Paradigm Initiative Harps on Digital Rights, Launches Toolkit

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Paradigm Initiative (PIN) joined the world to commemorate this year’s International Human Rights Day, with the theme: Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights.

To celebrate the day and bring the theme to life, PIN launched a digital rights toolkit for human rights and other civil society actors.

PIN’s Executive Director, Mr. Gbenga Sesan, said: “PIN and its partners are launching Ayeta, a Digital Rights Toolkit to prepare civil society actors for when their work puts them in harm’s way.”
Paradigm Initiative reflected on the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, insisting that because everyone is human, they are entitled to inalienable rights such as the right to life, human dignity, and equality.

According to PIN, during the COVID-19 pandemic which constituted most of the challenges faced within countries across the globe, lives were lost and the right to health and education became a priority for human rights protection. In Africa, many were left behind in accessing education and healthcare following the exposition of inefficient healthcare systems and technology deficient education sectors.

PIN Community Manager, Thobekile Matimbe, said: “As we reflect on our fundamental rights and freedoms, it is critical to highlight that digital rights are human rights. Digital rights are the rights that have enabled education in our African countries and provided a platform for the enjoyment of quality life. As we embrace the new normal, we urge African States to ensure better recovery from the effects of the pandemic by embracing technology and enabling internet access to marginalised communities and vulnerable groups.”

In ensuring that information relevant to human rights protection is accessible, PIN reminds African States to adhere to Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Principle 37 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information in Africa (the declaration) which provides that states shall facilitate the rights to freedom of expression and access to information online and the means necessary to exercise these rights. States are also called to recognise that universal, equitable, affordable and meaningful access to the internet is necessary for the realisation of freedom of expression, access to information, and the exercise of other human rights.

The declaration further states that in providing access to the internet, States shall take specific measures to ensure that marginalised groups have the effective exercise of their rights online as well as adopt laws, policies, and other measures to promote affordable access to the internet for children that equip them with digital literacy skills for online education and safety, protect them from online harm and safeguard their privacy and identity.