Human Rights

How Telecom Companies in Africa Can Respond Better to Internet Disruptions

By Victor Kapiyo |

In recent years, disruptions to the internet and social media applications have emerged as a common and growing trend of digital repression especially in authoritarian countries in Africa. Since 2019, countries such as Algeria, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and…

Why Ethiopia’s One year Old Hate Speech Law Is Off The Mark

News Update |

It has been one year since Ethiopia’s hate speech and disinformation law was passed.

At the time it was passed the government argued that the law was necessary to prevent individuals from engaging in speech that incited violence and promoted hatred and discrimination against a person or group.

It was also intended to promote tolerance and mutual respect and to control the dissemination and proliferation of…

Civil Society Organisations Call For a Full Integration of Human Rights in The Deployment of Digital Identification Systems

Press Release |

The Principles on Identification for Sustainable Development (the Principles), the creation of which was facilitated by the World Bank’s Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative in 2017, provide one of the few attempts at global standard-setting for the development of digital identification systems across the world. They are endorsed by many global and regional organizations (the “Endorsing Organizations”) that…

Tanzania Tramples Digital Rights in Fight Against Covid-19

CIPESA Writer |

Since the first case of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) was announced in Tanzania on March 16, 2020, the government has been in the spotlight for its handling of the pandemic. It has denied the severity of the pandemic, suspended media houses, and criminalised Covid-19-related speech through enactment and enforcement of repressive regulations. 

In turn, there have been growing concerns…

In DR Congo, will new legislation protect citizens’ digital rights?

Providence Baraka |

This article is part of UPROAR, a Small Media initiative that is urging governments to address digital rights challenges at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). 

In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where armed conflict has gripped the region for decades, rebel groups often use kidnappings to secure ransoms in their bid for power in the region.

According to LUCHA, a nonviolent, nonpartisan citizen movement,…

New Technologies Must Serve, Not Hinder, Right to Peaceful Protest, Bachelet Tells States

By the United Nations Human Rights |
GENEVA (25 June 2020) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday called on States and businesses to ensure that new technologies, including facial recognition and so-called ‘less-lethal weapons,’ are developed and used in ways that do not disrupt and prevent people’s ability to exercise their fundamental rights to peaceful assembly and…

ECOWAS Court upholds digital rights, rules 2017 internet shutdowns in Togo illegal

By Access Now |

June 25, 2020 — Today, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Community Court of Justice ruled that the September 2017 internet shutdown ordered by the Togolese government during protests is illegal and an affront to the applicants’ right to freedom of expression. The court ordered the government of Togo to pay two million CAF to the plaintiffs…

CIPESA Submission to UN Special Rapporteur Spotlights Rights Concerns in Africa’s Covid-19 Response

By Daniel Mwesigwa |

Many African governments have employed heavy-handed methods in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These measures, both offline and online, have undermined various rights and there are fears that they might be entrenched after the pandemic subsides.

In response, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Association and Assembly  has  issued detailed key principles which governments and law enforcement agencies…

Joint Civil Society Statement: States Use of Digital Surveillance Technologies to Fight Pandemic Must Respect Human Rights

Joint Statement |

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health emergency that requires a coordinated and large-scale response by governments worldwide. However, States’ efforts to contain the virus must not be used as a cover to usher in a new era of greatly expanded systems of invasive digital surveillance.

We, the undersigned organizations, urge governments to show leadership in tackling the…

An Attempt to Gag the Media’: Journalists on Nigeria’s Proposed Social Media Bill

By Jonathan Rozen

At a public hearing on Nigeria’s social media bill held in Abuja last monththe voice of Chris Isiguzo, president of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), rang clearly across the room: “This bill…seeks to pigeonhole Nigerians from freely expressing themselves.” The NUJ is “totally opposed” to it, he said.

This strong opposition was echoed by multiple other civil society…