Rights Issues for Disadvantaged Groups

23 October 2013 - A Workshop on Bali,Indonesia


This workshop, organized by the IRP Coalition in collaboration with the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability, IT for Change, and the Centre for Internet Society, examines how the internet can uphold a “people centered, inclusive and development-oriented information society” (WSIS, 2005) for indigenous peoples and disadvantaged groups among other marginalized groups. Internet rights and principles uniquely impact marginalized groups and present challenges in terms of governance, public policy, and technical design (e.g. standardized interface features that support orality and visual media, as well as text to speech, and voice to text applications, multilingualism). This workshop explores challenges around the tension between specific contexts and universal expressions of rights, responsibilities, and obligations. It intends to propose ways of meeting the challenges in supporting universal access, effective use, and specialized services for marginalized populations including indigenous peoples, non-technical and oral cultures, the physically disabled, and the digitally disadvantaged within rural and remote communities.
The ideal values and outcomes of a universally accessible Internet include: interoperability, privacy, transparency, participatory design, cultural and linguistic diversity, support for oral cultures and non-technical populations, open access, and support for the commons. However, there are limitations and constraints consistent with the global diffusion of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Internet Society fails its promise if it fails to promote cultural equality and other characteristics of discrimination in ICT design and use. 
Recognizing tensions between values and limitations, public and private interests, the roundtable will advance a way forward by making some concrete recommendations that will further the work done by both these two Dynamic Coalitions and partners in putting internet rights and principles into practice for these specific communities of meeds/ . 
This workshop is one of two being organized by the IRP Coalition in partnership with other stakeholders. It aims to link the broader themes of the other workshop (“Charting the Charter”) to the everyday realities of these groups of users whose specific needs impact on internet design, access, and use. In 2010 the IRP Coalition launched the first version of the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet (IGF-Vilnius) followed by the current (“Beta”) Version and its Ten Principles in 2011 (IGF-Nairobi). This IRP Charter is one of the IGF's success stories in multistakeholderism. Over the years, IRP workshops have articulated and advanced dialogue about diverse internet related human rights issues that are reflected within internet policy and within United Nations Human Rights mechanisms. At IGF-Bali the IRP Coalition’s two interrelated workshops and Meeting Proposal (“Towards Charter 2.0”) aim to enhance cooperation with companion projects at the IGF and in other forums (e.g. the Internet Principles Working Group, the Council of Europe Compendium project) that can move the rights and principles laid out in the IRP Charter into a\set of focused action plans. 
This workshop is an important step towards achieving these aims as well as developing a closer working relationship between Dynamic Coalitions to address issues we have in common, namely around how the IRP Charter sections on cultural diversity, education, protection of cultural heritage, disability and indigenous rights can be improved in light of ongoing work by the technical community, private sector, and governments to make the internet accessible and usable for all. This workshop is a new direction for the Coalition, providing new perspectives on the internet rights and principles of indigenous and disabled representatives from developed and less developed countries and from small Island states from the Pacific, as well as representatives of other stakeholder groups particularly from the Asia Pacific region. These perspectives will be used to update the Charter and will be used to operationalize a more effective means of implementation and assessment of internet rights for underserved and neglected populations.