AIRA MONTHLY BULLETIN (JUNE)
ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa
On June 4th, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa released documentaries on Kenya and Uganda that provide insight into individuals’ lived experiences with surveillance measures and practices. The documentaries focus on how the rights to privacy, data protection and freedom of expression were infringed upon and violated as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in 2020.
On June 16th, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa published a preliminary analysis on Rwanda’s Draft Data Protection Bill. The analysis shows that while the draft law contains crucial rights enabling individuals’ access to their personal information, significant gaps are affecting the protection and promotion of freedom of expression and information.
Activities for July:
ARTICLE 19 continues to carry out various advocacy activities and research on freedom of expression, digital rights, privacy and surveillance.
Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
On 2nd June, CIPESA under the Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF) Awards USD 63,000 in New Advocacy Grants. Eight current and previous grantees of the Africa Digital Rights Fund (ADRF) were awarded grants to scale their digital rights policy advocacy efforts across six countries – Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal and Somalia.
On 2nd June, CIPESA published an article on Cryptocurrencies; are they the Future of Freedom and Financial Inclusion in Africa? The emergence of cryptocurrencies in Africa is particularly exciting due to the opportunities they provide for Africans in cash-based and informal economies to participate in alternative financial infrastructures. Digital currencies are thus arguably positioned as more appealing and accessible alternatives to the status quo. They attract comparatively lower transaction fees and carry less of the bureaucratic burdens prevalent in existing financial systems, even those between neighboring countries. Further, unlike mobile money and traditional currency, which are prone to interference by authorities, most digital currencies such as Bitcoin are resistant to external suppression because they are not controlled by central banking authorities.
On 3rd June, CIPESA and Rudi International supported the formation of the Digital Rights Lawyers’ Coalition in the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC). This coalition that comprises advocates from six cities- Bukavu, Goma, Kinshasa, Kisangani, Lubumbashi and Matadi – aims to promote digital rights in DRC, and will provide support to members to grow their skills in digital rights litigation, and promote collaborative advocacy and research with other digital rights actors in the country.
On 9th June, CPIESA hosted a virtual roundtable discussion on digital inclusion. The discussion focused on how stakeholders used digital inclusion benchmark data to support their efforts towards digital inclusion. The benchmark can be found here
Activities for July:
CIPESA continues to focus on advocacy for decision-making processes that foster the use of ICT in support of development and poverty reduction.
CC-Hub/i-Hub addressed crucial EdTech issues relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was part of EdTech Mondays; a program organized by the Mastercard Foundation that provides a platform to facilitate critical conversations on the use of technology for teaching and learning by bringing together key stakeholders, including policymakers, Ed-tech entrepreneurs, teachers, and parents. Join the Telegram group to learn more about the program.
On 9th June, The CcHUB, in partnership with Music Tech Space launched the Music-Tech Innovation Challenge aimed at identifying and developing innovative solutions in the Nigerian music industry.
On 17th June, CcHub hosted Lukes Jordan, a practitioner-in-residence at MIT's Governance Lab to discuss his 'Don't Build it' guide aimed at helping the community of technologists avoid bad projects. Check out the complete 'Don't Build it" guide.
Activities for July:
- CcHUB is collaborating with Google Startups in Africa as they launch the inaugural Black Founders Fund Africa with a USD 3m non-dilutive grant, Google Cloud credits and Ad grants, mentorship & support for 50 early-stage African startups with diverse teams. CcHUB will be managing and disbursing the funds to the selected startups in line with Google's selection criteria. Learn more about the program and to apply. The application deadline is on 7thJuly 2021.
- CcHub invites you to join its GovLab Community. If you're all about solving governance and civic challenges using technology and innovation, this community is for you. Fill in this form to be a part of the community
- CcHub and i-Hub are offering FREE digital skills and advocacy training to persons with disabilities . Sign-up at https://bit.ly/digitalskills4pwd and learn more about digital skills for work and life, social media and digital marketing, online safety, privacy and digital rights, digital advocacy.
