Have you ever thought of your rights as an individual? Well I know that we may have had that talk shoved down our throats, once in a while. I remember while growing up there was always this phrase that we uttered out once we were up for disciplining. Corporal punishment in my primary school time was really popular. I am not sure if it still is: but well, it was. And every time that a teacher stood to let us know that we were going to be punished because of our wrong doing: the first thing we mumbled was: We know our rights – we are not supposed to be beaten.
That is because the Commissioner in charge of Education and Sports of Uganda then, Mr Fagil Mandy was leading a campaign that was saying: ‘Abolish Corporal Punishment’. So whenever we heard that, our hearts sang in praise: But if you went to missionary school like I did, then probably you were more known to the ‘Spare the rod, Spoil the child’ tagline. So corporal punishment was a must.
Why are you talking about corporal punishment in schools – you may ask? Well, what I really want to talk about is rights; MTN Uganda once in a while bombards us with these messages: ‘It is your right to free internet’ as they dish out 10MB free to all their subscribers. Well I usually get mine: not sure if the rest of you do.
On 6th July 2012, in a vote of the Human Rights Council, the United Nations passed a resolution that calls for individuals to have the same rights online as off. Quite interesting in my opinion. This resolution obviously could have a lasting impact on how the Internet is controlled, and censored, the world around.
As quoted by RawStory, the US ambassador Eileen Donahoe called the passage of the resolution “momentous for the Human Rights Council.” She went on to characterize the bill as the first from the UN that “confirms that human rights in the Internet realm must be protected with the same commitment as in the real world.”
The resolution attracted some 85 state co-sponsors, 30 of which sit on the Council. The United States, along with Nigeria, Sweden, Turkey, and Brazil presented the bill. There were opponents, including India, China, and Russia. As you might expect, countries that have a history of repressing free speech both offline and on, formed the resolution’s detractors.
According to The Australian, Tunisia found the passage of the bill to have more than symbolic import. Its ambassador, as quoted by the paper, stated that “the most important result of the Tunisian revolution is this right to freedom of expression [making the passage of the resolution] very important at the moment.” He went on to note that the freedom of expression online is a “major tool for economic development.” And to that I very well agree. The problem is though how well this is adapted to and embraced. Countries like China are already against it:
Will the resolution lead to sweeping freedoms in countries that control their citizen’s Internet access? No, but it is a step in the right direction. I am not sure if Uganda was present for that vote. But, I am sure without a doubt that online presence counts for so much.
Credits: The Next WebHits:3130