Disruptive Technologies and Rights-Based Resilience

Started in July 2021

Context

Disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and advanced robotics pose significant societal challenges and specific threats in the area of human rights. For example, they can be used to exacerbate ethnic conflict, fuel hate speech, undermine democratic processes, facilitate state surveillance, and perpetuate discriminatory narratives and practices. Better regulating these fast-paced technological advances requires placing international human rights law (IHRL) at the centre of regulatory and policy frameworks.

However, two main problems persist: (1) IHRL is not always sufficiently built into these regulatory and policy frameworks as many initiatives refer only to ethics, not law; (2) most stakeholders tend to operate in silos, without overall coordination between industry, policymakers, academia, and civil society. As a result, digital technologies carry on causing disruption, stresses and potential shocks to socio-political systems, and the protection of human rights.

Objectives

This project will facilitate a multistakeholder consultative process to identify knowledge gaps, generate new evidence and co-design evidence-based tools to support regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.

The project will contribute to the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) B-Tech Project's goal to advance the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in the technology space. In particular, the collaboration will investigate ways to promote human rights-based societal resilience in the face of ever-evolving disruptive technologies.

Donor and Partner

This project – funded by the Geneva Science-Policy Interface – is carried out in partnership with OHCHR’s B-Tech Project, which provides authoritative guidance and resources for implementing the UNGPs in the technology space.

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NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

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Placing Human Rights at the Centre of Regulatory Frameworks and Legislation on Online Harm

18 January 2022

In light of concerns about the dissemination of illegal content, disinformation and misinformation via online platforms and social media, our new  Working Paper Regulatory Approaches to Online Harms and Human Rights: Three Case Studies discusses how to best place human rights at the centre of regulatory frameworks and legislation on online harms.

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New Working Paper Discusses the Relevance of Smart Mix of Measure in AI Governance and Regulation

1 October 2021

Our new Working Paper discusses how current initiatives on the regulation of artificial intelligence technologies should incorporate the protection and respect for human rights.

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News

Engaging Policy Makers on Tech Regulation using the UNGPs

27 September 2021

To highlight the necessity of a human rights-based approach to regulatory efforts in the technology sector, we co-organized with the UN Human Rights B-Tech Project and the Centre for Democracy & Technology’s Europe Office a multi-stakeholder consultation attended by business, academia, civil society and state representatives.

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RESEARCHERS

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Ana Beduschi

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Ana Beduschi is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Exeter. Her research and teaching focus on international human rights law, technology, digital law, data protection and privacy, and international migration and refugee law

Publications

Cover of the publication

Regulatory Approaches to Online Harms and Human Rights: Three Case Studies

January 2022

Ana Beduschi

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Cover of the publication

The relevance of the Smart Mix of Measures for Artificial Intelligence - Assessing the Role of Regulation and the Need for Stronger Policy Coherence

September 2021

Ana Beduschi, Dr Isabel Ebert

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights; Geneva Call

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Cover of the publication

Human Rights and the Governance of Artificial Intelligence

March 2020

Ana Beduschi

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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Past Events

Building Blocks for Tech Regulation – A Business and Human Rights Approach

30 November 2021, 10:25-11:40

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

View of the conference room News

Annual Conference Underlines the Importance of Strong National Human Rights Systems

21 October 2021

With over 500 registered participants in Geneva and online and 24 partners, the conference focused on the capacity of domestic actors to mutually engage with each other and liaise with Geneva-based international human rights bodies in the context of implementation, monitoring and follow-up to UN human rights recommendations.

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A group photo of participants in the pilot focused review News

Pilot Exercise Brings UN Treaty Bodies from Geneva to the Field

14 December 2021

From 7 to 9 December 2021, the Geneva Human Rights Platform conducted in Sierra Leone and in collaboration with the Commonwealth Secretariat a pilot of a United Nations (UN) treaty bodies (TBs) focused review – i.e. a review carried out between the reporting cycles at the national level and designed to discuss how countries implement specific recommendations issued by UN TBs.

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Police officers during a demonstration Event

Discussion on the UN Guidelines for Lawyers in Support of Peaceful Assemblies

24 January 2022, 13:30-15:00

This event aims at promoting the use of the new Guidelines for Lawyers in Support to Peaceful Assemblies within legal professions.

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Keyboard with online tab Event

GHRP Friday: Digital Uplift

21 January 2022, 14:30-16:00

This GHRP Friday will discuss the systemic approach of knowledge management and digitalized procedures in order to look carefully into which UN treaty bodies' activities can be moved online.

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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

November 2022

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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An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

9 March - 13 April 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

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Futuristic Robot Arm Interacting with Screen Project

Disruptive Technologies and Rights-Based Resilience

Started in July 2021

This project will facilitate a multistakeholder consultative process to identify knowledge gaps, generate new evidence and co-design evidence-based tools to support regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.

Read more

Cover of the publication Publication

Regulatory Approaches to Online Harms and Human Rights: Three Case Studies

published on January 2022

Ana Beduschi

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