Promoting Effective and Inclusive ICT Policy in Africa

CIPESA, Small Media Make Stakeholder Submissions to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Digital Rights in South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe

By Ashnah Kalemera |

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) together with Small Media last week made joint stakeholder submissions on digital rights in South Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The submissions were made as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism which is an assessment of a country’s human rights under the auspices of the Human Rights Council. Every United Nations (UN) member state has its human rights record assessed, and all UN member states are involved in the review process. It happens every four-and-a-half years, for every state.

The submissions urge the three countries to ensure that rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information, equal access and opportunity as well as data protection and privacy are protected both offline and online pursuant to constitutional guarantees, regional and international instruments. Based on developments since the three countries’ previous UPR back in November 2016, the submissions make recommendations to be considered during the upcoming third cycle of the UPR, tentatively scheduled for November 2021.

The South Sudan submission was made in partnership with Defy Hate Now and supported by eight institutions – Rise Initiative for Women’s Rights Advocacy (RiWA), Freedom of Expression Hub, Koneta hub, Okay Africa Foundation, Anataban Initiative, IamPeace, Internet Governance Forum (IGF) South Sudan and Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) Network.

The submission for Uganda was supported by Access Now, Freedom of Expression Hub, Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Internet Society – Uganda Chapter and Pollicy.

Access Now, Paradigm Initiative, Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, Association for Progressive Communication (APC), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Zimbabwe Centre for Media and Information Literacy (ZCMIL), Media Alliance of Zimbabwe supported the Zimbabwe Submission.

Read the full submissions:

The three submissions bring to 14 the total number of UPR submissions made by CIPESA and Small Media on digital rights in Africa since 2018. Previous submissions made include: Ethiopia, the Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania