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Panel meeting with EU delegation

21 November, 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)



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