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Introducing the Donor Principles for Human Rights in the Digital Age

By Wayan Vota on November 1, 2023

Internet Access freedom

The Donor Principles for Human Rights in the Digital Age is a new set of principles that establish an international framework to provide governments with a blueprint to help ensure that their digital engagements and investments align with human rights and democratic values.

The Donor Principles will help contribute to a digital future that respects human rights, promotes democracy, and seeks to ensure that the benefits of technology are shared by all. They commit donor governments to be accountable in their role shaping the global digital ecosystem.

9 Donor Principles for Human Rights in the Digital Age

While digital technologies and data hold immense potential to help people live more free and prosperous lives, they also present significant risks to citizen privacy and freedom of expression, assembly, and association, and other rights. The principles lay out steps donor governments should take in their digital work, including:

  1. Support partner countries to align their legal and regulatory frameworks and technical standards with international human rights considerations.
  2. Support the development and implementation of digital government and data management systems that promote and strengthen democratic governance and respect for human rights.
  3. Collaborate with the private sector to drive rights-respecting investment and innovation and advance shared goals.
  4. Request an impact assessment process for how human rights considerations are integrated into all programs with digital components.
  5. Prioritize digital inclusion, including by engaging with stakeholders, supporting local research, and leveraging resources from local digital ecosystems.
  6. Foster coordination and strengthen alliances between stakeholders and among donor governments.
  7. Support the growth of a rights-respecting technology workforce.
  8. Prioritize digital security and safety in the development and implementation of programs, the use of digital tools, and the management of data.
  9. Adopt and promote the Principles for Digital Development, including by integrating digital solutions across sectors and programs, if appropriate.

The Donor Principles were drafted and negotiated through the Freedom Online Coalition, an intergovernmental coalition of 38 member governments, committed to seeing the use of the Internet and digital technologies reinforce human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. They are also a deliverable of the Summit for Democracy Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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