Strathmore University, Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law (CIPIT)
On 1st June, the Centre for Global Development website published an article titled; Why the US-Kenya Free Trade Agreement Negotiations Set a Bad Precedent for Data Policyby CIPIT’s Melissa Omino and Isaac Rutenberg. Some of the issues in the articles were raised during the first AIRA Talks in May 2021.
On 3rd June, The Artificial Intelligence Labour Gender Gap in Africa Study by CIPIT’s AI team was featured in Synapse Magazine (Africa's 4IR Trade & Innovation Magazine) Issue 12. The Study Lays Bare Gender Inequality in African AI Industry. For instance, only 29% of the AI workforce in Africa are women. The study analyses the causes of this gender gap and urges greater inclusion of women in the design of AI.
CIPIT participated actively in RightsCon:
- Research fellow Grace Mutung’u joined a panel on 10th June 2021 RightsCon 2021 to discuss the topic: ‘Digital ID: What is it good for? Lessons from our research on Uganda's identity system and access to social services.’
- Dr. Melissa Omino was on a panel for a session at RightsCon 2021 titled ‘Better Safe than Sorry; Regulate AI before Trade Negotiators do it for you.’ The session focused on how the ongoing international trade negotiations may severely hamper the room for countries to regulate AI effectively to safeguard consumer, civil and human rights.
- Grace Mutung’u was on the panel of a session at RightsCon 2021 on Putting human rights at the heart of development cooperation: digitalization in Sub-Saharan Africa. See flyer.
- CIPIT and Universiteit Utrecht hosted a Panel Session at RightsCon 2021 titled ‘The good earth: the ethical implications of the implementation of artificial intelligence in agriculture in Africa.’See flyer.
On 11th June, CIPIT published an article on Data Protection (Compliance and Enforcement) Regulations 2021: Key Considerations.
On 14 June 2021, CIPIT published a report on Data Protection in the Kenyan Banking Sector. The report is from research carried out in 2019 and 2020. This report analyses the publicly available data policies of commercial banks in Kenya, providing an overview of the approaches taken by the studied banks with respect to data protection for existing and prospective customers.
On 16th June, CIPIT released to the public the first issue of JIPIT, an academic journal by CIPIT. In this inaugural edition, the featured contributions address topics such as digital political micro-targeting, taxation, software copyright, online freedom of speech, and anti-counterfeit measures. Each paper is innovative, timely and alive to the context. Be on the lookout for the call submissions for the next issue!
Activities for July:
- On 9th July 2021, CIPIT will host a Virtual Information Session for their Senior and Junior Writing Prizes. Are you interested in submitting your work for consideration? Sign up for the information session here.
On 3rd June, Paradigm Initiative hosted the Net Rights Coalition Webinar: Sharpening Action Through Research. The objectives of this were to learn of the main challenges and limitations in digital rights research and to increase capacity in conducting and making use of digital rights research.
On 3rd June, PIN released the report on digital rights in Ethiopia, 2020. It was observed that 2020 was a challenging year for internet access. There were three outages: two restricted and one nationwide.
Following the Twitter suspension on 4thJune 2021, PIN condemned the suspension in a press statement titled: Nigeria Twitter Shutdown, A Brazen Abuse Of Fundamental Human Rights.
On 7th June, Paradigm Initiative and CITAD Lead Stakeholder Engagement on Data Protection and Digital Identity. The engagement brought together different stakeholder groups within Kano to discuss the issue of digital identity in Nigeria. Read more about it here.
On 9th June, Paradigm Initiative hosted a Data Protection & Digital ID stakeholder engagement. It was about the state of Data Protection in Nigeria, its legal landscape and existing Digital Identity policies.
On 14th June, PIN hosted a Tech Reading Party; Analyzing Kenya's Computer Misuse and Cybercrimes (Amendment) Bill, 2021. The amendment seeks to ‘recommend websites to be rendered inaccessible within the Republic of Kenya.’ Furthermore, the amendment states that a person shall not knowingly post porn content using computer systems, produce the same for distribution, or download/distribute/transmit using computer tools.
