The Role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in Protecting and Promoting Human Rights Online

This week (26th-28th May 2017), representatives of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from across the continent will gather in Johannesburg, South Africa to discuss and strengthen their understanding of some of the most pressing human rights challenges facing the continent today: in an era of rapidly rising Internet use how can the internet be a true enabler of human rights, and how do NHRIs play their role in protecting human rights in the digital age?

The adoption by the ACHPR in November 2016 of a resolution on freedom of expression and access to information on the internet (ACHPR/Res. 362(LIX) 2016), which references the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms, represents a key opportunity for African NHRIs to ensure that the internet is a tool for the flourishing, and not for the repression, of human rights.

The three-day meeting of NHRIs, civil society members, media experts and academics will explore how human rights frameworks apply to the exercise of rights online with the aim of ensuring that NHRIs leave the meeting with an understanding of the main issues and strategies for promoting internet rights and freedoms in their respective countries. Furthermore, it is hoped that the meeting will strengthen relationships between stakeholders and establish a firm footing to continue collaboration in the future on internet rights and freedoms in Africa.