For Immediate Release
Goma, November 6, 2018
Rudi International and its partners organized the first ever “Conference on Human Rights in the Digital Age in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”, the Haki Conference, held on Monday and Tuesday in the town of Goma, Eastern Congo.
Covered online with the hashtag #HakiConf2018, this gathering brought together nearly two hundred participants from DRC, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya.
“There was no better time to organize such a conference in DRC, a country where most people know little to nothing about their digital rights”, said Arsene Tungali, Executive Director of Rudi International.
“Digital rights are violated here very often and there is no platform where citizens can discuss the issue and organize to find a solution. That’s where the Haki Conference comes in” he added.
The wide variety of participant’s background ranging from journalism to activism, business, technology, etc. was a catalyst for meaningful interactions and heated debates.
“Our wish would have been to accommodate all the nearly 400 people who applied but we were restrained by the budget and could take only half of that. This is a clear indication that the interest in digital rights is there, hence, the need for more similar events”, explained Arsene, who announced that the event will be an annual rendez-vous in the DRC.
As a pre-event of this inaugural edition, Rudi International’s longtime partner CIPESA organized a workshop on ICT Policy and Advocacy in East and Southern Africa. This was an opportunity for nearly thirty participants to learn about the basics of digital rights and be introduced to the Internet freedom landscape in Africa, etc.
“East and Central Africa is facing numerous challenges that undermine internet freedom yet insufficient work is being done to address these challenges. A shortage of resources, hostile environments for civic actors who promote free expression and good governance as well as repressive laws contribute to these challenges”, said Wairagala Wakabi (Phd), who is the Executive Director of CIPESA.
“Accordingly, CIPESA is working to grow the network of individuals and groups that work on advancing internet freedom and building their capacity to engage in digital rights advocacy. This training and the conference in Goma assembled a rich mix of stakeholders – lawyers, journalists, women’s rights activists, private sector actors and state officials – all of whom need to work collaboratively to realize an affordable, inclusive and open internet in Burundi, DR Congo, Rwanda and Uganda”, he concluded.
Participants signed “The Goma Declaration on Human Rights in the Digital Age” with call to actions and commitments that would make DRC a digital rights friendly country.
Download the full Declaration (in French): #HakiConf2018 – Declaration de Goma.
To schedule interviews on #HakiConf2018, please, get in touch with Blaise Ndola, ICT Program Manager. Mobile phone and WhatsApp : +243 990961665 (Français et Anglais)
Email: [email protected] (Francais et Anglais)
Few photos of the conference can be downloaded from Rudi’s Facebook Page (before they can be shared to a public link) and are to be used only with written permission of Rudi International.