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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RESEARCHERS

Picture of Felix Kirchmeier

Felix Kirchmeier

Manager of Policy Studies and Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

Felix Kirchmeier oversees the conceptualization, development and implementation of policy research at the Geneva Academy. He is also the Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

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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NEWS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

Hand on a tablet on cyber space table screen News

Bridging Governance Gaps in the Age of Technology: A Discussion on the State Duty to Protect

11 March 2021

An online expert consultation co-organized with the UN Human Rights’ B-Tech Project discussed regulatory and policy responses to human rights challenges linked to digital technologies.

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

World Map News

Three Papers Map Contentious Issues Related to the Application of International Law to Military Cyber Operations

22 June 2021

Three new Working Papers – researched by the Geneva Academy in the context of our joint project with the ICRC on the digitalization of armed conflict – address some of the main issues of contention concerning the application of international law to military cyber operations.

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A general view of the Human Rights Council News

Professor Gabriella Citroni Elected to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances

15 July 2021

Professor Gabriella Citroni – who is part of our LLM Faculty – has been elected to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.

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Event

2021 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

12 October 2021, 09:00-18:00

The 2021 Annual Conference will discuss the connectivity between national human rights actors and the Geneva-based international mechanisms.

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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

8-12 November 2021

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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Project

HUMAN RIGHTS, BIG DATA AND TECHNOLOGY PROJECT

Started in May 2016

We are a partner of the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project, housed at the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre, which aims to map and analyse the human rights challenges and opportunities presented by the use of big data and associated technologies. It notably examines whether fundamental human rights concepts and approaches need to be updated and adapted to meet the new realities of the digital age.

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Session of a UN Treaty Body Project

Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Started in January 2019

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Cover page of the book Publication

War

published on July 2021

Andrew Clapham

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cover of the publication Publication

The United Nations Treaty Bodies in a Transition Period – Progress Review March-December 2020 Chronicle

published on June 2021

Olivier de Frouville

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