UPROAR at #UPR31—Advancing Digital Rights in Jordan

#UPR31 delivered some big digital rights wins for Jordanian activists. In this blog, we talk a little bit about how this happened, and where things go from here.

James Marchant
Nov 9, 2018 · 3 min read
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The 31st session of the Universal Periodic Review (#UPR31) wrapped up on 16 November 2018. We’d travelled to Geneva with some of our network partners to get digital rights on the agenda in the reviews of Senegal, Nigeria and Jordan.

In all three of our target states, we worked with our partners to design advocacy briefing documents that could offer diplomats a digestible guide to the major threats to citizens’ human rights online.

The UPROAR team travelled to Geneva for September’s UPR-info pre-sessions, alongside network members from Nigeria and Jordan. There, we arranged meetings with diplomats to lobby them to make digital rights a priority in their recommendations.

That was the plan. But how did things go? Let’s take a look at what played out for Jordan.

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The UPROAR network members that supported advocacy efforts for Jordan at #UPR31

Digital rights are under threat in Jordan

The Jordanian authorities have stepped up media control since the previous UPR cycle, especially with regard to online media. The overhaul of the Press and Publications Law in 2012 and the 2018 amendments to the 2015 Cybercrimes Law have significantly curtailed freedom of expression.

Before travelling to Geneva, UPROAR’s network members crafted four important recommendations that covered the most pressing digital rights issues. These formed the basis of the advocacy briefing document that we shared with diplomats during #UPR31.

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UPROAR lobbied diplomats to put forward these recommendations at #UPR31

So, how did we get on?

We are incredibly pleased with the results of our lobbying. Three of the four recommendations put forward by UPROAR were incorporated into the recommendations that states put forward, and specific provisions in the Press Law, Cybercrimes Law and Penal Code were highlighted by some recommending states. Of a total of fourteen states that spoke about freedom of expression, ten states offered specific recommendations on digital rights.

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The digital rights recommendations made to Jordan during #UPR31

During the interactive dialogue, one of Jordan’s representatives, Mr Ali Mesiri, acknowledged that work needed to be done to bring the Cybercrimes law into line with international human rights standards.

Ali Mesiri, Jordanian Delegation

“Might I also mention the law on cyber criminality. This law needs amendment. It contains technical terms which need to be brought into line with relevant international instruments.”

Online reactions to #UPR31

UPROAR network members Jordan Open Source Association and Privacy International tweeted some of their own observations about the outcome of the 31st UPR session.

Of course, the work isn’t over. Jordan is yet to respond to these recommendations, and we’re yet to find out which ones it will support (accept) and which it will note (decide not to take forward).

We’ll continue to work with our partners to campaign around these recommendations in the months ahead, and to maintain the momentum we’ve built off the back of #UPR31.

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UPROAR is an initiative of Small Media. For more information about the UPROAR programme, visit www.uproar.fyi.


Championing digital rights at the Universal Periodic Review

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