NGOs want Human Rights Commissioner at WSIS

By EDRi · June 19, 2003

The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the first part of which
will be held in Geneva from 10 to 12 December this year, tries to involve
governments, the private sector and the civil society in its process.
Intergovernmental organizations and various UN Agencies are also part of
the WSIS, with the International Telecommunications Union being the
organizer of the whole event. But so far, the absence of the UN Office of
the High Commissioner for Human Rights has been remarkable.

43 International non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have signed an open
letter to Mr Bertrand Ramcharan, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human
Rights, calling for his active participation. The initiative is also
endorsed by EDRI.

The participation of the Human Rights Commissioner to the preparatory
meetings and the World Summit itself would help to ensure that human rights
language in the WSIS process is comprehensive, strong and consistent with
resolutions and decisions adopted by the Commission on Human Rights. The
development of an information and communication society has to build on a
core set of principles that are fundamental for democratic societies.
International human rights standards represent such principles and should
serve as the international framework guiding regional and national policies
and actions.

A copy has been sent by email to Mr Adama Samassekou, President of the WSIS
Preparatory Process, and to Mr Pierre Gagné, Director of the WSIS Executive

This letter is a joint initiative from the World Federalist Movement and
the WSIS Human Rights in the Information Society Caucus, a group of 22 NGOs.

The letter with the list of signatures is available on the Human Rights
Caucus web site

Draft action plan and declaration of principles (05.06.2003)

Official website of organisers of the World Summit

(Contribution by Meryem Marzouki, IRIS and co-coordinator of the WSIS Human
Rights in the Information Society Caucus)