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IDRC at RightsCon 2023: supporting research to help champion human rights online around the world

IDRC initiatives and partnerships are making a significant impact at RightsCon 2023, one of the world’s leading conferences on digital rights. This annual event convenes stakeholders from around the world to discuss human rights online, including Internet governance, free expression and privacy, mis/disinformation and cyber security.
Drawn image of person overwhelmed by screens.

IDRC is a sponsor of the 12th edition of RightsCon, which is taking place in person in Costa Rica and virtually, from Monday, June 5 to Thursday, June 8, 2023. IDRC staff and research partners are participating in more than two dozen sessions, featuring everything from research on feminist artificial intelligence to countering violence online to supporting strategies that amplify underrepresented voices on free expression in global policy discussions.  

Some of the key initiatives featured this year are:  

  • The Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) Funding Coordination Group (FCG) will hold its first in-person meeting at RightsCon. The FCG aims to harness opportunities for closer collaboration between development activities and policy interventions and to enhance knowledge sharing and strategic coordination with priority setting on foreign engagement and assistance related to Internet freedom and digital democracy issues. The FCG is chaired by the United States and Canada — both founding members of the FOC.  
  • The Feminist AI Research network (f<a+i>r), a global research network that supports research hubs and projects across Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America, is hosting two sessions this year. The f<a+i>r network is dedicated to finding ways to make artificial intelligence and related technologies more effective, inclusive and transformational.  
  • Supporting a Safer Internet is a multi-year research project supported by IDRC and led by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) that is addressing the data gap on technology-facilitated violence in the Global South. The survey reached representative samples of people in Africa, the Middle East, South America and Asia — regions of the world that are rarely included in public opinion polling on Internet issues.

Caroline Ford, Director of the Democratic and Inclusive Governance program at IDRC, will be moderating a session on “Measuring digital inequality as an evidence base for policy action,” hosted by Research ICT Africa. The session is grounded in the UN resolution on “the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the Internet,” recognizing “the importance of access to information and communications technology for the full enjoyment of human rights” and the subsequent call for urgent interventions to reach more equitable outcomes.  

IDRC has been supporting the RightsCon conference since 2016.