Human Rights Day – Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination

Human Rights Day 2009 focuses on ending discrimination, under the theme Embrace Diversity, End Discrimination.

“Discrimination lies at the root of many of the world’s most pressinghuman rights problems. No country is immune from this scourge. Eliminating discrimination is a duty of the highest order,” said Navi Pillay, U. N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. ““Our main objective is to help promote discrimination-free societies and a world of equal treatment for all,” she said.

The High Commissioner encouraged people everywhere to join hands in celebration of Human Rights Day to speak out and act to advocate non-discrimination and raise awareness in their local communities.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted December 10, 1948 by the international community, has served as a beacon of hope. The Declaration has been translated into more than 360 languages. It holds the Guinness World Record for most translated document in the world.

“The extraordinary vision and determination of the drafters produced a document that for the first time set out universal human rights for all people in an individual context,” U. N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said.

Many countries have incorporated provisions of the Declaration into their Constitutions and laws. The principles of the Declarationform the basis of numerous actions taken by the nations of the world.

Join hands to end discrimination

All human rights work can be viewed through the non-discrimination lens. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, colour, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, disability, property, birth or other status.

These stories describe its impact on peoples’ lives and the work everyone can support to end discrimination.

Quality Education for Indigenous Peoples

The enjoyment of the right to education is not fully realized for most indigenous peoples. The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples says that without access to quality education indigenous communities will not be able to fully enjoy their rights. The Expert Mechanism is a group of five independent specialists who provide expertise on the rights of indigenous peoples to the Human Rights Council.

In their report to the Council on the right of indigenous peoples to education the experts say, “Deprivation of access to quality education is a major factor contributing to social marginalization, poverty and dispossession of indigenous peoples”.

The report makes the case that designing education programs for indigenous communities must take into account many factors that acknowledge the special needs of these communities. Indigenous students cannot be forced into mainstream education systems which do not integrate indigenous culture, it says.
An approach using a single model is inappropriate because of the diversity of indigenous peoples.

Promoting “indigenous perspectives, innovations and practices in an environment that replicates traditional ways of learning” is another interest of the Expert Mechanism. This includes having mother-tongue based bilingual and multilingual education at the primary as well as at higher levels. Indigenous languages should be integrated into the teaching programs. The report proposes that community members be trained as language teachers and the development of indigenous literacy material.

The report identifies gender issues as a common impediment to education for both boys and girls in indigenous communities. In fact, girls are regularly prevented from attending school. The report found that “families often prefer girls to remain at home to perform domestic chores and care for children and siblings”. When put together with other discrimination issues, this has serious social consequences for the indigenous communities.

The Expert Mechanism says that indigenous peoples have the “right to educational autonomy” including “the right to decide their own educational priorities […] as well as the right to establish and control their own educational systems and institutions, if they so choose”.

The report recommends too that human rights education be included in schools to encourage cooperation between the different cultures. The Expert Mechanism advises that “learning about human rights is the first step towards respecting, promoting and defending the rights of all individuals and peoples.” For this to happen, States must ensure funding for appropriate teaching materials and the recruitment of indigenous teachers. Education is identified by the report as “one of the best long-term financial investments that States can make.” This year on December 10, celebrate Human Rights Day by joining together to celebrate diversity and end discrimination.

22 October 2009

A story of modern slavery

The Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, its causes and consequences, Gulnara Shahinian, in her latest report to the Human Rights Council, has called for comprehensive global action to eliminate the practice of bonded labour which she describes as a form of slavery. Quoting data from the International Labour Organisation, the Special Rapporteur says at a minimum, more than 12 million people are living as forced labourers. The causes are many – poverty, demand for cheap labour, unemployment, national or global crises.

“Time and realities may have changed,” Shahinian says, “but the core essence of slavery persists in modern economies. In its modern forms, we find forced labour in agriculture, domestic servitude, the garment industry, the construction industry and prostitution and in the supply chains of mainstream companies.”

Bonded labour occurs when a person offers their services in exchange for the repayment of a debt and, as part of the arrangement, loses control over work conditions and the length of the agreement. Usually there are no safeguards attached to the agreement that would normally be found with a regular loan such as reasonable conditions of repayment or agreed interest rates. Often the employer uses the debt to force individuals to work in exploitative conditions: bonded labourers commonly work very long hours, for very low wages and with no days off.

Technically, bonded labourers can end their state of servitude once the debt is repaid but as the report points out, this seldom happens. Debtors are often illiterate, lack basic maths skills and are easy prey for money lenders.

