Joint Statement: States use of digital surveillance technologies to fight pandemic must respect human rights

2 April 2020

Link here: https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/04/02/joint-civil-society-statement-states-use-digital-surveillance-technologies-fight

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health emergency that requires a coordinated and large-scale response by governments worldwide. However, States’ efforts to contain the virus must not be used as a cover to usher in a new era of greatly expanded systems of invasive digital surveillance.

We, the undersigned organizations, urge governments to show leadership in tackling the pandemic in a way that ensures that the use of digital technologies to track and monitor individuals and populations is carried out strictly in line with human rights.

Technology can and should play an important role during this effort to save lives, such as to spread public health messages and increase access to health care. However, an increase in state digital surveillance powers, such as obtaining access to mobile phone location data, threatens privacy, freedom of expression and freedom of association, in ways that could violate rights and degrade trust in public authorities – undermining the effectiveness of any public health response. Such measures also pose a risk of discrimination and may disproportionately harm already marginalized communities.

These are extraordinary times, but human rights law still applies. Indeed, the human rights framework is designed to ensure that different rights can be carefully balanced to protect individuals and wider societies. States cannot simply disregard rights such as privacy and freedom of expression in the name of tackling a public health crisis. On the contrary, protecting human rights also promotes public health. Now more than ever, governments must rigorously ensure that any restrictions to these rights is in line with long-established human rights safeguards.

This crisis offers an opportunity to demonstrate our shared humanity. We can make extraordinary efforts to fight this pandemic that are consistent with human rights standards and the rule of law. The decisions that governments make now to confront the pandemic will shape what the world looks like in the future.

We call on all governments not to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with increased digital surveillance unless the following conditions are met:

  1. Surveillance measures adopted to address the pandemic must be lawful, necessary and proportionate. They must be provided for by law and must be justified by legitimate public health objectives, as determined by the appropriate public health authorities, and be proportionate to those needs. Governments must be transparent about the measures they are taking so that they can be scrutinized and if appropriate later modified, retracted, or overturned. We cannot allow the COVID-19 pandemic to serve as an excuse for indiscriminate mass surveillance.
  2. If governments expand monitoring and surveillance powers then such powers must be time-bound, and only continue for as long as necessary to address the current pandemic. We cannot allow the COVID-19 pandemic to serve as an excuse for indefinite surveillance
  3. States must ensure that increased collection, retention, and aggregation of personal data, including health data, is only used for the purposes of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Data collected, Fed, and aggregated to respond to the pandemic must be limited in scope, time-bound in relation to the pandemic and must not be used for commercial or any other purposes. We cannot allow the COVID-19 pandemic to serve as an excuse to gut individual’s right to privacy.
  4. Governments must take every effort to protect people’s data, including ensuring sufficient security of any personal data collected and of any devices, applications, networks, or services involved in collection, transmission, processing, and storage. Any claims that data is anonymous must be based on evidence and supported with sufficient information regarding how it has been anonymized. We cannot allow attempts to respond to this pandemic to be used as justification for compromising people’s digital safety.
  5. Any use of digital surveillance technologies in responding to COVID-19, including big data and artificial intelligence systems, must address the risk that these tools will facilitate discrimination and other rights abuses against racial minorities, people living in poverty, and other marginalized populations, whose needs and lived realities may be obscured or misrepresented in large datasets. We cannot allow the COVID-19 pandemic to further increase the gap in the enjoyment of human rights between different groups in society.
  6. If governments enter into data sharing agreements with other public or private sector entities, they must be based on law, and the existence of these agreements and information necessary to assess their impact on privacy and human rights must be publicly disclosed – in writing, with sunset clauses, public oversight and other safeguards by default. Businesses involved in efforts by governments to tackle COVID-19 must undertake due diligence to ensure they respect human rights, and ensure any intervention is firewalled from other business and commercial interests. We cannot allow the COVID-19 pandemic to serve as an excuse for keeping people in the dark about what information their governments are gathering and sharing with third parties.
  7. Any response must incorporate accountability protections and safeguards against abuse. Increased surveillance efforts related to COVID-19 should not fall under the domain of security or intelligence agencies and must be subject to effective oversight by appropriate independent bodies. Further, individuals must be given the opportunity to know about and challenge any COVID-19 related measures to collect, aggregate, and retain, and use data. Individuals who have been subjected to surveillance must have access to effective remedies.
  8. COVID-19 related responses that include data collection efforts should include means for free, active, and meaningful participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular experts in the public health sector and the most marginalized population groups.
Signatories:
7amleh – Arab Center for Social Media Advancement
Access Now
African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms Coalition
AI Now
Algorithm Watch
Alternatif Bilisim
Amnesty International
ApTI
ARTICLE 19
Asociación para una Ciudadanía Participativa, ACI Participa
Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
ASUTIC, Senegal
Athan – Freedom of Expression Activist Organization
Barracón Digital
Big Brother Watch
Bits of Freedom
Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD)
Center for Digital Democracy
Center for Economic Justice
Centro De Estudios Constitucionales y de Derechos Humanos de Rosario
Chaos Computer Club – CCC
Citizen D / Državljan D
Civil Liberties Union for Europe
CódigoSur
Coding Rights
Coletivo Brasil de Comunicação Social
Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre)
Committee to Protect Journalists
Consumer Action
Consumer Federation of America
Cooperativa Tierra Común
Creative Commons Uruguay
D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais
Data Privacy Brasil
Democratic Transition and Human Rights Support Center “DAAM”
Derechos Digitales
Digital Rights Lawyers Initiative (DRLI)
Digital Security Lab Ukraine
Digitalcourage
EPIC
epicenter.works
European Digital Rights – EDRi
Fitug
Foundation for Information Policy Research
Foundation for Media Alternatives
Fundación Acceso (Centroamérica)
Fundación Ciudadanía y Desarrollo, Ecuador
Fundación Datos Protegidos
Fundación Internet Bolivia
Fundación Taigüey, República Dominicana
Fundación Vía Libre
Hermes Center
Hiperderecho
Homo Digitalis
Human Rights Watch
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
ImpACT International for Human Rights Policies
Index on Censorship
Initiative für Netzfreiheit
Innovation for Change – Middle East and North Africa
International Commission of Jurists
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Intervozes – Coletivo Brasil de Comunicação Social
Ipandetec
IPPF
Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL)
IT-Political Association of Denmark
Iuridicum Remedium z.s. (IURE)
Karisma
La Quadrature du Net
Liberia Information Technology Student Union
Liberty
Luchadoras
Majal.org
Masaar “Community for Technology and Law”
Media Rights Agenda (Nigeria)
MENA Rights Group
Metamorphosis Foundation
New America’s Open Technology Institute
Observacom
Open Data Institute
Open Rights Group
OpenMedia
OutRight Action International
Pangea
Panoptykon Foundation
Paradigm Initiative (PIN)
PEN International
Privacy International
Public Citizen
Public Knowledge
R3D: Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales
RedesAyuda
SHARE Foundation
Skyline International for Human Rights
Sursiendo
Swedish Consumers’ Association
Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP)
Tech Inquiry
TechHerNG
TEDIC
The Bachchao Project
Unwanted Witness, Uganda
WITNESS
World Wide Web Foundation

ICJ: COVID-19: Use of digital surveillance technologies must be human rights compliant

2 April 2020

Link: https://www.icj.org/covid-19-use-of-digital-surveillance-technologies-must-be-human-rights-compliant/

Today, the ICJ joined more than 100 other organizations to urge States to ensure that any use of digital technologies to track and monitor individuals and populations as part of measures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic is fully human rights compliant.

The organizations warned that efforts to contain the virus must not be used as a cover to impose greatly expanded systems of invasive digital surveillance that are likely to be abused, unless adequate safeguards are put in place to protect freedom of expression, the right to privacy and other rights.

