Today is International Human Rights Day. On 10 December, people from all over the world dedicate this one day to recognise, celebrate and reaffirm our shared values and ideals. They belong to each and every one of us, regardless of difference or diversity, by the simple fact that we are human beings.
Human rights are living principles. They are constantly evolving as the world changes and as we gain new insight and understanding in how they are to be applied in particular instances. Women's rights movements and feminist activists fought for decades for the recognition of women's human rights.
The UN decade for women from 1975-1985 and beyond mobilised women's rights advocates in different parts of the world to come together and fight for the inclusion of women's diverse realities and specificity in the understanding of fundamental human rights. As a result, violence against women was globally recognised as a violation of fundamental human rights, and we have seen a wave of commitment as never before to put an end to this reality.
The increasing availability and accessibility of the internet has made it an important platform for us to realise and exercise our fundamental human rights. For those of us who have little opportunity to be heard, who have to hide who we are because of discrimination and violence, who cannot find information that is important to our lives because it is censored and prohibited, and who are excluded from the writing of history, the internet has become a key space to fight for recognition, inclusion and the promotion of our fundamental human rights.
We have seen how technology has played a role in bringing violations to light, and to mobilise collective action to demand for greater justice. From women's rights activists standing in Tahir Square, to Occupy Patriarchy, to the creation of powerful digital stories in claiming rights of people with disabilities, internet technologies have become one of the key spaces interwoven into our struggles and politics.
Internet and fundamental human rights were formally connected in the UN in March 2011 through the report by UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion. How is our diversity represented and voiced in the call for internet rights? What is the connection between internet and the exercise of your fundamental human rights in your context and reality? We bring all of our rights with us when we go online. How have you be included, and how have you been excluded in the current imagination and writing of internet rights?
Celebrate your rights! Make the connections. Claim your inclusion. Demand to be written in. Take back the tech!
1) CONNECT YOUR RIGHTS
- Get to know your fundamental human rights.
- Read through the 30 UDHR articles and make the connection between your human rights and how the internet plays a role.
- How have you used the internet in the exercise of particular rights? And how have access and use of the internet been important to you in your particular context or situation?
- Did you create a blog to exercise your right to expression? Have you joined an online community to connect with those who share your concerns and interests? How often do you rely on the internet to find information you are otherwise not able to? Did you find support, affirmation and recognition?
- Send us a digital postcard and tell us how you connected your rights.
- You can choose one of the TBTT digital postcards created by campaigners, and send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Or create your own and upload it!
2) CLAIM INCLUSION - "WRITE ME IN"
- How has the struggle for internet rights included or excluded your own reality and needs?
- Are you heard? Are your concerns reflected and represented in the debate?
- Do human rights and internet rights advocates include the specificity of your reality?
- Or do your rights become lost in shuffle and generalisation?
- Claim your rights! Demand inclusion. "Write me in".
- Create a digital postcard. and demand your reality be written in.
- Identify one out of the 30 UDHR articles that you think most strongly needs greater inclusion of your reality in relation to internet rights.
- Take a photograph or find a picture that can illustrate or symbolise your context.
- Write a caption on a piece of paper or directly onto the image
- Title your postcard with "WRITE ME IN"
- Add a sentence that captures your reality, and next to it, write down the specific article in the declaration that you have identified.For example:
- "I am a woman looking for information about abortion services - Article 19: Everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. WRITE ME IN"
- "I am a migrant domestic worker who is denied access to a mobile phone - Article 23: Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work. WRITE ME IN"
- "I am a LGBT activist and my community website is constantly blocked or hacked - Article 20: Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. WRITE ME IN"
- "I have limited mobility and the internet helps me buy things without having to always depend on others - Article 25 - Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family. WRITE ME IN."
- "I am a woman who use the internet for many things and constantly facing harassment - Article 3: Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person. WRITE ME IN"?
- Share your postcards with your network and community.
- Send them to your Minister of information, telecommunications, internet or women's rights.
- Email a postcard to your friends.
- Post it up on Facebook, Orkut, Google Plus or other social networks you are part of.
- Share them with other campaigners!
- We will publish the postcards on the Take Back The Tech site, as well as the newly formed "Connect Your Rights" campaign site - a campaign initiated by APC that aims to promote a human rights framework to internet development and issues.
- Your postcards will help form a collective call for the recognition and inclusion of our diverse realities in the framework of human rights and the internet.
3) CELEBRATE OUR RIGHTS
- Join the global conversation on human rights!
- UN is organising a dialogue with UN Human Rights expert, Navi Pillay, on Twitter, culminating on December 10.
- Ask your human rights questions about connections and inclusion by posting a tweet using the hashtag #AskRights
- Or send her your postcard!
- Add the #takebackthetech hashtag to let other campaigners know about your participation.
- And when you're done, you can also make a Human Rights Wish
Mark your international human rights day with a call for recognition, connection and inclusion. Take Back The Tech!
Happy international human rights day :)