[Statement] Giving power to the people through the internet -HRonlinePH.com

Giving power to the people through the internet

What matters is not technology, but how we use it.

The use of the internet is one of the issues to have arisen in recent times. And we all stood not merely as witnesses but as users of the transforming power of the internet in advancing various issues of human rights from freedom of expression, gender equality to climate justice among others.

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The internet provides an enormous space for people to speak up against abuses by authorities and claim for their rights, and social media is increasingly playing a huge role in disasters and humanitarian efforts. The typhoon Yolanda, earthquake in Bohol and more recently the typhoon Ruby all saw prominent use of social medial by survivors, relief aid organizations and media alike. The use of the internet also enables affected communities to quickly transform themselves into first responders and messenger of news.

While we recognize that the internet in and of itself does not save lives, the intelligent and effective use of internet does.  In the World Disasters Report 2013 by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, “focuses on the rapid spread of technologies, especially information and communication technologies, which is changing humanitarian action and humanitarians, too.” The internet, in the hands of the people, we can witness effective and life-saving results and expose massive corruption-laden rehabilitation projects.

This is evidently shows the power of the internet being used for advancement of human rights and for public good.

While the internet rights are already considered human rights and fundamental freedoms, yet they are increasingly at risk in so many aspects of our lives. Not only for the fact that people anywhere and everywhere who speak up against any forms of abuses, injustices and violence are often placed in danger.  Access to the internet in some part of the globe remains censored or banned. Even in democratic countries like the Philippines, there are already attempts to infringe the right to privacy in communications that consequently threaten the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression and opinion.

We fully recognize that with every right, there is a corresponding responsibility, though freedom requires self regulation, the responsible use of the internet offers concrete actions to make humanitarian assistance more effective and accountable, and we must intelligently use the internet to Inform, Inspire and Mobilize people to effect real change.

Today as we commemorate the International Human Rights Day 2014, we must bear in mind that human rights are inherent among us. Let us all work together to contribute in the advancement of human rights, make use of the internet powerful and effective every day.

Human Rights Online Philippines

December 10, 2014

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