Internet Rights and Principles Coalition (IRPC)
The Internet Rights and Principles Dynamic Coalition (IRPC)based at the UN Internet Governance Forum (UN-IGF) is a network of organisations and individuals working to uphold human rights in the online environment and to root internet governance processes and systems in human rights standards.
The dynamic coalition sets out to promote and provide a space for multi-stakeholder dialogue and collaboration and aims to be an umbrella platform for facilitating collaboration on human rights issues in the Internet Governance Forum process.
The Coalition was formed during the Hyderabad IGF in 2008, following a decision to merge the Internet Bill of Rights and Framework of Principles for the Internet coalitions and joined later by the Freedom of Expression Coalition.
The IRPC’s main output document is the Charter of HumanRights and Principles for the Internet. Launched in 2011, it has been fully translated into 12 languages and its 10 broad principles are available in 27 languages. The Charter’s 21 articles and 10 broad principles articulate existing international human rights law and norms, while applying them to the online context. The Coalition’s outreach work also draws on the Charter, which acts as its foundational document.
Through the Charter, the IRPC has supported rights-inspired initiatives and has engaged in collaborative work with other dynamic coalitions, civil society networks, universities, political representatives and civil servants, and the technical community, to raise awareness on the need to implement rights-based frameworks for the online environment.
IRPC in 2021: OurActivities
2021 marked the 10th anniversary of the Coalition’s Charter of Human Rights and Principles for theInternet, and the IRPC dedicated a few events to celebrate and to reflect on the 10 years of the publication of this document. The Coalition contributed and participated in regional and national IGF initiatives, such as the European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG), the Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF), and the UK IGF, among others. The IRPC also engaged in other activities outside the IGF environment, contributing to discussions on the protection of human rights online and promoting environmental sustainability as well as its ongoing commitments as observers to the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) and other rights-based initiatives such as RightsCon.
- Internet Governance Forum – IGF2021
The Coalition’s engagement at IGF 2021 included organising two workshops, holding the IRPC annual meeting, participating in the DC Main Session, and joining the Association for Progressive Communications’ (APC) Symposium.
- The IRPC Annual Meeting:The Charter at 10: Achievements, Challenges & What’s Next? was a reflection on the Charter of Human Rights and Principle for the Internet’s achievements, main challenges, and way forward.
- Workshop 184: Syncing AI, HumanRights, and the SDGs: The Impossible Dream? brought together discussions on Human Rights, AI, and its environmental implications.
- Workshop 167: Digital Human Rights: How IGF-born guides support the Roadmap explored how digital human rights documents emerging within the IGF or inspired by the work of the IGF community, support the UN Roadmap for Digital Cooperation and the promotion of human rights online.
- In the Dynamic Coalition Main Session Digital cooperation in practice: IGF Dynamic Coalitions, the IRPC reflected on how its work contributes to advancing the debate on specific topics especially on human rights and emerging issue areas at the IGF, such as environmental sustainability.
- The IRPC participated in the APC event: Global Information Society Watch (GISWatch)2020 IGF launch: Technology, the environment and a sustainable world. The Coalition also participated in the APC pre-event “Community-led Paths to Just and Sustainable Digital Transformation.”
Members of the IRPC SC were involved in the work of the IGF Policy Network on Environment (PNE) and are also members of the Coalition for Digital Environmental Sustainability (CODES), co-championed by the German Environment Agency, the Kenyan Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the International Science Council, Future Earth, UNEP and UNDP in coordination with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology.
2. Other national and regional IGF Initiatives
European Dialogue on Internet Governance (EuroDIG)
- The IRPC participated in EuroDIG and was a key part of the organising team for EuroDIG 2021’s Focus Session 1: Green IG and Sustainability. This session was a follow up of EuroDIG’s 2020’s Plenary 4 asking representatives from governments, the technical community, and civil society to present clear, and feasible action plans for their contribution to ensuring the environmental sustainability of the internet’s design and use.
- The IRPC hosted a IRPC meeting Translation as Action – the IRPC Charter @ 10: Launching the Italian Booklet Edition to mark the 10th anniversary of the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet. The meeting included the digital launch of the Italian translation of the Charter and a discussion about the translation process.
Asia Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF)
The IRPC joined the Closing Plenary – Sail, not Drift: Multistakeholderism and Diversity at APrIGF, a discussion on multistakeholderism and how the APrIGF process can become more diverse, inclusive, and representative of the different stakeholders in the IGF community.
3. Other Events and Collaborative work
- At RightsCon2021 the IRPC co-organised the Strategy Session: “What governance framework to minimise theenvironmental footprintofthe digitaltransition?”together with the European Greens/EFA, The Association for Progressive Communications (APC), and the Mozilla Foundation. The Coalition also held a Lightning Talk: “The Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet at 10: Fostering synergies to better promote human rights online.”
- In the ICT-AFRICA SYMPOSIUM 2021, the Coalition joined the discussion on the protection of human rights in digital spaces.
- The IRPC participated in the reflection on human rights in the digital age at the Ghana School on Internet Governance (GhanaSIG), and highlighted the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet.
- The IRPC participated in the YouthxPolicyMakersWorkshop:Access&Accessibilityin the lead up to IGF 2021.
- The IRPC also participated in the Asia-Pacific School on Internet Governance on a panel addressing digital democracy, human rights, and the environment. The APSIC is a regional School of Internet Governance working towards raising awareness and capacity building within the Asia-Pacific region.
4. The Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet
The translation of the Charter is a critical part of the work of this Coalition, and translation teams all around the world have made this document more widely accessible to local communities. The IRPC Charter is currently available in 12 languages and its 10 Principles have been translated into 27 languages.
In 2021, we launched the Italian translation of the Charter at EuroDIG 2021 in Trieste. The translations of the Charter in Catalan and Georgian are in progress, while the Nepali translation of the Charter in collaboration with Digital Rights Nepal has also been completed and it is being processed in booklet form.
5. Council of Europe:Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI) Observership
Since 2014 the IRPC has been an observer to the Steering Committee on Media and Information Society (CDMSI)at the Council of Europe. As part of its observer status, the Coalition attended the Plenary meetings in June (19th Plenary Meeting) and December (20th Plenary Meeting). The IRPC also attended the Conference of Ministers responsible for the Media and Information Society on Artificial intelligence – Intelligent politics. Challenges and opportunities for media and democracy on 10-11 June in Nicosia, Cyprus, and the seminar Human Rights in the Digital Sphere. Throughout the year, the IRPC also contributed by giving input and feedback to the CDMSI’s outputs.
6. Membership and Social Media Engagement
The IRPC membership continues to grow. More than 400 individual and organisations across all stakeholder groups have now joined the IRPC mailing list and the Coalition’s presence on social media networks has also been growing steadily with more than 2,000 followers on Facebook and more than 1,500 on Twitter.
In 2021, the IRPC elected its new Steering Committee following the annual election. The role of the IRPC Steering Committee (IRPC SC) is to coordinate the Coalition’s outreach work. The IRPC SC meets regularly throughout the year to update on ongoing and future activities.
The Structure of the IRPC Steering Committee in 2021
- Minda Moreira, Co-Chair
(also Council of Europe CDMSI Observership Coordinator with Marianne Franklin and social media and web manager)
- June Parris, SC member, Secretary
- Marianne Franklin, SC member
(also Outreach and Partnerships Coordinator, Council of Europe CDMSI Observership Coordinator, Charter Booklet language editions Editor)
- Mohamed Farahad, SC Member
- Michael J. Oghia, SC Member
- Jacob Odame-Baiden, SC Member
- Santosh Sigdel, SC Member
- Raashi Saxena, SC Member
- Africa: Jacob Odame-Baiden
- Asia-Pacific: Marianne Franklin, Santosh Sigdel, Raashi Saxena
- Latin America And Caribbean: June Parris
- Middle East and North Africa: Mohamed Farahad
- Europe – Minda Moreira, Michael J. Oghia, and Marianne Franklin
- Charter Booklet – Project Coordinator: Marianne Franklin
In 2021 the Steering Committee met five times throughout the year to discuss and coordinate the IRPC participation in internet governance activities at the national, regional, and international level, collaboration with other partners, and other local and regional initiatives. The Coalition also held two general meetings: one at EuroDIG and the usual IRPC annual meeting at the IGF.
Prospects for 2022
The events and meetings organised by the Coalition in 2021 led to very fruitful discussions on the work of the IRPC, along with the relevance of the Charter of Human Rights and Principles for the Internet after one decade since it entered the public domain, and in the context of the pandemic.
They highlighted the urgent need to address and uphold human rights in the online environment, that more can be done to promote human rights in the digital sphere, and that strengthening collaboration with other groups and initiatives is crucial to achieving the Coalition’s goals.
The discussions also underscored that while the Charter continues to be highly relevant, it remains a living document so there is space to deepen some of its provisions in light of current and emerging issues; e.g. environmental sustainability, artificial intelligence (AI).
2022 may be the year that the Coalition begins developing some of the Charter’s Articles in light of these developments, e.g. through protocols pertaining to specific Clauses such as Article 4.
This coming year will definitely bring further collaborations and further translations of the Charter.