I am very busy with different agendas, as I am trying to follow different issues at the same time and to better understand this new and complex universe! :)

I am in touch with many people involved in gender equality, and I also met some researchers from Sexual Politics Watch (SPW) network here, as well as friends from Brazil and people engaged with disability rights, another field of my interest and activism.

I heard good comments about the APC panel and proposals in the defense of internet rights as human rights. Some people have shared with me that they would like to participate in the panel, but were involved in other activities at the same time.

Well, in this last three days, I am trying to participate in panels considering my work at SPW, the EroTICs research and my personal master's research on communication, health and accessibility for people with disability.

With the help of the bulletin of informal meetings distributed daily, I have been able to orient myself around the load of panels and informal consultations, and have to admit I prefer informal meetings to the plenary sessions (now focusing on the UPR – the Universal Periodic Review of the human rights practices of all States in the world, which takes place every four years).

The most interesting and controversial debates which have taken place so far, have concerned the resolution on the elimination of violence against women, led by the mission to Canada,  which is apparently much stronger on women's rights than original one. However some countries, including Egypt, Russia, Algeria and Pakistan,  do not agree that the resolution needs  to be specific on categories of women that need to be protected (for instance, the text specifically mention the need for protection for lesbian and transgender women).

The South African resolution on sexual orientation and gender equality is another controversial issue, which is at the center of the debate concerning women's rights. During the informal consultation, the atmosphere was very favorable, and many countries have supported the initiative of the SA government. Even so, some states have made objections in terms of the content and languages. Egypt and Russia were again more radical in their position, clearly demonstrating that they are uncomfortable with this initiative.

So far I have not noticed any references or mentions of freedom of expression or internet regulation issues in these spaces, concerned with women's rights. But I have highlighted the role of the internet for protection  of women's rights in the panel on multiple dimensions of equality for women. I have also approached a representative of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice to find out how they are reacting to the violence against women manifested on the internet and also to what extent they are advocating for women's right to the internet.

I have just consulted the UN NGO's secretariat to find out about the speaking slot to present the APC statement on women's rights and the internet but the APC  is not listed yet there . I am keeping an eye on it, and will keep you informed.

Responses to this post

Thanks for these highlights, Marina! I´m glad you are there helping others
to connect the dots between internet rights and women´s rights. You mention
"So far I have not noticed any references or mentions of freedom of
expression or internet regulation issues in these spaces concerned with
women's rights." Similarly, I was just in an excellent conference on freedom
of expression hosted by IFEX - you can check out the conference blog here -
https://ifexgm2011.wordpress.com/. Amazing freedom of expression activists
with growing awareness of the need for "traditional" FOE actors to
interconnect with internet rights defenders and in the area of internet
censorship - but surprisingly limited gender awareness of these implications,
especially in areas that the Erotics research uncovered such as sexuality,
sexual health, women´s rights, reproductive choice, etc. Having a
conversation with such traditional FOE journalist experts and the latest
internet rights defenders and women´s rights advocates would be fascinating
- and is necessary. We all need to break out of our silos! Erika

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