APrIGF 2024 Session Proposal Submission Form
Part 1 - Lead Organizer
Contact Person
Mr. Michael Karimian
Organization / Affiliation (Please state "Individual" if appropriate) *
Director, Digital Diplomacy, Asia and the Pacific
Economy of Residence
Primary Stakeholder Group
Private Sector
List Your Organizing Partners (if any)
J.Y. Hoh, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR),; and Sonia Syafitri, Meta,
Part 2 - Session Proposal
Session Title
Digital Frontlines: Safeguarding Human Rights Defenders in the Cyber Age
Session Format
Panel Discussion (60 minutes)
Where do you plan to organize your session?
Onsite at the venue (with online moderator for questions and comments from remote participants)
Specific Issues for Discussion
The Internet is simultaneously the frontline for human rights defenders’ (HRDs) efforts to promote and protect universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, and also the frontline of restrictions on their freedoms of expression, association and assembly, and their exposure to harassment and defamation, and acts of intimidation and reprisals.

Global indicators highlight a concerning decline in the quality of civic spaces across Asia and the Pacific over the past two decades; a challenging landscape for HRDs in this region.

Our session will focus on the complexities and strategies related to digital trust and cyber resilience for HRDs.

Building HRDs’ digital trust: The session will explore Meta's role in enhancing digital trust for HRDs. Central to this discussion will be how Meta upholds HRDs' freedom of expression and privacy, alongside its efforts to combat misinformation and maintain information integrity. The session will highlight Meta's tools and policies specifically designed to support HRDs, examining their efficacy and areas for improvement.

Building HRDs’ cyber resilience: The session will consider Microsoft's efforts in supporting cyber resilience for HRDs. This discussion will cover the implementation of robust cybersecurity measures, resilience against nation state and non-state cyber-attacks, and strategies for safeguarding sensitive data. We will evaluate Microsoft's approach to cyber resilience for HRDs, considering its impact and potential enhancements.

Collaborative frameworks and policies: BSR will examine best practice collaboration between corporations, NGOs, governments, and HRDs themselves. We aim to outline corporate responsibilities to respect the digital rights and security of HRDs in Asia and the Pacific and the key role of multistakeholder cooperation in discharging those duties.

The session will feature case studies, interactive discussions, and expert insights to foster a comprehensive understanding.
Describe the Relevance of Your Session to APrIGF
Related to the Security & Trust, and Resilience thematic tracks, this session will showcase how major technology players can contribute to a more secure and trustworthy Internet ecosystem with emphasis on the critical role of Internet governance in protecting HRDs.

Security & Trust: The discussion around Meta's initiatives to enhance digital trust for HRDs resonates with the theme of maintaining trust in the evolving digital landscape. We will examine how these efforts align with the core principles of Internet governance, such as openness and privacy, while addressing challenges such as data protection and misinformation. The BSR-led examination around multistakeholder collaboration will explore how diverse stakeholders can cooperate to ensure trust on complex issues for which collective solutions are especially effective.

Resilience: Microsoft's focus on cyber resilience for HRDs ties into the theme of building resilient digital infrastructures. This session will demonstrate how private sector involvement is crucial in developing robust strategies to mitigate cyber threats and ensure the continuity of essential digital services, particularly for vulnerable groups like HRDs.

Our session contributes to the overarching theme, "Evolving Ecosystems, Enduring Principles," by showcasing how enduring principles of Internet governance, like inclusivity and security, are essential in the context of supporting HRDs. It highlights the evolving role of corporations in Internet governance, particularly in ensuring that new technologies and policies do not undermine the rights and safety of HRDs.

Expected outcomes include enhanced awareness among stakeholders about the importance of supporting HRDs in the digital realm, identification of best practices and gaps in current approaches, and recommendations for future policies and collaborative efforts. We aim to catalyze further multi-stakeholder dialogue and action towards the protection and empowerment of HRDs.
Methodology / Agenda (Please add rows by clicking "+" on the right)
Time frame (e.g. 5 minutes, 20 minutes, should add up to 60 minutes) Description
5 minutes Introduction by the moderator: Eeling will open the session, setting the stage by outlining the session's focus on digital trust and cyber resilience for HRDs in Asia and the Pacific. The moderator will introduce the speakers and provide a brief overview of the session’s structure.
10 minutes Opening remarks by speakers: Each speaker will have approximately 3 minutes to present their initial remarks outlining collaborative frameworks in enhancing digital trust and security for HRDs; Meta's initiatives to support HRDs' digital rights, focusing on tools and policies; and Microsoft's efforts to build cyber resilience for HRDs, with a focus on combating nation-state and non-state cyber threats.
20 minutes Panel discussion: The moderator will guide a discussion among the speakers, focusing on challenges and strategies in safeguarding HRDs' digital environments. Questions will be prepared in advance but will also allow flexibility to delve into topics that emerge during the opening remarks. The facilitator will ensure equal speaking time and encourage interaction among panelists.
20 minutes Audience Q&A: The moderator will open the floor to questions from the in-person and online audience, encouraging interactive dialogue. The moderator will prioritize diversity in audience participation, ensuring a range of perspectives.
5 minutes Concluding remarks: Each panelist will provide their final thoughts, focusing on key strategies moving forward and how stakeholders can contribute to a safer digital space for HRDs. The moderator will summarize the session’s key points and discuss any follow-up activities or resources available to the participants.
Moderators & Speakers Info (Please complete where possible)
  • Moderator (Primary)

