Neurotechnology and Human Rights

Started in August 2023


This project addresses the human rights implications stemming from the development of neurotechnology for commercial, non-therapeutic ends.

These implications include direct externalities (violation of the rights to privacy, property, freedom from discrimination etc.) and indirect externalities (spillovers for social cohesion, equality and inter-group tolerance). As corporate actors become the main producers and disseminators of neurotechnology, managing these risks will require enhanced multilateral cooperation towards the development of a common regulatory framework. A key challenge in this regard is the complex nature of neurotechnology coupled with the traditional ‘siloing’ between human rights, neuroscience and corporate communities of practice.


To overcome these barriers, this project – supported by the Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) – is based on a partnership between the Geneva Academy, the Geneva University Neurocentre and the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) Advisory Committee.

It aims at empowering key stakeholders with a common understanding of the principal risks with a view to strengthening the international human rights framework and crafting effective regulation.

In terms of methodology, the project will work with a pluri-disciplinary group of ethicists, technologists, human rights practitioners, conflict specialists and social economists to provide technical guidance, brainstorm solutions and validate the work of the core research team.

The findings will directly feed into (i) the report to the HRC at its 59th session and (ii) the development of soft law guidelines on the development and use of neurotechnology in conformity with human rights.

Dissemination and sensitization will separately target states, academia and the technology and corporate sectors with a view to these groups incorporating human rights perspectives into their innovation practices, product development and internal regulatory frameworks.


A person with a portable brain scanner News

New Paper Sets the Scene for Neurotechnology Regulation and the Role of Human Rights

4 December 2023

Our new Research Brief The Evolving Neurotechnology Landscape: Examining the Role and Importance of Human Rights in Regulation provides a comprehensive background analysis on the complexities of regulating neurotechnology and the role of human rights in this process and marks the inception of our research project on neurotechnology and human rights.

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Portrait of Jonathan Andrew

Jonathan Andrew

Research Fellow

Dr Andrew conducts research on the nexus of human rights law with the development of neurotechnologies, emerging issues stemming from new technologies’ use in the military domain, and the deployment of dual-use technologies by law enforcement.

Milena Costas

Milena Costas

Research Fellow

Milena Costas is a human rights expert and law-practitioner and a member of the UN Human Rights Council’s Advisory Committee.

Portrait of Timo Istache

Timo Istace

Associate Researcher

His areas of expertise encompass human rights law, medical law, philosophy of law, and bioethics.


Cover page of the Research Brief

The Evolving Neurotechnology Landscape: Examining the Role and Importance of Human Rights in Regulation

December 2023

Erica Harper

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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A general view of participants during the 54nd session of the Human Rights Council News

New Paper Unlocks the Potential of the UN Human Rights Council in Global Conflict Prevention

3 November 2023

Our new policy brief Delivering the Right to Peace: Towards a Reinforced Role of the Human Rights Council in the UN's Peace and Security Framework delves into the possibilities of enhancing the Human Rights Council's involvement in the UN's peace and security functions.

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In Highlight: IMPACT OSS Monitoring Tool

18 September 2023

Via its DHRTTDs Directory, the Geneva Human Rights Platform provides a comprehensive list and description of such key tools and databases. But how to navigate them? Which tool should be used for what, and by whom? In this interview, Dr Domenico Zipoli helps us understand better the specificities of the September highlight of the directory: IMPACT OSS.

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UNRWA school in Gaza Event

Gaza and the Battle for Humanity: How International Law Provides Meaning to Violence

6 March 2024, 18:00-20:00

At this event co-hosted by our Geneva Human Rights Platform, several UN experts will provide their perspective on what is at stake when framing the ongoing spectacular and slow violence against Palestinians in Gaza. 

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Cells in a jail Event

Toward An International Human Right to Claim Innocence

8 March 2024, 13:15-14:45

This event will discuss and analyze the innocence gap in international law and discuss different strategies for achieving greater recognition of an international right to assert claims of factual innocence.

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A general view of participants during of the 33nd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council. Training

The Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability

11-15 November 2024

This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.

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Flyer presenting the Geneva Human Rights Platform with other publications of the Geneva Academy on display Project

GHRP Briefings

Started in January 2019

The GHRP Briefings provide an opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss the results of the United Nations (UN) Treaty Body (TB) 2020 Review and practical ways to implement change.

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Iraq, Mosul. View of the west bank after the war. Project

IHL in Focus

Started in January 2024

As a yearly publication, it keeps decision-makers, practitioners and scholars up-to-date with the latest trends and challenges in IHL implementation in over 100 armed conflicts worldwide – both international and non-international.

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Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Environmental Human Rights as a Tool in Early Warning and Conflict Prevention The Role of the Human Rights Council

published on January 2024

Erica Harper, Baïna Ubushieva

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Cover page of the Research Brief Publication

The Evolving Neurotechnology Landscape: Examining the Role and Importance of Human Rights in Regulation

published on December 2023

Erica Harper

Read more