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

Smartphone screen News

Aligning Regulations of Business Conduct in the Technology Sector with Human Rights

29 April 2022

A new Research Brief on Regulating Business Conduct in the Technology Sector: Gaps and Ways Forward in Applying the UNGPs depicts the prominent gaps in regulatory approaches to business conduct in the technology sector with regard to the UNGPs.

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A presentation on big data News

Placing Human Rights at the Centre of New Tech Regulations

14 March 2022

At a multi-stakeholder consultation, business, academia, civil society and state representatives discussed the gaps and ways forward in applying the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to regulate business conduct in the technology sector.

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Social media icons News

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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Publications

Cover of the publication

Regulating business conduct in the technology sector gaps and ways forward in applying the UNGPs

April 2022

Ana Beduschi, Isabel Ebert

The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

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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

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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

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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A session of the UN Human Rights Committee News

New Publication Takes Stock of UN Treaty Body Review 2020 Implementation

27 May 2022

Our new Research Brief provides a comprehensive summary of the key decisions taken and recommendations given by all relevant stakeholders in implementing the recommendations of the TB Review 2020 process.

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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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Afghanistan, Parwan detention facility. Inside a room where detainees of the prison, separated by an acrylic glass, are allowed to meet with their families a couple of times per year with the help of the ICRC employees who facilitate the programme. Short Course

Preventing and Combating Terrorism

27 April - 8 June 2023

This online short course discusses the extent to which states may limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter-terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.

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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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Session of a UN Treaty Body Project

Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Started in January 2019

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View of a session of the UN Human Rights Council Project

Human Rights Conversations

Started in January 2020

A series of events aimed at discussing contemporary issues and challenges related to the promotion and protection of human rights in Geneva and beyond.

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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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