IGF 2018 WS #424
Equipping advocates for safer online work


Organizer 1: Amalia Toledo, Karisma Foundation
Organizer 2: Lisa Garcia, Foundation for Media Alternatives
Organizer 3: Amel Fahmy, Tadwein Gender Research Center

Speaker 1: Amalia Toledo, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 2: Lisa Garcia, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: Amel Fahmy, Civil Society, African Group


Leandro Ucciferri, ADC

Online Moderator

Pilar Sáenz, Fundación Karisma


Francisco Vera, Privacy International


Round Table - 60 Min


The speakers will provide concrete examples from their own countries on how human rights defenders, activists, especially those working in the communities are at risk and continually face challenges even in the digital space. They will also share efforts and strategies employed to mitigate the identified risks and challenges.

Representatives from the private and public sectors, and the technical community will be included once we know who will attend.


The panel speakers are 3 females and 1 male, coming from the following regions: Asia-Pacific, Latin America, MENA and East Africa

Rising populism and authoritarianism in many countries have resulted in worsening of political situations, and have diminished democratic spaces, both offline and have been blocked online. In Egypt, the number of journalists imprisoned has reached 19 and more than 500 website have been blocked as a part of a wider crackdown against civil society in the country, as many human rights defenders have been banned from traveling and NGOs have had their assets frozen. In Colombia, despite the signing of peace agreements, more than 100 social and community leaders have been killed. In the Philippines, thousands have been killed as a result of the President’s campaign against illegal drugs. Governments come up with policies and practices to monitor and surveil individuals and groups suspected of not supporting government policies. In all these instances, civil society and grassroots organizations are becoming more at risk for being vocal and intervening in behalf of groups and individuals that are being attacked.

The roundtable will begin with 3 minutes of opening remarks of the moderator to introduce the objectives of the discussion and the speakers. This will be followed by 15 minutes of questions proposed by a speaker to another speaker in the roundtable in order to foster a discussion. Afterward, the floor will be open for further questions and comments from the audience and remote participants. The last 5 minutes will be used as a wrap-up.

Across the world, in many countries, human rights defenders, activists, and community workers are at risk for the kind of work that they do. Some even experience violence because of repressive and corrupt regimes. The internet has opened opportunities for human rights defenders and activists to advance their work and advocate for it. However, due to targeted censorship, surveillance, restrictions and threats that these groups contend with online and offline, there is a need to equip them with the necessary digital tools and safe spaces.

Online Participation

Questions and comments from online participants will be taken in and responded to during the time that will be allotted for the Q&A. The onsite moderator will ensure that they are considered.