On 11th June, PIN hosted a session at RightsCon looking at the state of digital rights and inclusion in Africa.
On 15th 2021, PIN hosted Kenya's post DRIF21 session. The session discussed the meaning of an internet shutdown in the context of an election, what happens in an internet shutdown, Information chaos, and Fake news. You can watch the session here.
PIN expanded the LIFE Program to Rivers State, Nigeria in partnership with Yowec Nigeria a Digital Readiness Workshop on the 29th & 30th of June 2021 was also organized. See details here.
On 21st June, PIN made a final call to the 5th edition of PIN's Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellowship (DRIMF). The Fellowship seeks to embed media professionals within the digital ecosystem. Applications ended on June 22nd 2021. See the flyer for more details.
On June 21st 2021, Paradigm Initiative alongside four non-governmental organizations and four journalists filed a suit against the Federal Government at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja asking it to declare the indefinite suspension of Twitter in Nigeria a violation of their human rights under international law, order the Government to immediately rescind the suspension order, and compensate them for the violation of their rights.
On 24th June, Paradigm Initiative hosted a consultative Digital Rights and Freedom Bill stakeholders roundtable in Lusaka. Building upon previous efforts in Nigeria, Cameroon and Tanzania, the meeting brought together key civil society organisations, media representatives and lawyers. See Flyer.
On 25th June, PIN alongside partners (including AIRA) issued an Open Letter on the Twitter ban in Nigerian calling on the Nigerian government to rescind its indefinite suspension of Twitter's operations in Nigeria. See the statement here.
Activities for July
- On 22nd June, PIN made a call for applications: Reporting grants and workshop on digital identity, data & technology in Nigeria. Applications close on 9th July. Successful applicants will be provided with a reporting grant of USD 1000 and will also participate in the Digital Identity Workshop in Abuja from 9-12 August 2021.
- PIN has made a call for Proposals: Recruitment of Consultants Artificial Intelligence Project. The application period is from July 2021 – October 2021. The project on Artificial Intelligence aims to influence the consideration of human rights in Artificial Intelligence (AI) processes in Africa, at national and regional levels, as well as to stimulate conversations with relevant stakeholders.
On 4th June, KICTANet issued a Call for topicsfor the KenyaIGF2021; an annual meeting that brings various stakeholder groups to dialogue on ICT and Internet policy. They would like to hear the public’s views on issues and topics that ought to be discussed during this year's Kenya IGF.
On 4th, KICTANet released a documentary alongside Pollicy Org and ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa. The documentary was on COVID-19 pandemic surveillance measures that threatened, infringed and violated the rights to privacy, data protection & freedom of expression in Kenya & Uganda.
On 6th June, KICTANet, together with partners formulated a Licensing and Shared Spectrum Framework for Community Networks for Kenya. This new licensing will enable communities to build their internet.
On 11th June , KICTANet published a tool created to guide different groups of women on content creation. Online content creation is a way of creating their footsteps and online identity, so women who do this will get to be known as experts in the field of the content they create.
On 14th June, KICTANet published Highlightsof the Proposed 2021-2022 Kenyan Budget on the Technology Sector after the Kenyan Treasury Cabinet Secretary Mr. Ukur Yatani read the budget for 2021/2022 On 10th June 2021.
KICTANet on June 2-4, 2021 (Nyeri) and June 17-18, 2021 (Kitui) offered training on Technological Changes in Kenyan and the media landscape: Navigating Safety Concerns in Digital Journalism and Policy/Legal Environment. This was for the Kenya Correspondents Association training on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists through Devolution in Kenya.
Activities for July:
- KICTANet continues to ensure that policy- making in the ICT sector adopts an open, accessible, human rights-based approach that is characterized by multi-stakeholder participation.
Legal Resources Centre(LRC)
LRC attorney Sipesihle Mguga made submissions to the Portfolio Committee on Social Development on the Children’s Amendment Bill, on behalf of the Makhanda Early Childhood Development Forum.
On 3rd June, LRC issued a statement emphasizing that teachers are the backbone of the education system who risk their lives every day to teach. They called for them to be prioritized in the national vaccine drive. Read the statement here.
LRC alongside the International Network of Civil Liberties Organisations (INCLO)on 10th June hosted a zoom webinar that discussed the right to protest, police accountability, and the use of different types of law enforcement equipment.
LRC National Director Nersan Govender participated in an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) podcast with INCLOnet partners from India and Colombia, on the impact of unequal access to vaccines and technology during the coronavirus pandemic. Listen to the podcast here
On 11th June, LRC legal team celebrated a landmark ruling for rural South Africans, especially its women residents. The Court has declared that the @IngonyamaTrust acted unlawfully and in violation of the Constitution by concluding residential leases with persons who are true owners of the land in terms of Zulu customary law. Read the press statement here.
Activities in July:
- On 1st July 2021, the LRC will release a joint oral statement with INCLO at the ongoing Human Rights Council 47th session on the suppression of dissent, misuse of crowd control equipment, and criminalization of protests in some states.
Amnesty International Kenya started this petition to National Treasury and Planning urging them to add a budget line to ensure vaccination for the entire adult population in Kenya. You may sign the petition here.
Ahead of the 10th June budget reading, Amnesty Kenya wrote an article advising that without a COVID-19 responsive budget, the nation will not press past the current cycles of lockdowns, a pandemic, and recession.
On 10th June, Amnesty International Kenya’s Human Rights Education Officer Ochieng Amy participated at the GBV Advocacy Dialogue on how to accelerate the elimination of gender based violence (GBV) in East and Southern Africa. See flyer.
Amnesty International Kenya Citizenship Campaign Manager, Demas Kiprono wrote an article on the provisions in the Cybercrimes Act and what it means for our rights and freedom of expression.
On 21st June, Amnesty International Kenya Citizenship Campaign Manager, Demas Kiprono wrote an article on the need to change the Public Order Law to better reflect the ideals of the 2010 constitution. The publication was aimed at pushing parliament to repeal and replace the colonial public order law.
Amnesty released a statement on the recent revelations of involuntary registration of Kenyans to political parties; it is a gross violation of Kenyans right to privacy and their right to join a political party of their choice. Read the statement here.
Activities for July:
- Amnesty International Kenya continues to undertake and publish investigative research and information to inform public policy dialogue and debate with duty-bearers; Strengthen civic campaigning capacities to act for our values of national cohesion and constitutionalism; and Promote and protect constitutional values, the bill of rights and the rule of law in Kenya.
On 1st June, BudgIT just completed a 2-day training for govt officials themed "IPSAS & You: Best Practices for Transparency & Accountability.” Participants were drawn from the Ministry of Budget & Planning, Ministry of Finance, and the Accountant General's Office in 5 states.
BudgIT and partner Results 4 dev, seeks proposals from qualified individuals, teams or institutions for stories related to natural resource governance in Nigeria that can be used to combat corruption. See here for details.
On 7th June, BudgIT n collaboration with Hub Afrique conducted a workshop for our community champions in the South-South region of Nigeria. The goal is to equip them for their task - bridging the gap between citizens & the govt by championing civic education in their communities.
On 8th June, BudgIT kickstarted an Extractive Consultative Forum with CSOs in the South-South region, where they presented a strategy document on Nigeria's extractive industry, discuss emerging issues with Host communities and the way forward.
On 14th August, BudgIT dropped another episode of the BudgIT podcast. The podcast discussed the rise in debt servicing, the risks of incurring more debts to finance the #2021budget and reform options for revenue expansion. Listen to it here.
On 24nd June, 16 days since the Nigerian government banned Twitter, BudgIT organized Thursday Talks on how to amplify voices against censorships targeted towards freedom of speech and the right of expression in Nigeria?
Activities for July:
BudgIT continues to advocate and conduct research to simplify the Nigerian budget and public data, making it accessible to the general public to aid participatory governance.