28 November from 10.30 to 12.30 - Room 3 - Palais de l'Europe

Interpretation: FR/EN/RU


Technology empowers people to defend freedom and human rights, but it could also be used to mobilise crowds for violence and destruction of freedom. What safeguards and control mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that those who control technology are subject to transparency and democratic control themselves?

Natalia Project, Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden

Civil Rights Defenders has launched a potentially life-saving personal alarm, the Natalia Project that uses GPS and social media to inform of a kidnapping within seconds. What makes the Natalia Project unique is the connection to social media. Within minutes after an attack has taken place, people around the world will know and be able to take action. The bracelet uses a mobile signal to notify of an attack and issues a real-time GPS location of the victim to Civil Rights Defenders' headquarters in Stockholm and to 3-5 nearby contacts (called shields), so that they can instantly act. Civil Rights Defenders then forward the information to social media followers who are also urged to take action.

Website: http://natalia.civilrightsdefenders.org/


Mr Jan Robert HARDH, Sweden, Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders

Jan Robert Hårdh is the Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders. Robert has a Master of Laws degree from Uppsala University, specializing in human rights. He started working for Civil Rights Defenders as a human rights lawyer in 1999. In 2000, he was appointed Executive Director of the organisation. 

Mr Karl Stefan Mathias WIKSTRÖM, Sweden, CEO of RBK Communication

Mathias Wikström is the CEO of RBK Communication in Stockholm. He holds an MBA from Stockholm School of Economics and is part of the core team behind the development of the Natalia Project.

Helping Human Rights Defenders to Communicate Securely: TAILS, National Democratic Institute, USA

To work on the web without leaving a trace: This is the promise of a growing open source software project especially relevant for human rights defenders. NDI works with a lot of people who, for political and security reasons, prefer not to leave traces of any files, cookies, or an IP address out there for someone to find when they work online. The Linux-based, live-boot operating system Tails (The Amnesiac Incognito Live System) can be used on any computer anywhere and allows activists to securely communicate without needing to have any technical knowledge. Tails is a portable operating system with security software already installed on it. TAILS – on a USB stick or DVD - anonymizes, encrypts, and hides everything an activist does on a computer.

Website: http://www.ndi.org/


Mr Chris DOTEN, USA, Senior Program Manager for NDI's Information and Communication Technology Programs

Chris Doten is a Senior Program Manager for NDI's Information and Communication Technology Programs team. Chris spearheads technology innovation, applying appropriate new approaches with citizen organizations, governments and political parties across NDI's 70+ countries. Chris specializes in the challenges of internet freedom and cybersecurity in closed societies, and using new technologies for political organizing. Chris was a previously a computer network security engineer and worked for the campaigns of President Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry.


Discussants are invited to make critical comments during the lab on the impact, transferrability, sustainability and risk of the initiative.

Mr Mikhail FEDOTOV, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation and Chairman of the Council of the President of the Russian Federation on Development of Civil Society and Human Rights

Mr Mikhail Alexandrovich Fedotov was appointed advisor to the President of the Russian Federation and Chairman of the Council of the President of the Russian Federation on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights in October 2010. He is author of more than 300 books and articles about problems of human rights and constitutionalism, intellectual property and international humanitarian collaboration and head of the UNESCO chair on copyright and other rights of intellectual property. Fedotov was Secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists from 2003 to 2010 and Vice-President of the Information Science for Democracy Foundation from 1998 to 2003. Before serving as the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UNESCO from 1993 to 1998, he was Minister of Press and Mass Media of the Russian Federation from 1992 until 1993. 

 Mr Paul LEMMENS, Belgium, Judge at the European Court of Human Rights

Paul Lemmens has been a judge at the European Court of Human Rights since September 2012. Before taking up his duties at the Court, he was a judge at the Belgian Council of State (Supreme Administrative Court) from 1994 to 2005 and chamber president from 2005 to 2012. He was also a professor of human rights, of civil procedure, of administrative procedure, and of constitutional law at the University of Leuven. He was a member of the Belgian data protection commission from 1987 to 1997 and of the Human Rights Advisory Panel of the United Nations in Kosovo from 2007 to 2012.

Ms Henryka MOŚCICKA-DENDYS, Undersecretary of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland

Henryka Mościcka-Dendys was appointed Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland in charge of European policy, human rights and parliamentary affairs in April 2013. Prior to that, she served as Director of the European Policy Department  (from 2012) and Deputy Director of this Department, responsible for institutional affairs and Northern Europe (2011-2012). Her previous postings include Copenhagen, where she got seconded to the office of the CBSS Commissioner for democratic development  (2003) and Berlin where she served as 1st secretary and later as counsellor at the Polish Embassy, covering EU policies including enlargement and institutional issues (2007-2011).

Mr Nils MUIŽNIEKS, Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights 

Nils Muižnieks was elected Commissioner for Human Rights on 24 January 2012 by the Parliamentary Assembly and took up his position on 1 April 2012. Born in 1964, Mr Muižnieks is a Latvian national educated in the United States of America, where he obtained a Ph.D. in political science at the University of California at Berkeley. He has been working in the field of human rights for the past two decades and has acquired extensive knowledge in the field of international human rights monitoring, training and education.


Rapporteur to the plenary session

Ms Urszula GACEK, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the Council of Europe

Ms Urszula Gacek is a graduate of the University of Oxford with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Elected to Polish Senate in 2005, she was an active member of the Foreign Affairs and EU Affairs Committees. Ms Gacek was a delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In 2007, she became a Member of the European Parliament. She served as a Member of the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). Since February 2011, Ms Gacek has acted as Permanent Representative of the Republic of Poland to the Council of Europe. Between 2011-2013 she chaired the Rapporteur Group on Democracy of the Committee of Ministers.


Ms Gordana BERJAN, Head of Unit, Children's Rights Policies Co-ordination, "Building a Europe for and with children", Council of Europe



Your opinion

Does/Do the following initiative(s) increase significantly citizens' influence in the policy-making process and/or make democratic institutions more transparent, responsive and accountable? 

For the Natalia project:
% Voti
82% 187
a. Yes
18% 42
b. No

Voti Totali: 229

La votazione è disabilitata perché il sondaggio è scaduto il 29/11/13 12.00.

% Voti
65% 100
a. Yes
35% 54
b. No

Voti Totali: 154

La votazione è disabilitata perché il sondaggio è scaduto il 29/11/13 12.00.