Panel meeting with EU delegation

By EDRi · November 21, 2005

On the closing day of the Summit, Viviane Reding, European Commissioner
for Information Society and Media and Catherine Trautmann, Member of the
European Parliament co-hosted a Workshop on “Human Rights and the
Information Society”. Trautmann (Social Democrats) also was the special
rapporteur on the WSIS for the European Parliament. Her report was adopted
in plenary on 23 June 2005.

Speakers included: Ambeyi Ligabo, UN special rapporteur on freedom of
expression, Viviane Reding, European Commissioner for Information Society
and Media, Catherine Trautmann from the EU Parliament, Sidiki Kaba,
president of the International League of Human Rights, Sharon Hom from
Human Rights in China, and Rikke Frank Jørgensen, Danish Human Rights
Institute and author of this contribution.

The purpose of the workshop was to cover a range of issues pertaining to
the role and place of human rights in the Information Society and to
provide an opportunity for representatives from civil society and from the
European Union Institutions to exchange views and share respective
concerns, perspectives and recommendations on HR in the IS.

All speakers expressed strong support of the need to uphold human rights
standards in an information society context, and stressed the value of
more civil society inclusiveness. Rikke Frank Jørgensen stressed that
though the European Commission and the European Parliament are generally
supportive of human rights, there is a tendency to flag greater support
for human rights protection in other countries, while not being as
critical to the EUs own policy and legislation.

As examples she mentioned data retention, copyright and the transfer of
passenger data, and called for stronger human rights proofing of proposed
legislation within the EU. She also addressed the fact that many Tunisian
civil society organisations were prevented from participating to the
Summit, just as the Citizen Summit had been prevented. Unfortunately, the
intended debate with the audience was disrupted by a number of Tunisians
who aggressively occupied all speaking slots for the audience and
aggressively yelled at panellists for addressing human rights in Tunisia.

Report Catherine Trautmann (P6_A(2005)0172)

(Contribution by Rikke Frank Jørgensen from the Danish Human Rights
Institute and EDRI-member Digital Rights)