In building a profile of this form of forced labour the Special Rapporteur has found poverty first and foremost plays a crucial role: the vast majority of bonded labourers are chronically poor. Consequently, they often have little or no education, they are mostly from socially excluded groups, including indigenous people, minorities and migrants and they are more vulnerable because in many cases they have limited access to land where they might otherwise earn a living.

The Special Rapporteur is concerned that in the eyes of many, human trafficking and bonded labour are one and the same. Shahinian says seeing forced labour only through the prism of trafficking means that the magnitude of the problem is seriously underestimated. “Forced labour which may occur in the informal sector, in supply chains and export processing zones, within indigenous or minority populations and in rural areas – the overwhelming majority – is not addressed,” she says.

International efforts to sign, ratify, enforce and monitor the slavery conventions “pale in comparison” to those for trafficking, she says. Given the gravity of the human rights violations associated with bonded labour and the millions of people affected by such practices in every part of the world, it is important, the Special Rapporteur says that slavery be given its due prominence and attention.

Shahinian acknowledges that many countries have ratified the slavery conventions and the relevant conventions of the International Labour Organization. However, where laws on forced labour exist, their enforcement is limited and Shahinian says there are very few policies and programmes specifically directed at bonded labour. “Comprehensive action to eliminate this phenomenon,” she says, “requires strong political will and the coordinated actions of many Governments to enforce international law and protect the rights of all.”

4 November, 2009

Peter Gabriel and the HUB

It was an ordinary day of skateboarding dog videos on YouTube last November when a harrowing clip appeared. The grainy shots from Egypt showed police officers beating and sodomizing a man with a nightstick. The clip had been distributed by Egyptian bloggers Wael Abbas and Hossam el-Hamalawy as a call to action against police brutality.

There was one problem. YouTube has strict guidelines against graphic sexual or violent material, and suspended the bloggers’ account. Eventually the story got picked up by other bloggers and the mainstream media, and sparked international outrage that led to the prosecution of the offending officers and the reactivation of Abbas and el-Hamalawy’s YouTube account.

But with thousands of undocumented abuses playing out around the world every day, the episode highlighted the potential for an online-video network devoted to human rights. Filling that void is the Hub (, a video-sharing Web site launched by ex-rock star Peter Gabriel to empower people to document and publicize unseen atrocities. Now in beta, the Hub allows anyone around the world to submit clips to a central site where its target audience of activists can connect and take action. “It’s a YouTube for human rights,” Gabriel says. And it shows how the dynamics of social networking can be applied in powerful new ways.

The Hub is an offshoot of Witness, the Brooklyn-based human-rights nonprofit that Gabriel started in 1992 after learning the extent of abuses worldwide while headlining a concert tour sponsored by Amnesty International. “What I found extraordinary was that people could suffer in this way and have their stories completely buried,” he says. “But it seemed like whenever there was video evidence, it was very hard to deny and bury and forget.”

For the past 16 years, Witness has provided video cameras to carefully selected activists and community leaders in more than 100 countries. The group has amassed one of the largest existing collections of human-rights-abuse footage and has shown its videos to policy makers and human-rights groups around the world. There have been plenty of success stories as a result, from the arrest of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo for war crimes in the Congo to raising money for land-mine victims in Senegal. Just last year, “Crying Sun,” a Witness video on the impact of war on the community of the North Caucasus mountains, was presented to Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, whose private militia had been widely criticized by human-rights organizations. Afterward, Kadyrov funded the rebuilding of homes, a school, a medical center, and other infrastructure.

Some links

African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

Alliances for Africa

Amnesty International

Arab Organization for Human Rights

Asian Human Rights Commission

Carter Center

Centre for Human Rights
(University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
(Washington College of Law, American University)

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

Derechos Human Rights

European Court of Human Rights

Human and Constitutional Rights (Arthur W. Diamond Law Library, Columbia Law School )

Human Rights Internet

Human Rights Library
(University of Minnesota)

Human Rights Watch

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Inter-American Court of Human Rights

International Committee of the Red Cross

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

International Federation of Human Rights Leagues

International Institute of Human Rights

Rights International

Universal Rights Network

Women’s Human Rights


Climate change – Vietnam

Vietnam is a rapidly developing country and education still has a long way to go. Although there is a subject called social and environmental studies, the curriculum ,teaching methods and learning  process still does not prepare students for a rapidly changing world -particularly in terms of creative and problem solving activities for students. Below is the prime minister’s input to COP15:

Vietnam Responds to Climate Change

Climate change, shown by global warming and rising sea level, is one of the biggest challenges to mankind in the 21st century. The escalation in both frequency and severity of natural disasters and other extreme climate phenomena is the talk of the day in many countries around the world. Responding to climate change requires not only efforts from individual countries, but also the joint actions on the global scale for both mitigation and adaptation.

