We know what our membership is tasking us to do in this
conference, in this Treaty.  And therefore I would like to thank you again
and you've proven that again ITU can come together and all Member States
and come to a consensus on issues.
Thank you very much.
>> CHAIR:  Thank you.

On Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 7:55 PM, Ellery Biddle <ellery at cdt.org> wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> Important update about tomorrow's call -- after talking with some of our
> colleagues who are in Dubai this week, we've decided that we should move
> the time back a few hours, so that those in Dubai can more easily
> participate. So here's the new plan:
> *
> *
> *The call will take place at  18:00 UTC / 1:00 PM EST. A list of
> international toll-free call-in numbers is attached.*
> Since new issues may arise between now and then, I'll suggest that we can
> try to set a rough agenda at the start of the call, rather than setting one
> now.
> Looking forward to chatting with everyone!
> cheers,
> Ellery
> Ellery Roberts Biddle
> Center for Democracy and Technology <http://cdt.org>
> (415) 814-1711
> On Nov 27, 2012, at 3:50 PM, Ellery Biddle wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> We have been talking here at CDT about various strategies for
> communications and coordination during the WCIT. Lots to think about here.
> Two items on this:
> First: Who is going to Dubai? We *really* want to develop a list of civil
> society people who will be in Dubai for the conference. We think it would
> be helpful for those attending WCIT to know what other CS people will be
> there, and to develop a rough plan for coordinating once they are in
> Dubai. Matthew Shears, ISOC's former policy director who has been working
> on ITU issues with CDT, will be in Dubai on CDT's behalf. He will not be
> affiliated with any delegation. *If you or someone from your organization
> is going to be in Dubai (with or without delegate status), and you'd like
> to be in touch with other civil society folks there, please send Matthew an
> email letting him know. Matthew's email: mshears at cdt.org*
> Second: How can we coordinate on public communication about the WCIT? We
> know that many CSOs will be blogging, tweeting, and responding to press
> inquiries about the WCIT as it's happening. Given the relatively closed
> nature of the event, we know that it may be difficult to get the
> information we need in order to do this well, and that some coordination
> between groups may help fill this gap. We also anticipate that rumors and
> misinformation may become an issue, as different delegates may hear
> different things, etc. In anticipation of this, we want to propose a group
> call for next week. This will be open to any civil society groups planning
> to report on WCIT, either from Dubai or from outside the UAE. Given the
> size of these lists, I am setting an arbitrary (though early, which
> generally seems best) time and date for the call. Hope that plenty of folks
> can join -- we'll take and circulate good notes for those who can't make it.
> *The call will take place on Tuesday, December 4 at 16:00 UTC / 11:00
> EST. *A list of international toll-free call-in numbers is attached. I
> will circulate this again, along with a reminder, on Monday.
> As always, please feel encouraged to reply to the list with additional
> ideas, questions, etc.
> Thanks all!
> Ellery
> Ellery Roberts Biddle
> Center for Democracy and Technology <http://cdt.org/>
> (415) 814-1711

Deborah Brown
Policy Analyst
Access | AccessNow.org
E. deborah at accessnow.org
S. deborah.l.brown
T. deblebrown
PGP 0x5EB4727D
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