An interregional and interdisciplinary symposium of eminent personalities to discuss the human rights implications of the information society will be held in Geneva on 3 and 4 November 2003, i.e. a few weeks before the first part of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS).

It is organized by PDHRE, People’s Movement for Human Rights Education (an NGO which initiated the UN Decade for Human Rights Education), with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the European Commission and the Government of Mali, Chair of the Human Security Network. It also has the strong support of Mr. Adama Samassekou, President of the PrepCom of the WSIS and member of the Presidium of PDHRE, who will personally attend the symposium.

The objective of the symposium is to examine the opportunities and threats which the development of ICTs brings with it for human dignity and human rights and to assert that the information and communication society the building of which the WSIS should foster must be firmly based on, and must contribute to the development of, human dignity and human rights – all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

In this perspective, the symposium will address in particular issues such as the digital divide and its human rights implications and the role of ICTs in human rights education. A discussion paper outlining some of the questions to be discussed at the symposium will be circulated to participants in advance of the meeting.

The participants will be eminent personalities from different parts of the world with expertise in the areas of ICTs, international law and human rights.