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

Helmer Jonelid and Edward Millett in front of Villa Moynier entrance News

Mandela Moot Court: Geneva Academy Team Reaches the Final Rounds

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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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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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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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

Spring 2023

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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Un plate with Rapporteur Spécial written on it Project

Support to UN Special Procedures

Started in June 2020

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A Practitioners' Guide on Human Rights and Countering Corruption

Completed in January 2015

This research project, aimed via the drafting of a practitioners’ guide on human rights and countering corruption, to clarify the conceptual relationship between human rights, good governance and anticorruption, demonstrate the negative impact of corruption on human rights and provide guidance and make practical recommendations for effectively using the UN human rights system in anti-corruption efforts.

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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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