IGF 2016 Main Session: Connecting Human Rights: Emphasising Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for the Internet

Title: Connecting Human Rights: Emphasising Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for  the Internet

Date/Time/Length: 8 December 2016, 10:00 – 13:00, 180 minutes


The IGF has been a critical platform to facilitate dialogue on human rights and their inter-linkages with internet policy and governance. It has played an important role in facilitating debates and policy development on internet and human rights issues in other policy processes such as the Human Rights Council.

While civil and political rights such as freedom of expression and the right to privacy remain high on the agenda, equal attention needs to be paid to the policy and governance implications of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs). ESCRs define the way we live, give us the rights to learn, to communicate, to earn a living. They give us a quality of life to make that life worth living. The need to open a dialogue on ESCRs and the internet is especially underscored through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015.

This main session aims to foreground a conversation on the interdependence, inalienability and indivisibility of rights. It will engage a discussion on the interconnection between civil and political rights, and  economic, social and cultural rights. Through this, to facilitate a broader and deeper dialogue on Internet governance and policy to encompass the full range of human rights.


Opening remarks by host country chair.

Setting the scene: Moderators will outline the thematic human rights areas to be addressed in this session, as well as emphasise the importance of making linkages between civil and political rights and ESCR.

Questions: Moderators will ask 5-7 discussants specific questions (including potentially identified feeder workshop organisers and relevant Dcs/BPs)

Discussion: Moderators will facilitate an open conversation where participants (remote, social-media and onsite) will have an opportunity to comment or raise specific questions.

The question and discussion will repeat.

Followed by a facilitated conversation amongst all discussants.

The session will close with a synthesis of the discussion by a key discussant.

Policy Questions:

1.     What is the relationship between both the ESCR covenant and the SDGs to civil and political rights, such as freedom of expression, association and privacy? What are the internet policy implications in this relationship?

2.     How are increasingly data driven and algorithmic decision-making around social services and empowerment in different areas of social, cultural and political life impacting on rights such as the right to information and privacy?

3.     People who face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination face specific barriers to access the internet due to existing disparity in economic, social and cultural rights, and are thus further away from realising their right to freedom of expression, assembly and association and privacy. What can be done at the level of policy to address the multiple groups who are especially affected by discrimination (e.g. refugees, women living disability, sexual minorities etc) in terms of their specificity?

4.     How are current concerns around radicalisation and the role of the internet in shaping discourse and facilitating mobilisation of support and counter-support impacting on freedom of expression, right to assembly and association?

5.     Do ICTs foster a homogeneous Internet culture, in a mixed soup pot of cultures, or a mosaic which allows each culture to make up a specific, unique part of the whole multicultural picture puzzle? How do we support communication and knowledge exchange equality, while preserving important differences? For example, the value of the internet in enabling the full range of human rights for indigenous communities who face specific challenges both in available content, script, discrimination and access to resources.

Chair(s) and/or Moderator(s):


Anja Kovacs, Internet Democracy Project (India)

Luis Fernando García, R3D (Mexico)

Session organisers:

Jac sm Kee, APC (Malaysia)

Ginger Paque, DiploFoundation (USA)

Wanawit Ahkuputra, Electronic Transactions Development Agency (Thailand)

Host Country Chair: TBC



·       Ms Amparo Arango Echeverri, Dominican Institute of Telecommunications (Dominican Republic) [TBC]

·       Ms. Alejandra Lagunes,National Digital Strategy Coordinator for the Mexico Presidency (Mexico) [TBC]

·       Ambassador Annika Ben David, Ambassador-at-large for Human Rights, Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Sweden) [TBC]

Civil society/technical community/academia:

·       Sally Burch,  Asociación Latinoamericana de Información  (ALAI), JustNet Coalition

·       Anita Gurumurthy, IT for Change

·       Kathy Brown, ISOC [TBC]

·       Carla L. Reyes, Setson University College of Law

·       Rebecca McKinnon, Ranking Digital Rights

·       Paulina Gutiérrez, Article 19 [TBC]

·       Mr Mechai Viravaidya, Mechai Viravaidya Foundation [TBC]


·       Frank La Rue, UNESCO

·       Penninckx, Head of Information Society Department, Council of Europe

·       Lakshmi Puri, UN Women [TBC]

·       Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Culture [TBC]

·       Hernan Vales, OHCHR [TBC]

Private Sector:

·       Alexandria Walden, Google [TBC]

·       Nicole Karlebach, Yahoo!

·       Carolyn Nguyen, Microsoft [TBC]

Plan for in-room participant engagement/interaction:

The moderators will have 2 specific open moderated discussion slots where on-site participants will be invited to provide comments or raise questions.

Remote moderator/Plan for online interaction:

Workshop co-organisers will work behind the scene to ensure that there is coordination and communication between remote moderators and the session moderators, in particular, during the open conversation session, and that remote interventions are given equal priority to in situ comments and questions. Sli.do will also be used for remote and on-site participants to ask specific questions which will be projected on the screen during the session, and participants can also upvote particular questions that they would really like to see addressed or discussed. The top 3-5 questions will be given prioritisation. The Sli.do link will be disseminated through Twitter before the main session, as well projected on screen as during the session.