[bestbits] Call for comment - Connectivity Investment & Human Rights Principles

Peter Micek peter at accessnow.org
Fri Sep 16 06:19:26 EDT 2016

Hello everyone,

Over the past year, you may have seen news regarding Global Connect
<https://share.america.gov/globalconnect/>, a U.S. sponsored initiative
that aims to bring 1.5 billion people online by 2020. In September of last
year <http://bestbits.net/global-connect-initiative/>, a diverse group of
civil society organizations published a letter in support of the
initiative, and in April of this year
<http://bestbits.net/finance-ministers-global-connect/>, a second letter
was presented to Finance Ministers around the world to to urge increased
access to rights-respecting ICTs and broadband connectivity.

The initiative is progressing and included a meeting that took place
following the April letter between the U.S. Secretary of State and the
President of the World Bank. Many Finance Ministers also participated in
that event at the World Bank designed at financing Global Connect. However,
despite the letters, the IEEE Report-out document that came out from the
meeting, barely registered human rights, freedom of expression, and the
right to privacy.

A few of us have started to work on a set of human rights-based principles
to inform connectivity initiatives including Global Connect. Given the
renewed attention on connectivity, we see this as a good opportunity to
develop a set of principles that addresses the human rights dimension of
access, and that guide human rights as a foundation for rolling out
connectivity - from participation of marginalized voices, to the nature of
contractual arrangements, to protection of opinion online.

Some of the strategy and goals moving forward may include:
*- short-term - *develop the CS draft set of general principles to be
officially endorsed by the Global Connect initiative.* For that, we need
you to provide feedback by September 23rd. *
*- mid-term -* Make those principles more concrete and implementable within
IFIs standards for investment and to which Bank staff is bound to
*- long-term -* going even further, develop and implement Human Rights Due
Diligence for IFIs ICT investments, building upon documents HR
organizations are already working on for other HR areas impacted by the
Banks work

Right now much of the discussion is centering around outstanding
connectivity issues being essentially an engineering problem. The risk of
course, if human rights do not inform connectivity initiatives, is the roll
out of a censored, throttled, monitored, militarized internet and could
deepen inequalities within societies.

We are using existing documents (i.e. WSIS+10 Outcome Document
<http://workspace.unpan.org/sites/Internet/Documents/UNPAN95735.pdf>, Human
Rights Council A/HRC/RES/26/13
Net Mundial, internet rights and principles charte
<http://internetrightsandprinciples.org/site/charter/>r, and APC Internet
Rights Charter <https://www.apc.org/en/system/files/APC_charter_EN_0.pdf>) to
inform these principles (draft attached). We would like to welcome you to
join our efforts to create rights-respecting principles to help inform the
Global Connect Initiative. Our goal is to present these principles for
adoption during the October meeting
<http://www.imf.org/external/am/2016/index.htm> of the Multilateral
Development Banks (MDBs), where the *Working Group on Human Rights* *will
also be launched*. This work is part of our advocacy effort to ensure that
human rights is a part of the MDBs grants and loans and efforts under
Global Connect.
If you are interested, please find the draft principles attached. You can
also comment on them and make suggestions here:

Thank you and please let us know if you are interested in working with us
or if you have any questions.

Peter Micek, Access Now
Carolina Rossini, Public Knowledge

Peter Micek
Global Policy & Legal Counsel
Access Now | accessnow.org <http://www.accessnow.org>

tel: +1-888-414-0100 x709
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