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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20 June 2022

The Geneva Academy team at the 2022 Mandea Moot Court – Helmer Jonelid and Edward Millett – qualified for the final rounds of the competition that will take place in Geneva from 18 to 21 July 2022.

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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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Cover page of the book Event

Book Launch: ‘Serious violations of Human Rights, On the Emergence of a New Special Regime’

12 October 2022, 18:00-20:00

This event marks the launch of our LLM alumna Ilia Siatitsa’s book ‘Serious violations of human rights, On the emergence of a new special regime’ published by Oxford University Press.

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Persons walking in front of a blue wall Event

Strike While It's Hot: Protecting and Advancing Human Rights Online

4 October 2022, 13:15-14:45

This side event at the margins of the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council will discuss areas of progress as well as critical gaps in the international affirmation and protection of human rights in the digital age.

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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

1 March - 18 April 2023

This online short course 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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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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Focused Reviews

Started in November 2021

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Cover page of the book Publication

Research Handbook on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

published on September 2022

Gloria Gaggioli, Robert Kolb, Pavle Kilibarda

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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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