Opportunity: Consultant(s) to analyse the impact of the various cyber security laws enacted by governments in Southern Africa on the right to defend human rights.
TERMS OF REFERENCE: ANALYSIS OF CYBER SECURITY LAWS AND IMPACT ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
The Southern African Human Rights Defenders Network (Southern Defenders) is a robust regional institution driven by the urgent need to provide effective, holistic, responsive, and feminist-grounded protection to human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk. The Southern Defenders is a network comprising representatives from human rights organizations in ten countries in Southern Africa. It was institutionalised in February 2013 after years of incubation in different regional and national organisations. The Southern Defenders have a primary mandate to coordinate the protection and security of HRDs in the region and to enhance their ability to work in their particular countries, in the face of state-driven or supported repression. Other than responding to emergencies, the Southern Defenders’ priorities building of institutional, and individual resilience through proactive and preventative models. This includes reinforcing the responsibility of the States and other organs of the state to protect, promote and fulfil human rights. In this regard, creating and sustaining conditions necessary for the protection and promotion of human rights is indispensable. Such conditions can be through laws, practices and other administrative measures.
The advance in technology has brought convenience to daily lives. Most southern African countries are touting technology as an opportunity to build their economies into modern and technology-driven middle-income countries. Regional development and indicative plans from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are placing newer technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual-augmented reality, and cloud computing as part of the fourth industrial revolution that will change their economies and improve the lives of ordinary people. but it has also brought significant challenges to HRDs. Global intergovernmental organisations such as the United Nations, through its various developmental entities and political offices, have also touted digital cooperation and partnership as essential to global growth and stability. These statements of intent notwithstanding, there are various challenges that have been encountered by HRDs in pursuit of their right to defend human rights online and offline.
SCOPE OF WORK
The use and deployment of technology to grow economies have created several intended and unintended consequences for HRDs. First, in many countries, the right to defend human rights is not statutorily recognised or at the very least not codified beyond the constitutional rights of assembly, association, expression and peaceful protest. These rights manifest offline as much as in online spaces. HRDs in the SADC region continue to face increased violence offline as much as online harm. Through its consultations with HRDs, the Southern Defenders has noted in an increase in online violations and cyber insecurity from the exclusion of community rural HRDs from accessing digital public goods due to costs, to insecurity occasioned by state interests, among others. To advance these goals, governments are enacting laws on data protection, cybercrimes, interception of communications, and smart cities. These laws are largely covered under the rubric of cybersecurity laws. The Southern Defenders seeks the services of a consultant(s) to analyse the impact of the various cyber security laws enacted by governments in Southern Africa on the right to defend human rights.
Specific responsibilities include following
- Desk review and analysis of specific laws of cyber security laws in Southern Africa in select countries.
- Desk review and analysis of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) approach to HRDs and cybersecurity.
- Identify case studies and examples of digital violations against HRDs and best and emerging practices of responding.
- Craft parameters for an advocacy agenda for HRDs digital rights protection in Southern Africa.
GUIDELINES AND COMPETENCIES
Applications are welcome from individual consultants or consulting firms. Preference will be given to applicants based in Southern Africa, or with knowledge of Southern Africa.
KEY COMPETENCIES AND GUIDELINES FOR APPLYING
The application should be written in English and be a maximum of 3 pages long. The application should be sent to email@example.com, with the title “Cyber Security Laws Research”.
The application should demonstrate the following competencies in their application:
- Individual or organization profile; including the CV of the principal consultant.
- Demonstrated understanding of the context and systemic challenges HRDs face in Southern Africa
- Experience in digital rights issues, including data protection, surveillance, and newer technologies.
- Ability to incorporate a feminist lens, and rights of HRDs with disabilities or a disability lens in the work.
- Demonstrated commitment to promoting inclusive approaches that do not reproduce and reinforce existing power imbalances including patriarchy, racism, ableism, etc.
- Relevant educational or professional experience in law, human rights, and competencies in legal drafting.
- Networked and experience working in and familiar with the national and regional contexts in Southern Africa
- Two references who can speak to your work and previous experience.
The Deadline for submitting the Application is 24 March 2023.
The deliverables for this assignment are
- A report on the impact of digital/cybersecurity laws on HRDs in Southern Africa (not more than 30 pages)
- An accompanying advocacy plan (3 pages).
This consultancy will be active over a period of 45 days.
This is a fixed-cost assignment. Payment terms will be as per the Southern Defenders’ payment policies, any variations will be discussed and agreed upon.
POST CONSULTANCY ENGAGEMENT
The consultant/s might be called upon for additional work such as report familiarisation or advocacy plan implementation as separate engagements.