The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all 192 UN Member States once every four years. The UPR is a State-driven process, under the auspices of the Human Rights Council, which provides the opportunity for each State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. As one of the main features of the Council, the UPR is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when their human rights situations are assessed.
The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on 15 March 2006 by resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council itself. It is a cooperative process which, by 2011, will have reviewed the human rights records of every country. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists. The UPR is one of the key elements of the new Council which reminds States of their responsibility to fully respect and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms. The ultimate aim of this new mechanism is to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.
In order to address Internet-related Human Rights Issues in India, Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF) and the Association for Progressive Communication has jointly submitted the UPR Review Report. DEF is majorly concerned with the human rights, internet rights and making the internet an effective tool to access right to information in India. DEF believes that the internet plays a major role in accessing information and thus a tool for social and economic development. This submission outlines India’s progress and specific areas of concern: information technology (IT) law and policies, the right to information and internet access and internet governance. Four recommendations are made for follow-up and implementation in the UPR cycle.