USAID and Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC), in partnership with the U.S. Department of State, launched the Donor Principles for Human Rights in the Digital Age during the United Nations’ Internet Governance Forum last week in Kyoto, Japan. This new set of principles establishes an international framework to provide governments with a blueprint to help ensure that their digital engagements and investments align with human rights and democratic values.
The Donor Principles will help contribute to a digital future that respects human rights, promotes democracy, and seeks to ensure that the benefits of technology are shared by all. They commit donor governments, including the United States, to be accountable in their role shaping the global digital ecosystem.
While digital technologies and data hold immense potential to help people live more free and prosperous lives, they also present significant risks to citizen privacy and freedom of expression, assembly, and association, and other rights. The principles lay out steps donor governments should take in their digital work, including:
- Prioritizing digital security and safety in the development and implementation of assistance programs.
- Engaging in a due diligence process to assess human rights implications of digital engagements.
- Supporting the growth of a rights-respecting technology workforce.
The Donor Principles were drafted and negotiated through the Freedom Online Coalition, an intergovernmental coalition of 38 member governments, committed to seeing the use of the Internet and digital technologies reinforce human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. They are also a deliverable of the Summit for Democracy Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal.