Everyone has the right to use the Internet and digital technologies in relation to freedom of assembly and association, including through social networks and platforms. No restrictions on usage of and access to the Internet and digital technologies in relation to the right to freedom of assembly and association may be imposed unless the restriction is prescribed by law, pursues a legitimate aim as expressly listed under international human rights law (as specified in Principle 3 of this Declaration) and is necessary and proportionate in pursuance of a legitimate aim.
The Internet can augment the opportunities and capabilities of individuals and groups to form associations and to manage organisations and associations. It can increase the membership and reach of associations by allowing groups of people to communicate despite physical boundaries. It provides new tools for those organising assemblies offline, as well as the possibility of conducting assemblies and protests online. Hence, everyone should enjoy unrestricted access to the Internet. Any shutting down or blocking of access to social networking platforms, and in fact the Internet in general, constitutes a direct interference with this right. Free and open access to the Internet must therefore be protected at all times.
Sandra Kambo is from Kenya where she works at AS&K Digital Communications, as a software and test engineer. She has practiced in this role for the past six years, while being in the ICT industry for over a decade npw. In her blog post she reflects on her experience at the African School on Internet Governance and how it can be applied to eveyday life situations from her country's perspective.
Maha Jouini is an Addis Ababa-based Tunisian blogger, and women’s rights and indigenous rights activist, with a special focus on the Amazigh community. She collaborates with the Campaign to End Child Marriage and is on the executive board of the Regional Coalition of Women Human Rights Defenders in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). She is also a translator for Global Voices.
Human Rights groups and organisations responded to internet shutdown in Uganda during national elections through a joint letter to the African Union, Ugandan Government and other important parastatal institutions. The letter expressed the through the shutting down of the internet, human rights violations were committed.