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Defending online freedoms: human rights in the digital era


Asia Pacific Forum LogoAsia Pacific Forum

The APF, in partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), will launch a new online data collection tool to support Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) in the Asia Pacific region, at a virtual event on 7 December 2023. 

The event, ‘Defending online freedoms: human rights in the digital era’ will also feature the release of a comprehensive report by the APF in collaboration with Asia Centre: 'Digital Security & Human Rights Defenders Landscape: Recommendations for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) in the Asia Pacific.'

This report examines how NHRIs are safeguarding the rights of HRDs against digital security threats, highlighting the imperative for these institutions to enhance their monitoring and reporting capabilities. Additionally, the report provides actionable recommendations for NHRIs to amplify their support for HRDs engaged in human rights advocacy.

Support for using new monitoring tool adapted to Asia Pacific region

During the launch event, participants will learn about the new monitoring tool to support NHRIs, HRD networks, and groups in monitoring and reporting evidence-based data on civic space, both online and offline. 

DIHR’s ‘Right to Defend Rights’ tool evaluates the enabling environment for HRDs via human rights indicators and two questionnaires based on international human rights norms and standards. The APF and DIHR have designed a support package to deliver technical support to NHRIs in the Asia Pacific region who wish to use the tool. The package will include online training and peer learning and will be available in early 2024. 

By establishing a baseline for the current human rights situation within each country, the tool addresses the pressing need for HRDs' protection in the face of evolving challenges.  

The tool also produces data to inform NHRI strategic priorities and activities, provides a reporting framework on human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and facilitates stakeholder engagement to inform policy development on human rights.   

Event speakers/panellists:

  • Mary Aileen Bacalso, Executive Director, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)  
  • James Gomez, Director, Asia Centre  
  • Dondov Sangisharav, HRDs Commissioner, National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia  
  • Carol Rask, Chief Advisor, Danish Institute for Human Rights  
  • Atnike Nova Sigiro, Chairperson, KOMNAS HAM Indonesia  
  • Fatia Maulidiyanti, Woman HRDs and former coordinator of The Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) 

Download the Agenda here

For further information, please contact Fia Hamid-Walker, APF Human Rights Defenders Project Officer at: fiahamid-walker@asiapacificforum.net  

Date: 24 November 2023

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Funded by the European Union

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