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    International Symposium on Human Rights and the Digital Challenge Kicks off at ICESCO Headquarters

    16 March 2021

    The International Symposium on Human Rights and the Digital Challenge kicked off today, Tuesday, March 16, 2021, at ICESCO headquarters. The Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) and the Ministry of State in Charge of Human Rights and Relations with the Parliament held the symposium face to face and via videoconference. The event saw a high-level participation from Morocco and beyond.

    During the opening session, Mr. El Mostapha Ramid, Minister of State in Charge of Human Rights and Relations with the Parliament, talked about the remarkable strides Morocco made in the field by strengthening the legislative powers with several laws, including the right to access information and the cybersecurity law.  He added that the misuse of technology caused several problems such as the spread of the discourse of extremism, hate, and racism, stressing that ensuring the sound use of technology requires devising plans and measures likely to guarantee the rights of individuals. The Minister also underscored that restricting the right to access to the digital world should be an exception.

    In his address, Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General (DG), noted that some governments have almost completely embraced digital transactions, while others still do not possess the prerequisites of digital transformation, which, he stated, calls for ensuring territorial justice for all. The DG also warned that the impact of the growing digital progress on human rights requires the adoption of a different approach that respects and protects the collection, storage, and transfer of individuals personal information within the digital world.

    Dr. AlMalik stated that the dangers that modern technology pose should not eclipse its numerous advantages and major role in advancing societies and humans, reaffirming that the ultimate goal is to strike balance between technological development and the protection of peoles’ basic rights and freedoms.

    The DG also commended the approach Morocco adopts in dealing with human rights, under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI.

    In her address, Ms. Amina Bouayach, President of Moroccoʻs National Council of Human Rights, talked about the challenge of subjecting digital spaces to legal provisions, in light of the growing numbers of people accessing these spaces and the emergence of what is called new media. She added that the transnational digital revolution elaborated the forms of demanding rights in our societies, especially economic, social and cultural ones, and anchored the notion of social and territorial justice as a new concept.

    Mr. Mʻhammed Abdenabaoui, President of the Public Prosecution, talked about the efforts of Morocco to protect citizens’ rights within the digital space, highlighting several measures taken to protect the rights of this space’s users and prosecute violators. He added that digital technologies have become a tool to exercise several rights such as the right of expression and publication and consolidated principles such as equality, noting that the digital space allowed for promoting access to several services and departments, especially during the pandemic.

    Mr. Omar Seghrouchni, President of Morocco’s National Commission for the Control of Personal Data Protection, underlined the need to focus more on protecting citizens in the digital society rather than just protecting their personal data, stating that societies should shield themselves against international platforms whose sole interest in making profit.

    The symposium includes three sessions addressing the following topics: “Right of access to accurate information in cyberspace and the protection mechanisms of personal data,” “Hate, violent and discriminatory speech in the digital space: prevention mechanisms and protection tools”, and “Human rights and the digital challenge: actors’ roles.” The close of the symposium features reading the symposium’s final report and recommendations.

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