Technology can and should play an important role in the midst of the current crisis to protect the rights to health, life and security.

Deploying non-consensual State digital surveillance powers however can risk violations of the rights to privacy, freedom of expression, information and association. If implemented in an arbitrary or discriminatory way, and without adequate oversight, these measures risk damaging public trust in state authorities and undermining the effectiveness of any public health response. Non-consensual digital surveillance measures may also disproportionately exacerbate discrimination against already marginalized communities.

The organizations called on all governments to ensure that increased digital surveillance measures meet the following conditions:

  1. Surveillance measures adopted to address the pandemic must be lawful, necessary and proportionate. Governments must be transparent about the measures they are taking so that they can be scrutinized and, if appropriate, later modified, retracted, or overturned.
  2. Expansion of monitoring or surveillance measures must be time-bound, and only continue for as long as necessary to address the current pandemic.
  3. States must ensure that increased collection, retention, and aggregation of personal data, including health data, is only used for the purposes of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Data collected, retained, and aggregated to respond to the pandemic must be limited in scope, time-bound in relation to the pandemic and must not be used for commercial or any other purposes.
  4. Governments must take every effort to protect people’s data, including ensuring sufficient security of any personal data collected and of any devices, applications, networks, or services involved in collection, transmission, processing, and storage. Any claims that data is anonymous must be based on evidence and supported with sufficient information regarding how it has been anonymized.
  5. Any use of digital surveillance technologies in responding to COVID-19, including big data and artificial intelligence systems, must address the risk that these tools will facilitate discrimination and other rights abuses against racial minorities, people living in poverty, and other marginalized populations, whose needs and lived realities may be obscured or misrepresented in large datasets.
  6. If governments enter into data sharing agreements with other public or private sector entities, they must be based on law, and the existence of these agreements and information necessary to assess their impact on privacy and human rights must be publicly disclosed – in writing, with sunset clauses, public oversight and other safeguards by default. Businesses involved in efforts by governments to tackle COVID-19 must undertake due diligence to ensure they respect human rights, and ensure any intervention is firewalled from other business and commercial interests.
  7. Any response must incorporate accountability protections and safeguards against abuse. Increased surveillance efforts related to COVID-19 should not fall under the domain of security or intelligence agencies and must be subject to effective oversight by appropriate independent bodies. Individuals must be given the opportunity to know about and challenge any COVID-19 related measures to collect, aggregate, and retain, and use data.
  8. COVID-19 related responses that include data collection efforts should include means for free, active, and meaningful participation of relevant stakeholders, in particular experts in the public health sector and marginalized population groups.

Link to joint statement here.


Joint Statement: Make COVID-19 an Occupational Disease under Law to ensure social protection for all workers and their families (co-signed by MARUAH)

2 April 2020

Make COVID-19 an Occupational Disease under Law to ensure social protection for all workers and their families

We, the 51 undersigned groups, organizations and trade unions, in response to the advent of Covid-19, an infectious disease that can easily be transmitted to other human persons, including workers, urge that the Malaysian government immediately recognize and make Covid-19 an occupational disease.

By so doing, workers who are infected by Covid-19 at their workplace, even during this period, will become entitled to social protection accorded by social security schemes and laws.

For those who die, by reason of getting infected by Covid-19 at the workplace, will also be easily entitled to compensations, and their spouses/children/elderly parents will also become entitled to survivor benefits including pensions.

Employers have a duty in law to ensure a safe working environment, and will also now be required to ensure that the workplace is safe from Covid-19 and/or any other dangerous communicable diseases, especially those can result in death or other permanent disabilities.

With the movement control order in place, which still requires workplaces that provide for essential services to operate, workers traveling to and from work, and at these workplace are everyday at risk of being infected by the Covid-19 virus, which to date has also resulted in many deaths worldwide, and as such workers need protection, and this can be done by specifically classifying Covid-19 as an occupational disease.

Now, recently even workers in charge of Human Resources, are required to travel and return to their workplaces for the purposes of arranging the monthly payment of salaries to workers.

Workers who are also needed (or forced) to stay in particular accommodation by employers, should also be covered. This also ought to be considered an ‘occupational disease’, and be accorded all the needed social protection.

While the Covid-19 pandemic highlights the inadequacies in occupational safety and health laws, and also social security laws for workers, it is time to remedy these failings.

One must note, that in the past, there has also been allegations of some workers forced to house together or work together has ended up contracting life threatening ailments like tuberculosis from other workers they are made to stay and/or work with.

All such ailments, not just Covid-19, which can cause death or other disabilities that may impact these workers future employment and income, ought to be specifically classified as occupational diseases, and workers should be accorded all benefits under social protection laws.

These laws should apply to all workers, including migrant workers and domestic workers.

In Malaysia, local workers are generally covered by the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969, which provides better protection to workers and/or their families compared to the Workmen’s Compensation Act 1952 that generally covered migrant workers. There must be equal protection for all workers, even domestic workers.

For now, The Human Resource Minister, can use the powers conferred by subsection 32(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 [Act 514], and declares that Covid-19 be recognized as an occupational diseases. Other changes and/or amendments to law to ensure equal protection to all workers may require Parliament.

Therefore, we

–          Call on Malaysia to  immediately make Covid-19 an occupational disease, especially if it is contracted at the workplace, on journey to and from work, and in worker accommodations provided by the employer;

–          Call on Malaysia to amend all relevant worker social security law, to ensure appropriate just remedy to workers, their families and/or dependents especially in the event of death, or disability impacting future capacity to work and/or earn an income;

–          Call on Malaysia to ensure that employers are legally bound to provide a safe working environment, including safety from infection from human to human contact at the workplace for diseases like Covid-19,

–          Call on Malaysia and all employers to ensure that occupational safety and health of all workers are always prioritized and protected.


Charles Hector

Apolinar Tolentino

 

For and on behalf of the following 51 groups

WH4C(Workers Hub For Change)

Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC)

Clean Clothes Campaign Network (CCC)

Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) Asia Pacific Region

Labour Behind the Label, United Kingdom

Odhikar, Bangladesh

National Union of Transport Equipment & Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAW), Malaysia

Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

Timber Industry Employee Union Sarawak (TIEUS)

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)

North South Initiative(NSI)

Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan, Semenanjung Malaysia (KSIEWSSM)

Sarawak Banking Employees Union

MTUC Sarawak (Malaysian Trade Union Congress – Sarawak)

Malayan Technical Services Union

Timber Employees Union of Peninsula Malaysia

Malay Forest Officers Union

PKNS Union

Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union

National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM)

Legal Action for Women, United Kingdom

Global Womens Strike, United Kingdom

Malaysian Automotive Industry Workers Union Federation

Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

National Union of Banking Employees(NUBE)

Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor

Single Mothers’ Self-Defence, United Kingdom

Association of Human Rights and Defenders and Promoters- HRDP(Myanmar)

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), India

MARUAH, Singapore

IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh

Legal Awareness Watch (LAW), Pakistan

Asociación de Trabajadoras del Hogar a Domicilio y de Maquila–Atrahdom, Guatemala

Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), India

Marvi Rural Development Organization (MRDO), Pakistan

Onward Consulting, Malaysia

Women of Colour Global Women Strike, United Kingdom

Payday, United Kingdom

Women Against Rape (UK)

Bangladesh Group Netherlands

International  Black Women for Wages for Housework

International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, UK

Asosasyon ng mga Makabayang Manggagawang Pilipino Overseas in Malaysia (AMMPO-SENTRO)

European Rohingya Council

WinVisible (women with visible & invisible disabilities)

Campaign Abiti Puliti (Italian CCC)

Collectif Etique sur l’etiquette, France

Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia(NAMM)

Gender Alliance for Development Center, Albania

Sudwind, Austria

Radanar Ayar Association, Myanmar

* When intially released, there were 47, but now there are 51 groups who jointly issued this statement


