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Access Now – Rudi : Joint Submission to the UNHRC for the 33rd Session of the UPR 2018 Cycle

The submission

Rudi International and Access Now made a joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for the 33rd Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) 2018 Cycle for the Democratic Republic of the Congo. You can get access to it here: DRC – Submission UNHRC

This submission raises a number of issues related to digital rights in the country as well as few reminders about the number of human rights obligations that the country has signed up to.

The document submitted is composed of the following sections as well as few recommendations at the end :

  1. Domestic and international human rights obligations
  2. Developments of digital rights in the DRC
  3. Violations of access to information and freedom of expression
  4. Violations of the right to privacy

The Haki Conference in DRC

This submission raises some important issues that we will be looking at during our upcoming #HakiConf2018 (the conference on human rights at the digital age in the DRC) to which we kindly invite you to attend.

Please make sure you have registered to our mailing list to receive the latest about the conference (including the registration link that will be shared soon) that happens in Goma (DRC) on November 5-6, 2018. we look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful city of Goma.

You can get access to the submission at the folowing link: DRC – Submission UNHRC.

Save the date for the #HakiConf! November 5-6, 2018 in Goma (DRC)

La version FRANCAISE de ce blog : Save the Date – HakiConf – RDC Francais v2

Rudi International is thrilled to announce the inaugural edition of the HakiConf which is the « Conference on Human Rights in the Digital Age in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) », taking place from November 5-6, 2018 in the country’s own touristic city of Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

What’s the main theme? « Digital Rights in the DRC: Where Do We Stand? »

The conference’s program will tackle some of the current and upcoming pressing issues in the country and the region, including:

  • Privacy and data protection;
  • The context of digital legal frameworks in the country;
  • The Internet freedom landscape in the country and how can we leverage on success stories across Africa;
  • Digital rights during election times and what the Congo can learn from other African countries;
  • How can we leverage on the African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms to design Internet freedom friendly legislations;
  • And much more.

Who will be attending?

We expect to host civil society leaders and organizations working on human rights and digital rights issues, policy makers, journalists, lawyers, technologists from inside and outside the country.

Why should you attend?

  • The #HakiConf2018 will be the first of its kind in the country, where (local and international) participants will have the opportunity to engage into meaningful discussions about the intersection of human rights and the Internet;
  • The conference is happening at the eve of general elections and will aim at setting the agenda for more discussions on how digital tools can support peaceful elections;
  • Join us to learn about the state of Internet freedoms in the largest country of the Sub Saharan Africa;
  • Join us to share best practices to inspire and challenge the local digital rights community in the Congo;
  • The conference will aim at setting the scene for meaningful discussions around issues such as privacy and data protection, access to information and the need for proper legal frameworks covering these issues;
  • Come meet and engage with human rights and digital rights activists who are working to challenge oppressive governments in Africa;
  • Come learn on the many opportunities that you and your organization can join those working to support a more open, free and accessible Internet in the DRC, that respects the fundamental rights of the people;
  • Come and be part of the movement in support of local efforts in the Congo.

How can you be part of this?

Join us! Mark your calendar! Save the date and get ready for upcoming official announcements.

There are some ways one can be part of the success of this event. Try one (or all) of these:

  • Pre-register here to receive fresh updates leading to this event (including the upcoming calls for proposals and for the official registration);
  • Share this email across your other networks to raise awareness about the conference;
  • Get ready to physically join us in Goma and be part of live discussions;
  • This conference will be running through a generous core grant from Access Now but we would like to expand our pool of funders/sponsors: please reach out to learn how you can financially support this conference;
  • Please reach out to share any ideas, tips on how we can best use this conference to have meaningful and lasting results.

How to get in touch?

From 2012 to now… The Lord Has Been Faithful!

The new school year kickstarted in Goma during the first week of September and we were able to send our students back to school, through your continued support. We would like to thank you for partnering with us since the beginning.

Today, we would like to celebrate what the Lord has done, so far. We started our Rudi Education program back in 2012. At that time, we could never know that we would be able to go from 16 students in our original group to the 95+ that we were able to send to school this September 2018. We cannot thank the Lord enough who kept on using each one of you to partner with us through this ministry.

Rudi Education High School Students 10th graders
Rudi Education High School Students 10th graders

Looking at the students we started with, they have grown up and they are now in their Secondary 4th school year. They are now big boys and they have grown in science and in their fear of the Lord, something we are proud of and what keep us doing what we do. We love serving this community in Lac Vert.

Please stay with us as we embark on this new school year and see what the Lord has in store for us. Please keep in touch through our various communication channels and do let us know if you have any thought or question.

The Rudi team

Rudi International New Membership and Interview with the Association for Progressive Communication.

We are pleased to announce our membership in the organization and network called Association for Progressive Communication, APC in short. After a rigorous membership application process that lasted about a year, Rudi International is officially a member of one of the largest networks in the Information and Communication Technologies and Human Rights sectors in the world.

The APC’s overall vision is that « All people have easy and affordable access to a free and open internet to improve their lives and create a more just world».  We, at Rudi International, share this vision and have expressed the wish to participate globally together with all members of this network in the pursuit of that vision.

Thanks to this membership, two of Rudi International members will serve on the APC council and thus add a new value to the work of this collective with our grassroots experience in the fields of training, research, policy, and advocacy on ICT issues in the Democratic Republic of Congo and globally.

The APC communications department conducted an interview with our President to share our impressions and feelings after this membership, but also to reiterate some of the values we uphold as an organization.

In this interview, Alain Rafiki, President and Co-Founder at Rudi International, gave the why of our adhesion to the APC network in these words: « The APC network has been a great resource to our team and for the work we do in the ICT sector. Through this network, we learn from the experiences of many and identify ways to improve our work as well as broaden our impact in more efficient ways. Because we also desire to positively influence more than just our community, we are thankful to be part of a network that gives us the opportunity to share our knowledge and experience with the rest of the African continent and the world. We hope to gain friendships and partnerships that will allow Rudi International’s growing experience to be repeated in as many areas as needed ».

So, stay connected with us through our social networks and those of the APC for information about our next steps and activities in this great network.

This is an article by Blaise Ndola, Rudi International volunteer and Rudi’s representative at the APC.

Send One Child To School

Dear friends of Rudi International,

We are pleased to announce the launch of this year’s Back to School campaign. Join us and donate at https://www.gofundme.com/rudi-back-to-school-2018.

Any amount you can donate will enable us to send about 100 children to school this year. Our goal is to raise $20,000. Any amount you can donate will be helpful at getting us closer to that goal.

We are working together with Love More Foundation based in Indiana to make sure your donations are well accounted for. Would you like to share with your friends on any of the social media? Grab the link above and spread the word!

Pray with us that these children we served this past year will not have to stay at home this new school year.

Alright, let’s do this together!

Thank you,

Alain-Daniel for Rudi International and Love More Foundation.

The Congolese Senate received inputs to the Telecom and ICT draft bill

At the initiative of Rudi International, a group of civil society representatives came together for an Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) policy workshop in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in June 2018.

A two-days’ workshop (building from a previous workshop held in Goma in June 2017) where participants had the opportunity to learn and engage into a discussion around the ICT policy landscape, look at different aspects of Internet rights in the country. Participants had the opportunity to be introduced for the first time to the African Declaration on Internet Rights whose key principles informed the discussions on the draft bill. But most importantly, they had the opportunity to study and make an in-depth analysis of the proposed Telecommunications and ICT bill which came out of the National Assembly (after adoption) on May 7th and sent to the Senate for the second reading. The government through the ICT Ministry was invited to answer questions from Senators and was able to give more light.

At Rudi International we took this opportunity to offer inputs to the new proposed law that supports citizens’ digital rights, including to privacy and data protection, freedom of expression, and access to information online. The existing Framework law No 013/2002 of 16 October 2002 on Telecommunications does not adequately address modern societal and technological realities, hence the need to come up with another one which includes aspects such as on privacy, etc. We consider this to be a positive move from the government of the DRC and look forward to engage more in this area.

Participants at the workshop in Lubumbashi

This workshop was intended at reviving momentum on the draft including calls to discuss gaps within it, hence the need to have a varied group of participants that included 15 lawyers, human rights activists, bloggers and journalists who have history in digital rights activism and advocacy work in that part of the country. At the beginning of the workshop, we got in touch with the Chair of the “Commission Infrastructure et Amenagement du Territoire” that was reading the draft law within the Senate, Senator Nenyengwe who encouraged us:

Your workshop is very important and timely as we were in need of receiving comments and inputs from end users and civil society groups. We were approached by other groups such as the private sector and received their inputs but your voice was missing. Please do send us your recommendations right after your workshop and we will take time to read and consider them for discussion in our deliberations”, he said.

Our inputs that cover/address some specific aspects of the draft law seen from an end-user’s perspective and is divided in the following sections:

  • High level comments
  • The rights and obligations of end-users of the telecom services
  • The need for a multistakeholder approach in the management of the telecom and ICT sector
  • Protection of privacy and personal data
  • The need for more attention and proper legislation covering issues of cyber security and cyber crime

Download a PDF copy of our recommendations (in French and English) bellow:

Should you be interested in learning more or partnering with us for future activities in this area, do not hesitate to get in touch.