H.E. Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam 30/11/2009 16:05

In the past 50 years, Vietnam has witnessed a lot of climatic changes. For instance, the average temperature has increased by 0.5 – 0.7oC, the normal sea level has risen by 20cm, and the number of typhoons and tropical depressions rises to 7 or 8 a year. Though preventive measures have been actively taken, losses and damages from disasters are extremely severe for Vietnam. In the last 10 years alone, natural disasters have cost Vietnam around 800 lives and 1.5% of GDP a year.

According to the latest estimates, in 2100 Vietnam’s average temperature could increase by another 2.3oC and the sea level could rise by 75 to 100cm. Many areas in Vietnam could be submerged. The Mekong River delta, which produces more than 50% of rice and contributes 90% of rice export of Vietnam, could see 19-38% of its current land area submerged. Vietnam is among the few countries worst affected by the impacts of climate change, especially by rising sea level due to its long coastline that harbours many densely economic areas and communities. Moreover, the coastal communities are heavily dependent on the weather and climate because of their agricultural, fishery and forestry production. Though full assessment is yet available, it could still be confirmed that climate change has been the biggest and apparent challenge to the protection of food security in Vietnam and the world, threatening the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals and the path to poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Being a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, Vietnam has been making its own efforts and closely cooperating with the world community to respond to impacts of climate change in conformity with the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities” specified in the UNFCCC. The Vietnamese Government has actively been implementing the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol and has attained concrete results. The Vietnamese population is 1% of world population and the carbon dioxide emission is only 0.4% of the world. Vietnam has submitted its First National Report to the UNFCCC and is now preparing the second one. The Vietnamese Government has also approved the National Strategy on prevention and mitigation of natural disasters to 2020, published the scenarios on climate change and rising sea level to 2100.

Meanwhile, to actively respond to climate change, the Vietnamese Government approved in 2008 the National Target Programme to Respond to Climate Change (NTP-RCC). The strategic objective of the NTP-RCC is to assess the impacts of climate change on industries, sectors and provinces in each periods, and to have feasible action plans to effectively respond to climate change in both the short- and long-term to ensure sustainable development, tap all the opportunities for economic development on the low-carbon path, use energy effectively and economically, explore and use effectively new energy sources, replace fossil fuels by renewable energy, and to develop green industries. Based on climate change and sea-level rise scenarios, Vietnam is assessing the possible impacts and formulating suitable responses.

Vietnam considers responding to climate change, especially to sea-level rise as an important and crucial task to attain sustained socio-economic development. Together with domestic efforts, Vietnam has actively promoted international cooperation to have coordinated actions, joining the international community to effectively respond to climate change, protect the climatic system on Earth, prevent and mitigate natural disasters. Vietnam is committed to effectively implement measures to reduce Green House Gases (GHG) emissions with the active support of developed countries and the international community.
The Copenhagen Conference is an important milestone in the course of implementation of the Bali Roadmap. At this Conference, Vietnam brings to the world the following understandings:

First, Earth is our common house that requires the collective efforts and contributions from all nations in the fight against climate change.

Second, the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol should remain as fundamental legal documents for the international community to respond to climate change. However, the Kyoto Protocol should be revised and amended to incorporate new provisions for high GHG emission countries.

Third, developed countries should take the lead in making strong mid-term and long-term commitments on GHG reduction. These commitments should be quantifiable, reportable and verifiable in order to limit the increase of global mean temperature to not over 2¬¬0 C by the end of this century.

Fourth, developed countries should provide appropriate financial and technological assistance to countries seriously affected by climate change, especially by sea-level rise, through new financial and technology transfer mechanisms and the access to the adaptation fund.

Fifth, countries including Vietnam, which are most vulnerable to climate change and especially sea-level rise, should be given prioritised mechanisms and special supports in financing and technological transferring, and assisted to strengthen capacity to respond to climate change by high GHG emission countries. The international community should have a coordination body and develop a special support programme for these countries to effectively respond to climate change, and especially to sea-level rise.

Sixth, developing countries should actively contribute to the global efforts by developing and implementing National Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) on a voluntary basis to ensure sustainable development.
As a country providing a fifth of world food exports and also a country among the few worst affected by climate change, especially sea-level rise, Vietnam is particularly grateful for the international assistance so far and would urge for more international support in order to effectively address this challenge so as to contribute more to global food security.

COP15 : Children’s climate change forum

The Convention on the Rights of the Child provides articles which support the right of children to express their views and more importantly have the right to have their voice heard.

During the run-up to COP15 (UN Climate Change Conference 2009) a children’s climate forum has been organised.

The one message that the adults need to hear is  ‘involve us in the climate change analysis and decision making as it is the world that we will inherit from you”

  • Children’s Climate Forum kicks off in Copenhagen

Children of the world are making their voices heard in the lead up to COP15.

Marie Sauer-Johansen “You will become frontrunners of your generation. You are the future, and I hope that you will remember Copenhagen as the beginning when you look back 10-20 years from now,” said Else Sommer from City of Copenhagen’s Department of Children and Family Care as she opened the Children’s Climate  Forum on November 28.

The symbolism could not be stronger when the delegates, 165 children from 44 countries, plastered handprints in all the colours of the rainbow on a large globe and lifted it up, declaring the forum open.

“Children have a great ability to communicate, because we can hold hands and unite. While we are here, we can teach each other a lot about our cultures and  what we are going through in our countries. We can come up with ideas of how to mitigate the effects of cliamte change to protect our environment, our countries, and the world at large, ” says Vanessa Njovu from the Zambian delegation.

Over the next week the children will share their local experiences of climate change and debate solutions, concluding in a resolution to be handed over to Connie Hedegaard, Minister for the UN Climate Change Conference 2009, at the close of the forum.

The forum is a collaboration between UNICEF, the City of Copenhagen and 22 Danish school classes acting as hosts for the visiting children.

Many of the child delegations represent ‘at risk’ countries, particularly vulnerable to climate change, such as Konduani Joe Banda from Zambia, a country struggling with droughts and heavy rain falls.

“The effects of climate change have been taking place gradually over the last five years in Zambia. If the sea levels rise in other countries, we see floods in Zambia, resulting in the spread of disease. Rain falls are also happening at the wrong time, and the country suffers under deforestation,” explains Mr. Banda.

After the forum, the children are to educate other children in their home countries on climate change issues.

And what is the message from the children to the adults at COP15, so far?

“Children are the grass roots of all nations, so if our opinion is taken into consideration it can affect the world at large.  My message to the negotiators is less talk, more action. We want to see that the conference actually has an impact,” concludes Mr. Banda.

Check this site also: – a voice for children on climate change

A View Inside Primary Schools – a UNESCO report

Human Rights Day (10th December) has non-discrimination as its theme so it may be worth exploring inequalities in primary classrooms through a recent UNESCO report.

This new study highlights the strong effect of social inequality on primary education systems in many countries and the challenge to provide all children with equal learning opportunities.


The World Education Indicators’ Survey of Primary Schools (WEI-SPS) offers unique insight into the classrooms of 11 diverse countries* in order to understand and monitor the factors shaping the quality and equality of primary education. It examines the main issues and inputs shaping primary schools: the background characteristics of pupils; demographic and educational characteristics of teachers and school heads; school resources and conditions; instructional time; school management; teaching and learning styles in the classroom; as well as learning opportunities provided to pupils.

The survey was designed to ensure that these data could be compared internationally. It serves as a valuable resource for everyone interested in education quality and equity – from policymakers to teachers and academics. By analyzing the diverse components and issues shaping policies and programmes regarding primary schools, the study can be used to evaluate strengths and weaknesses of educational systems. Furthermore, the comparative nature of the study allows each participating country to evaluate its position in relation to others in terms of the inputs, policies and processes of schools. These comparisons must obviously be interpreted within the unique traditions and contexts of each education system. But this framework will serve as a resource now and in the years to come for those committed to improving educational quality and equality.

For access to the study, please visit:

Teacher Training for Psychosocial Care and Protection of Children in Emergencies -excellent free resource for trainers

In the latest Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies Bi-Weekly Bulletin INEE (December 2009 Volume 1) there is reference to an excellent UNICEF resource for trainers/teachers who are involved in education programs in emergencies.