Joint Statement: Southeast Asian states should heed call for global ceasefire, ensure conflict sensitivity and human rights in responding to COVID19 crisis (co-signed by MARUAH)

2 April 2020

CSOs JOINT-STATEMENT_ ASEAN urged to heed UN Sec-Gen call for global ceasefire, ensure human rights amid COVID19 – FINAL 1 April 2020


Joint Statement: ASEAN must uphold human rights in responding to the COVID‐19 pandemic

20 March 2020

Please click on link below to view the joint statement which MARUAH has endorsed with 35 other organizations:

17032020 – Joint Statement – ASEAN to ensure human rights and dignity on responding COVID – with SAPA input-final.pdf


2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

12 March 2020

The annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – the Human Rights Reports – cover internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements. The U.S. Department of State submits reports on all countries receiving assistance and all United Nations member states to the U.S. Congress in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Trade Act of 1974.

The 2019 Singapore country report is available at https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/SINGAPORE-2019-HUMAN-RIGHTS-REPORT.pdf


2019 Peoples’ Summit Report and Survey (repost)

5 March 2020

Download the Peoples’ Summit Report

Dear Team!

We are excited to share the final version of the report on the
Peoples’ Summit on Climate, Rights, and Human Survival! This report
provides an overview of the event, highlights its key outputs, and
outlines next steps and lessons learned that were guided, from all of
you,  by the post-summit evaluation survey. Don’t miss out on the
links to important documents such as the concept note, summaries of
sessions, the Declaration, and collaborations that were initiated at
the summit – you will find them throughout the report!

Here are just a few highlights from the document:

  • The summit brought together over 150 actors from the different strands
    of the climate justice movement. The two-day gathering was a mix of
    compelling panels and breakout groups where organizational commitments
    to integrate human rights and climate change were discussed. These
    conversations laid the foundation for numerous collaborative actions
    that have great potential to move this work forward.
  • The event’s organizers hope to support groups working at the
    frontlines to take on leadership roles and guide the direction of
    these national, regional, and thematic collaborations. The intention
    is that future working groups will be led and maintained by
    self-designated focal points with support from the organizers if
    requested.
  • There was strong interest after the summit to create an email list to
    continue to engage with others working on climate justice. Your active
    participation in this new community is essential to bring it to life.
  • The climaterights4all email list has a lot of potential, particularly
    to support the collaborations that came out of the summit or will be
    proposed through the climaterights4all network.
  • It is particularly important to have a follow-up team that reflects
    different regions, issue-areas and includes both small and large
    organizations. The intention of the follow-up team is for it to be a
    part of a horizontal process whereby the direction of collaborations
    rests with the self-identified persons and/or organizations that
    choose to be focal points. The hope is that the follow-up team will
    serve the function of supporting, where requested and along with
    others, and as long as needed,  groups working at the frontlines in
    guiding the direction of post-summit activities. We have a growing
    group of individuals interested in joining the follow-up team; if you
    would like to be part of this group, please reach out to  Melanie at
    melanie.allen@amnesty.org by March 24th, 2020.

The organizers commit to encourage, as much as possible, conversations
between funders and the groups focusing on human rights and climate
change. Please look out for more information on this in the near
future.

Last but not least, give a read and review the evaluation survey. It
will help you to better understand how the feedback from the summit
guided the proposed next steps outlined in this summary and the
report.

Also, think about proposing a new collaboration or joining an existing
collaboration, or even being  part of the follow-up team to keep the
momentum going!

Thank you for making the event such a unique call to action. We look
forward to working together with the hundreds of organizations that
engaged in the process for further collaboration towards our common
goals, and believe that we may be able to make a solid contribution to
ending the climate crisis, and the injustices that underlie it.

Organizers of the Peoples’ Summit

Wallace Global Fund, Amnesty International, Center for Human Rights
and Global Justice: NYU School of Law, CIEL, Greenpeace International,
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights