UNAMI Human Rights and INSM for Digital Rights in Iraq launch user guide on digital security for Iraqi human rights defenders
31 October 2022
Baghdad, 31 October 2022 - The Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI HRO), in partnership with INSM for Digital Rights in Iraq, launched today the “Online Protection and Digital Security: User Guide for Human Rights Defenders”. This user-friendly guidance, available in Arabic, English and Kurdish, provides critical knowledge about concrete tools and strategies for human rights defenders and other activists as well as journalists to increase their safety and privacy online.
The launch coincides with Cybersecurity Awareness Month, themed “Protect your Digital Life”, and supports the Secretary-General’s 2020 Call to Action on the vision linking digital technologies to a new frontier for human rights.
In Iraq, human rights defenders increasingly rely on digital technology to monitor and advocate for human rights or to share their opinions, promote debate and mobilise. Nonetheless, malicious actors have also used these online platforms to threaten, intimidate and harass activists.
“This guidance provides individual users of digital technology in Iraq, in particular human rights defenders, with practical information on how to mitigate online risks, protect their privacy and data, and preserve their rights and freedoms online”, stated Danielle Bell, the UNAMI Human Rights Chief and Representative of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Iraq. “With this effort, we aim to reach as many users as possible to provide them with the knowledge and tools necessary for them to be able to safely and freely conduct their work”.
Hayder Hamzoz, Founder of INSM for Digital Rights in Iraq, reiterated that “the ability of Iraqis to safely navigate the digital space is a top priority for INSM and this guidance serves as a critical step to achieve this objective”.
Since 2021, UNAMI HRO and INSM have provided hands-on digital security training to over 230 human rights defenders, journalists and activists. In addition, dozens of civil society organizations have received tailor-made assessments to improve their digital security profiles.