Human Rights in the Digital Age

Completed in June 2020

Background

New and emerging digital technologies continue to cause or contribute toward significant change in the transformation of society, and can, therefore, constitute powerful tools in their capacity to make significant positive contributions to the promotion and protection of human rights. At the same time, these rapid developments also raise serious questions as to the potential risks posed by negative impacts on human rights, and how appropriate responses to the challenges can be undertaken.

This research project examined the impact of innovation and the development of new information technologies on human rights. The research also assessed the extent to which the existing legal framework at the international level can continue to ensure the appropriate level of regulation, particularly in the face of ever-changing innovation.

NEWS

Photo of an art installation: The installation is made up of robots with eyes. When a user begins to interact with their smartphone, one of the robot eyes opens and begins looking around the room. When the interaction is over, the eye closes again. News

New Models of Governance Must Address the Human Rights Challenges Raised by Artificial Intelligence

2 March 2020

Our New Research Brief Human Rights and the Governance of Artificial Intelligence discusses the opportunities and risks that AI represents for human rights, recalls that international human rights law should occupy a central place in the governance of AI and outlines two additional avenues to regulation: public procurement and standardization.

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Portrait of Jonathan Andrew News

Meet our Researchers: Jonathan Andrew

4 February 2020

Dr Jonathan Andrew is a Research Fellow at the Geneva Academy, where he conducts research on the impact of emerging digital technologies, such as the development of social media channels, on the promotion and protection of human rights.

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News

Productive Discussions for the Panel Event on ‘Human Rights and Digital Technologies: New Insights’

23 July 2019

This expert panel discussed nascent challenges in the sphere of evolving digital technologies and their impact on human rights.

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OUTPUT

Support to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

The research team has been providing assistance to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clément Voule, with his work in preparing his thematic report to the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC).

This support notably included the organization of a multi-stakeholder consultation in Nairobi and a mission to consult with tech companies in Silicon Valley.

Both activities fed into the report of the Special Rapporteur, which focused on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the digital age — and outlined how new and emerging technologies playing a progressively decisive role in influencing civic engagement.

A Serie of Conferences and Public Events

The project's team organized a series of conferences and public events on the issue of human rights and digital technologies, bringing together various stakeholders — human rights experts and practitioners, academics, IT people and diplomats — to discuss existing lacunae in the international human rights framework in regulating the implementation of rapidly evolving digital technologies and outline possible solutions.

Publications

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

Right On: Inequality and discrimination during COVID-19

15 April 2020, 13:00-15:00

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Right On: Fighting Online Hate Speech and Fake News in a Global Crisis

8 April 2020, 15:00-17:00

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The Innovation Bridge: A technological answer to the digital divide

5 July 2019, 13:30-15:00

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Expert meeting on AI governance and human rights News

Experts Discuss the Role of Human Rights in AI Governance

9 June 2022

At a roundtable organised by Chatham House and hosted by our Geneva Human Rights Platform, experts addressed the role of human rights in AI governance.

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Peru, Fruit processing plant in Chincha, south of Lima. News

Holding States Accountable for Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

25 March 2022

Our new Working Paper examines existing mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels for holding states accountable for their performance in implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

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Event

2022 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

18 October 2022, 09:00-19:00

The 2022 Annual Conference will focus on digital connectivity in the field of human rights. This includes a view of the digital connections by and among mechanisms within the human rights system, but also the substantive impacts of digitalization.

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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

14-18 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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Greece, ylakio, pre-removal center. Short Course

Introduction to International Human Rights Law

13 October - 1 November 2022

This online short course will provide participants with an introduction to substantive human rights law.

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Panel Discussion: Project

Treaty Body Members’ Platform

Started in January 2014

The Treaty Body Members’ Platform connects experts in UN treaty bodies with each other as well as with Geneva-based practitioners, academics and diplomats to share expertise, exchange views on topical questions and develop synergies.

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Project

Focused Reviews

Started in November 2021

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Cover of the publication Publication

Implementing the Treaty Body Review 2020 – Where do we stand

published on May 2022

Felix Kirchmeier, Chloé Naret, Domenico Zipoli

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