My First #RightsCon

I have pop my #RightsCon cherry

This year I’ve pop my #RightsCon cherry. In my 2nd year with Sinar Project, I received an opportunity to attend the conference hosted by Access Now for the first time in the city of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. However, I did not came to the conference as a participant only, I came as Youth4Rights facilitator and a session moderator. Thanks to the Access Now for giving me this opportunity to gain experiences in an international event. On that account, I took as many chances I can get to absorb #RightsCon environment. Here are few things that I have learned from #RightsCon:

1. Youth For Rights 2017

Facilitating a pre-event is the new challenge role that I have taken up, by heart. It’s a good thing that FabRiders shared many useful toolkits online which allows me to learn on my own pace (thank you, Dirk!). This year, the first Youth For Rights event kick off on 28th March 2017 as a satellite event of #RightsCon at Bussels, Belgium.

What is Youth For Rights? It is an initiative to provide learning workshops for youth, to educate and engage with them in policy and advocacy discussions about digital rights. It is an enabling and participatory platform for knowledge and skills sharing among keynote speakers, organisers and participants.

Since, #RightsCon 2017 was held at Brussels in the region of Europe, target group for youths was focusing on european youths. Fortunately, we received an encouraging amount of applicants and this led to 20 participants who then joined us for the satellite event. There were 5 sessions introduced to complement #RightsCon themes for this year.

  • Data Protection & Privacy
    • Content: An overview of the rights to data protection and privacy and how countries approach each differently
    • Speaker: Drew Mitnick
  • Network Discrimination, Connectivity & Governance
    • Content: Net Neutrality and Zero Rating – Cases and examples from EU, India and Lat Am
    • Speaker: Estelle Masse
  • Human Rights, Trade & Business
    • Content: Basic framework for understanding the topic area to allow participants engage at RightsCon.
    • Speaker: Peter Micek
  • Freedom of Expression
    • Content: #KeepItOn – the global campaign to fight internet shutdowns. What we know and what we need to know.
    • Speaker: Deji Olukotun
  • Advocacy – Capacity Building & Representing Youth Voice
    • Content: What is strategic Advocacy? Introducing the strategic advocacy canvas, refining problem statement, mapping the key processes & forums; SMART objectives.
    • Speaker: Charles Bradley

After we’re done with all sessions, we head over to the European parliament to attend the MEP Marietje Schaake‘s ‘Tech and Foreign Policy: Bridging the Gap‘ event. To conclude the satellite event, we regroup all participants to brief them about Access Now Digital Security Helpline.

2. Access to Rights Online: Digital Gap for Disenfranchised and Marginalized Communities

Another new challenge role is being a session moderator. For this conference, a session about Access to Rights Online was proposed to explore and discuss digital gap for disenfranchised and marginalised communities. This session was categorized under Programe Track 07: Empowering At-Risk Communities. Points shared among panels revolve around insights and challenges around the 5 themes of Web Foundation’s Women’s Rights Online Digital-Gender Gap toolkit but extend it to other marginalized communities. Expected outcomes of the session are as follows:

  • Highlight wider range of digital rights issues affecting marginalized communities within framework of Web Foundation’s Gender Gap Toolkit
  • Extension of Gender Gap Toolkit points to incorporate issues of other marginalized communities
  • Disenfranchised Community Online Rights Gap surveys and reports

Unfortunately, luck was not on our side because the duration of this session was scheduled to be just in 1 hour and moved on the last day of the conference, few minutes before the Closing Ceremony. Since time was of utmost importance for #RightsCon, I had to make sure the session started and ended on schedule. Therefore, I decided to change the panel format of the session to allow more engagement between participants and speakers. Maybe next time, in future, this session should be in a workshop format instead of panel format, to have more time of engagement and interaction among participants, and hopefully schedule it on the 1st or 2nd day of a conference.

3. Live Notes Sharing

Of course, I did not leave the conference with empty handed! Why should I? Following are some live notes that I managed record and document from some sessions that I’ve attended:

That’s all I can share for now of my experiences that I have gained from my first #RightsCon. Again, I thank to all the #RightsCon and #Youth4Rights organisers for providing me this opportunity of exposure. Until then, to anyone who we have met during the conference, let’s keep in touch!

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