The enjoyment of civil liberties is part and parcel of women’s human rights, and equal access to these rights is an essential component of the empowerment of marginalised communities. EMPOWER focuses on three areas - freedom of expression, freedom of information, and freedom of association - under this programme, which currently has two ongoing projects.
EMPOWER is a project partner for the Association for Progressive Communication's APC-IMPACT (India, Malaysia, Pakistan Advocacy for Change through Technology) project, with Bytes for All (Pakistan) and Digital Empowerment Foundation (India). The project aims to address restrictions on the internet by promoting and protecting internet rights. It will work specifically to advance freedom of expression, freedom of information, freedom of assembly and association as enabler of human rights and democratization.
EMPOWER has also had a long-standing work in the intersection between ICT and violence against women, through Take Back the Tech. A lack of access to information including the use of ICT tools have long exacerbated the endemic violence in women’s lives and diminished choices for women. This ultimately maintain a status quo of inequality. We believe that women and youths have the right to make informed decisions about themselves and their lives.
The use of ICT for human rights documentation is integrated into other programmes under Political Participation.
Monitoring the Implementation of UPR Recommendations
A strong civil society is crucial as part of a system of checks and balances in any thriving democracy. With the participation of the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (COMANGO), EMPOWER embarked on a project to monitor the Malaysian government's implementation of recommendations received through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process.
The project monitors the implementation of UPR recommendations through CSOs and communities on the ground. We will also be engaging with state agencies and the public, as well as with the UPR process itself. A sub-site on the Malaysia's UPR process will be launched in the first quarter of 2016.