Are mobile phones a basic human right?

Mobile phones are increasingly a means through which citizens can secure basic human rights.

It’s an argument that’s been made elsewhere, and stems from the availability of low cost mobile devices, the exponential growth of mobile phones, the reductions in cost of ownership, access and use, the ever increasing footprint of mobile services, and the qualitative improvement in services and products even in countries like Sri Lanka.

Accordingly, this post on Groundviews notes with concern the shutting down of mobile phone services in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Seen as a “routine” exercise, the article notes that it is deeply problematic in light of the Government’s commitments to secure and strengthen basic human rights under the UDHR and ICCPR in particular.

In this kind of context, I may have to revisit some of my ideas for ICT4Peace and see how measures to ensure basic communications that are the bedrock of any peace process continue even if, as many predict, the country goes into all out war in 2007.

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