    • Name: Eeling Chiu
    • Organization: Amnesty International Taiwan
    • Designation: Executive Director
    • Gender: Female
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Taiwan
    • Stakeholder Group: Civil Society
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Proposed
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
  • Speaker 1

    • Name: JY Hoh
    • Organization: BSR (Business for Social Responsibility)
    • Designation: Manager, Technology and Human Rights
    • Gender: Male
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Singapore
    • Stakeholder Group: Academia
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
  • Speaker 2

    • Name: Sonia Syafitri
    • Organization: Meta
    • Designation: Regional Human Rights Policy Manager
    • Gender: Female
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Indonesia
    • Stakeholder Group: Private Sector
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
  • Speaker 3

    • Name: Michael Karimian
    • Organization: Microsoft
    • Designation: Director, Digital Diplomacy, Asia and the Pacific
    • Gender: Male
    • Economy / Country of Residence: Singapore
    • Stakeholder Group: Private Sector
    • Expected Presence: In-person
    • Status of Confirmation: Confirmed
    • Link of Bio (URL only):
Please explain the rationale for choosing each of the above contributors to the session.
The contributors have been carefully selected for their diverse expertise and regional insights, which will enrich the discussion and enhance the session's objectives of building HRDs' digital trust and cyber resilience. Each brings a unique perspective that is critical for addressing the complex issues facing human rights defenders in the digital age within the Asia-Pacific context:

J.Y.'s extensive background as an international human rights lawyer and his work with technology companies at BSR make him exceptionally well-suited to address the challenges of integrating human rights practices within tech environments. His experience includes roles at prominent NGOs, and his tenure as a legal officer at the Centre for Law and Democracy highlights his expertise in promoting freedom of expression and the right to information. J.Y.'s understanding of the legal and practical implications of digital rights makes him an invaluable contributor to discussions on building digital trust and resilience for HRDs.

Sonia’s role at Meta, focusing on mitigating risks related to global regulatory regimes and external threats to digital rights, aligns directly with the session’s theme of building digital trust. Her expertise in policy analysis, advocacy, crisis response, and project management is critical for understanding and navigating the complexities of digital rights in the context of human rights defense. Sonia’s ability to transform intricate policy issues into accessible information makes her a key voice in elucidating how major tech platforms can support the digital freedoms and safety of HRDs.

As the Executive Director at Amnesty International Taiwan, and previous previously as the Secretary General of the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, Eeling brings a profound commitment to human rights issues, especially within the context of Taiwan. Eeling's focus on rights related to privacy, assembly, housing, and the rights of refugees and immigrants provides a broad perspective on the human rights landscape in Asia and the Pacific, enhancing the session’s examination of regional HRDs' needs and the role of NGOs in supporting them.

My current role as a Director on Microsoft’s Digital Diplomacy team, with a focus on Asia and the Pacific, positions me to discuss the implementation of secure cyberspace policies. My previous experiences, including work on Microsoft’s Human Rights Team and at the UN in Bangkok, provide me with comprehensive insights into the challenges and opportunities in advancing a rules-based order online and promoting multi-stakeholder engagement. This background in both the private sector and international organizations equips me with a valuable perspective on fostering cyber resilience among HRDs.
If you need assistance to find a suitable speaker to contribute to your session, or an onsite facilitator for your online-only session, please specify your request with details of what you are looking for.
The APrIGF organizers are welcome to propose additional suitable speakers for the session.
Please declare if you have any potential conflict of interest with the Program Committee 2024.
Are you or other session contributors planning to apply for the APrIGF Fellowship Program 2024?
APrIGF offers live transcript in English for all sessions. Do you need any other translation support or any disability related requests for your session? APrIGF makes every effort to be a fully inclusive and accessible event, and will do the best to fulfill your needs.
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