Here is the introduction to the resource:

In order to strengthen its efforts to promote psychosocial support within educational programming in emergencies, UNICEF has developed teacher-training materials to promote greater understanding of the impact of and effective responses to the psychosocial impact of emergencies on learners. The aim of this training is to improve the psychosocial well being of children in emergency environments. However, vulnerability is something many children experience in their developmental stages of growth and learning, so the skills learned during this training can be utilized by all teachers in the everyday classroom context. Over the course of the training, teachers will be exposed to innovative thinking and discussion whereby they will be able to implement identified goals and plans in order to provide a psychologically and emotionally safer environment for all children in their

This manual is grounded in the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Taskforce (IASC) Guidelines on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings (MHPSS), which outline appropriate minimum responses and standards for psychosocial support and mental health in emergencies. In addition, this manual promotes the standards set forth in the INEE Minimum Standards.


Initial pilot sessions of the training have shown that maximum results are achieved when the approach to psychosocial support by teachers is mainstreamed into the school curriculum and extra-curricular activities. There may be significant relevance to school counsellors as well, though the materials may require some adaptation for their training. Providing exposure to the content for administrators and other school personnel helps to ensure acceptance and sustainability of the programme, as well as a consistency of approach throughout the school system. The materials are oriented towards experienced teachers who already possess strong teaching skills. Shortened or modified versions of the training should be developed to meet the differing needs and capabilities of education personnel other than skilled teachers.

For access to the manual please click here.

The resource is a comprehensive 5 day facilitation guide, and would be useful for all teacher trainers, not just those working in emergency contexts, as it is important to consider children’s psychosocial well being  no matter where they live.

‘Universal Access and Human Rights’ -World Aids Awareness

Universal Access and Human Rights

Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. The World AIDS Day theme for 2009 is ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done. According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.4 million people living with HIV, including 2.1 million children. During 2008 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 2 million people died from AIDS.1 Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35.2
The vast majority of people with HIV and AIDS live in lower- and middle-income countries. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2009 is ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’. Global leaders have pledged to work towards universal access to HIV and AIDS treatment, prevention and care, recognising these as fundamental human rights. Valuable progress has been made in increasing access to HIV and AIDS services, yet greater commitment is needed around the world if the goal of universal access is to be achieved. Millions of people continue to be infected with HIV every year. In low- and middle-income countries, less than half of those in need of antiretroviral therapy are receiving it, and too many do not have access to adequate care services.3
The protection of human rights is fundamental to combating the global HIV and AIDS epidemic. Violations against human rights fuel the spread of HIV, putting marginalised groups, such as injecting drug users and sex workers, at a higher risk of HIV infection. By promoting individual human rights, new infections can be prevented and people who have HIV can live free from discrimination.
World AIDS Day provides an opportunity for all of us – individuals, communities and political leaders – to take action and ensure that human rights are protected and global targets for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care are met.

From WHO (Philippines)

Violation of human rights or insufficient compliance with human rights principles, compounded by limited or no access to health services, could significantly contribute to the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Asia, the World Health Organization warned today.

WHO said that unless drastic measures are taken to address these issues, the Region’s HIV/AIDS problem could significantly worsen despite progress in some countries.

WHO, in collaboration with Member States, marks World AIDS Day on 1 December to raise awareness worldwide about HIV/AIDS and to promote solidarity in the face of the pandemic. This year’s theme, “Universal Access and Human Rights”, seeks to ensure that human rights are protected and that global targets for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care are met.

WHO said violations against human rights fuel the spread of HIV and put marginalized groups, such as injecting drug users, sex workers, and men who have sex with men and transgender people at a higher risk of infection.

These population groups are more vulnerable to contracting HIV because they are often unable to realize their full civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. They also lack access to information and education and to the services necessary to ensure prevention and care and treatment of infection.

While access to HIV services is expanding in some settings, most-at-risk population groups continue to face technical, legal and socio-cultural barriers to accessing those services, WHO said.

Globally, an estimated 33.4 million people are living with HIV, with the Western Pacific Region accounting for 1.4 million infections at the end of 2008. The epidemic continues to grow in the Region, although showing signs of stabilization, with an estimated number of new infections of about 136 000 in 2008, a slight decline compared to earlier years.

The burden of HIV continues to be predominant among men (69% of HIV-infected adults in 2008), due to the more predominant engagement of men in high-risk behaviours such as unprotected commercial sex, unsafe use of injecting drugs, and unprotected sex amongst men.

