Monthly Digest: March 2021

March 31, 2021

Whether it's opinions on fostering digital human rights - or simply the valuable lessons learned along the way, here is the Digital Human Rights Lab's round-up of the this month's most interesting articles and stories.


Must-Read Articles of the Month

Whether it's opinions on fostering digital human rights - or simply the valuable lessons learned along the way, here's a round-up of the past month's most interesting articles and stories

East Africa Law Society sues Uganda for shutting down internet during elections

On January 14 2021, Uganda held its general election amidst a total internet shutdown. Now the East Africa Law Society (EALS) has filed a petition at the Arusha based regional court arguing that the internet restriction violated the rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights.

Uganda: Digital rights hindered by unfavorable national legal policy

Despite growing internet use in Uganda, the presence of unfavourable national legal policy framework and ignorance of policy implementers is hindering the public from enjoying their digital rights.

Bypassing censorship with VPNs—is that really safe?

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are a quick emergency solution when governments block critical websites. With VPNs, you can still access the free internet through a tunnel. But can you trust the provider?

Young people help draw up UN Digital Protection recommendations

More than 30 years after the invention of the world wide web, the United Nations (UN) committee on the rights of children has laid out ways that young people and children should be treated in the digital world, and how their rights should be protected.

Telecom companies in Africa can respond better to internet disruptions

Across Africa, disruptions to the internet and social media platforms are increasingly becoming a common phenomenon. Most of the disruption happen in the form of slow internet speeds, blockade of commonly used social media sites or total internet shutdown. But as this policy brief shows, it is critical to examine the role of internet intermediaries in facilitating or impeding such shutdowns.

Africa online civic space threatened

According to a new study from the Africa Digital Network, the past 20 years has seen the online civic space being shutdown at twice the rate it has been opened. In most of the cases, it was national governments that sought to close these spaces using a combination of internet shutdowns, digital surveillance, arrests for online speech and the introduction of laws suppressing free speech.

Community Updates

With so much going on it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening in the world of social impact. Stay informed and inspired with our handpicked content from the DHRLab Community.

State of Digital Rights and Internet Governance in Uganda 2021

Uganda’s Internet usage has grown in recent years with over 10 million users, providing a landscape that facilitates the work of human rights defenders, activists, journalists, minority groups and citizens. However, this growth has also resulted in increased control by the State through monitoring user’s activities using sophisticated technology and legal restrictions. This new report by Unwanted Witness examines the current state and development of digital rights and internet governance in Uganda and offers recommendations to government on how it can facilitate the enjoyment of these rights.

Afrofeminist data futures: New report by Pollicy

In the quest for gender equality and societal change, the transformative role of data, when applied accordingly can be used to challenge dominant power imbalances and create social impact in communities. This new research by Pollicy focuses on African feminist movements working towards social justice. It explores the collection, sharing and use of digital data for social transformation. A must read!

Data Protection and Privacy Brief for Election Observers

In Uganda, political parties and actors increasingly rely on personal data to unlawfully profile and target voters with personalised communications. In this policy brief by Unwanted Witness, read about how election observers can ensure the credibility of election results

Podcast #6 Data and Privacy Protection in Uganda

How effective is the Uganda Data Protection and Privacy Act? In the latest podcast by the Digital Human Rights Lab, Charity Mugasha and Phillip Ayazika speak to Silver Kayondo, a lawyer and social entrepreneur, about data protection and how aware citizens are about the law.

Opportunities | Tips | Resources

Every month, we collate the best opportunities, tips and resources for digital human rights practitioners in our community.

Digital Innovations for Human Rights: Call for ideas

Do you have an idea that can help improve human rights work in Uganda? You have until April 18 to apply with your digital idea. Four winners who will be selected have a chance to share Shs60million and also benefit from a 6-month Mentorship Programme. Make your application to the Innovation Program here.

East Africa Com 2021

Have you registered for East Africa Com yet? The virtual event for technology, telecoms, media and broadcasting will take place virtually from May 11-12. It will look at challenges and opportunities across the region’s diverse tech ecosystem with a focus on shaping the future of enterprise. Find our more on how to be part of the event here

The Early Career Fellowship

Are you an early career professional working in the internet ecosystem in a technical, policy, economic or social capacity? Or are you interested in projects designed to grow and strengthen the internet, the Internet Society announces its new Early Career Fellowship to empower the internet champions of the future.

Decoding online violence

Uganda has seen tremendous growth in mobile penetration and access to the internet. With these advances, there is also marked rise in cases of cybercrime such as fraud, hacking and identity theft. An increasingly worrying trend of cybercrime is online violence against women. In this handbook, HerInternet decodes what online violence against women is, how it manifests and why it persists.

If you have an activity, article or up-coming event that you would like to share with the DHRLab Community, please email or