• Mon. Nov 28th, 2022

CSOs Demand Africa Promotion of Human Rights in Cybersecurity Laws

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As cybersecurity issues have the potential to affect peoples’ well-being, rights, and other aspects of human existence, a group of representatives of African civil society organizations has called on governments on the continent to advance and promote a human rights-respecting approach in their cybersecurity law and policy-making.

The 2022 NGO Forum in Banjul, Gambia featured a session that was organized by Media Rights Agenda (MRA) in association with Global Partners Digital (GPD), a London-based organization. The session urged the African governments to participate more actively in the international treaty and policy-making process.

Additionally, the delegates asked that the states boost African civil society actors’ understanding of and participation in UN cyber processes related to responsible state behavior in cyberspace.

The one-day meeting was held on the margins of the 73rd Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the 35th commemoration of the Commission currently taking place from October 20 to November 9, 2022.

Facilitated by the Head of MRA’s Legal Department, Ms Obioma Okonkwo, and Ms Thobekile Matimbe, the Partnerships and Engagement Manager of Paradigm Initiative, the session was attended by representatives of African civil society organizations from across the continent.

In the resolutions adopted at the end of the session, they called on African governments to play a more active role in the ongoing work of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on the security of and in the use of information and communications technologies (OEWG), in order to ensure that African perspectives and voices are well-reflected in the outcome of the process while also protecting the interests of African countries and their citizens.

The participants suggested that in engaging international treaty and policy processes, African governments should build multi-stakeholder partnerships and delegations in order to ensure that the diverse competencies and expertise among the different stakeholder groups, which exist at the national and regional levels, are adequately harnessed to advance and protect African interests.

They called for greater collaboration between African governments and civil society organizations to create awareness among citizens and the entire populations of African countries of cybersecurity issues as the involvement and engagement by ordinary citizens are critical to the successful campaign for and realization of cybersecurity.

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