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.

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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NEWS AND EVENTS

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

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

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’

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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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Peru, Chungui district, Totora village. Flowers wait to be placed on top of the gravesite for Marcelino's mother and three younger siblings. News

20 Pages to Address Key Transitional Justice Topics

September 2020

Students of our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law – 2019-2020 academic year – successfully took up the challenge of addressing in around 20-pages contemporary transitional justice issues and challenges.

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Geneva Human Rights Platform staff during the online conference News

Towards Inclusive Cities: Experts Discuss Online the Situation of Persons with Disabilities and Older Persons

May 2020

During two days around 60 experts analysed existing challenges and barriers for persons with disabilities and older persons in an urban context and made specific recommendations thereof.

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A general view of the Human Right Council. Event

The United Nations and Human Rights: A Critical Appraisal

October 2020, 15:00-16:30

In this online event, some contributors to the new edition of Philip Alston and Frédéric Mégret’s book ‘The United Nations and Human Rights’ will examine the functions, procedures, and performance of the major UN organs dealing with human rights.

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Event

Human Rights and the Precarious Condition of Electoral Democracy

October 2020, 15:00-16:30

With less than a week remaining to what is likely to be the most contested US presidential election in decades, this webinar will discuss the precarious condition of electoral democracies in these challenging times.

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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

30 April - May 2021

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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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

2- November 2020

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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First annual conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform Project

The Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform

Started in June 2019

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Séléka rebels patrol in the town of Bria, Central African Republic (CAR). Project

Human Rights Responsibilities and Armed Non-State Actors

Started in June 2018

This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.

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Cover page of the book Publication

The UN Human Rights Council: A Practical Anatomy

published on September 2020

Eric Tistounet

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