Of concern is the number of new infections among children in the Region, with the total reaching 5700 in 2008. This is mainly a consequence of the low provision of services related to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in most Western Pacific countries. By contrast, paediatric HIV has become very uncommon in other settings with better PMTCT coverage.

APC – Association for Progressive Communications

With the explosion of communication technologies we often wonder if there are any rules? We  hear of countries blocking internet sites, but do we hear of those who are trying to provide frameworks and structures to allow more and better access to communication technologies? Well APC is the cyberplace to go…

What do they do exactly?

APC helps people get access to the internet where there is none or it is unaffordable, we help grassroots groups use the technology to develop their communities and further their rights, and we work to make sure that government policies related to information and communication serve the best interests of the general population, especially people living in developing countries. In all of our work we encourage people to network as a means of making other activities more sustainable. If people share their experiences and skills they have greater value over a longer period and often create a ripple effect.

Some examples of their present projects:

Communication for influence in Central, East and West Africa (CICEWA)

APC and KICTANet draw on the experience of their successes in the Africa ICT Policy Monitor project and the CATIA project to bring an integrated approach to ICT policy research, dissemination and advocacy through the building of sub-regional networks. They operate using the principle of multi-stakeholder partnerships developed through the CATIA experience to engage in evidence-based policy change. The project seeks to identify the political obstacles to extending affordable access to ICT infrastructure in Africa and to advocate for their removal in order to create a sound platform for sub-regional connectivity in East, West and Central Africa that will provide a platform for the effective use of ICTs in development processes.

Communications and Information Policy in Latin America – Advocacy

Oriented to influence national and regional ICT policy processes to ensure that demands and perspectives of civil society organisations are considered.

EroTICs: An exploratory research project into sexuality and the internet

What is “harmful content” on the internet? The definition is contestable, subjective and open to a range of interpretations, and the majority of interventions to combat it are mostly concerned with obscenity and child pornography. Sexual rights workers are troubled by the growing role of conservative forces – supported by religious extremists – and their attempts to encourage new legislation that would treat all online sexual exchanges as sexual predation and all adult content on the internet as pornography. This protectionist approach overshadows other important aspects of the internet that directly impact on internet users’ lives and their ability to access to vital information on sexuality, sexual health and sexual rights. EroTICs, an exploratory research just starting at APC, aims to narrow the gap between political assumptions and a better understanding of content and “harm” based on women’s real experience of sexuality online.

Feminist Tech Exchange

While the existence of a “digital divide” between ICT “haves” and “have nots” exists, the additional gender divide is often overlooked and women, particularly women in developing countries, are far less able to benefit from and influence the male-dominated ICT development than their male counterparts. Through skills diffusion and capacity building, the Feminist Tech Exchange (FTX) seeks to empower women’s rights organisations, advocates and feminists sidelined in the growth of the global digital commons. The Exchange has been developed in response to the expressed needs of feminist and women’s rights movements for greater understanding of emerging ICT and applications. At the same time, the Exchange is an opportunity to foster exchange between feminist and women’s rights movements and the ICT4D community through the participation of individuals involved in ICT for development projects who are looking to get a stronger understanding and integration of gender analysis and feminist values within their work.

GreeningIT – APC on ICTs, Climate Change & Environmental Sustainability

As a network promoting local community sustainable development, promoting the development and use of ICTs has been always closely linked with issues related to environmental sustainability. APC members have been implementing projects ranging from monitoring environmental degradation, to natural disaster and accident reporting, to the use of ICTs in managing energy resources more efficiently to research on low-power computing, alternative energy sources and e-waste management in developing countries. In 2008 these efforts led to a new APC-wide GreeningIT initiative that aims to address two critical challenges: How national ICT policy environments address ICTs, environmental sustainability and climate change; and How ICTs can be used more sustainably by ICTD practitioners, civil society organisations and service providers?

Take a look at their publications section:

APC 2009 APC’s assessment of the fourth Internet Governance Forum Johannesburg APC English
Wairagala Wakabi 2009 Bringing affordable telecommunications services to Uganda: A policy narrative and analysis Johannesbourg Association for Progressive Communications Full report
Willie Currie 2009 Written Submission to the United Nations Group on the Information Society (UNGIS) NEW YORK APC Full document
LC 2009 Media monitoring and evaluating 2008 MONTEVIDEO Association for Progressive Communications Media monitoring report
APC 2009 ICTs for democracy: Information and Communication Technologies for the Enhancement of Democracy – with a Focus on Empowerment Stockholm Swedish International Development Agency English