12th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights in Seoul

Human Rights and Information and Communication Technology, 27 – 29 June 2012, Seoul, Korea

With the recent media coverage of the vulnerability of an increasing number of countries to cyber-attacks, cyber-security has fast become one of the top priorities for national security agendas across the world.

And as cyber defence mechanisms improve, their implications for digital human rights also increase.

As the Political Advisor to the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olof Ehrenkrona notes ‘The concern for online national security should also be mirrored in the protection of individuals and their rights online. The 20th century Conventions that safeguarded human rights for so long, have to adapt to the new internet age.  Understanding and discussing the impact of the digital revolution on human rights protection has become crucial, more than ever. Human rights should be protected on line as well as they must be safeguarded offline’.

Access to new technology platforms can help improve people’s lives – both in economic and social terms; however, a large portion of the world’s population is still deprived of these modern technologies.

Philippine AICHR Commissioner, Amb. Rosario G. Manalo points out that, “Addressing the digital divide is of utmost importance if we are to succeed in bridging socio- economic inequalities between and within states and across sectors. And a human rights-based approach to ensuring people’s access to ICTs appears to be the best way forward.”

Speaking on behalf of the Asia-Europe Foundation, Executive Director Amb. Michel Filhol points out the relevance of Asia-Europe dialogue on digital human rights, ‘The Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights has always played a key role in advancing dialogue on human rights issues in the ASEM region. By focusing on issues related to freedom of expression, right to privacy, digital divide and the cultural enjoyment of the internet, this 12th Seminar will link human rights issues to the ICT debate in-depth for the first time within the framework of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM)’.

The Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights series is co-organised by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (delegated by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, and the Asia-Europe Foundation.

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