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

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Apply to our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law!

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Expert roundtable on digital human rights tracking tools and databases News

Digital Human Rights Tracking Tools and Databases: Pioneering Discussions at the Expert Roundtable

22 September 2023

More than 30 DHRTTD developers and users representing different permanent missions, national ministries, international and regional organizations, national human rights institutions, civil society organizations and academia delved into the transformation digital tools bring to the human rights landscape.

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Cells in a jail Event

Toward An International Human Right to Claim Innocence

8 March 2024, 13:15-14:45

This event will discuss and analyze the innocence gap in international law and discuss different strategies for achieving greater recognition of an international right to assert claims of factual innocence.

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Logo of the Atlas Network Event

Women's Perspectives on a Career in International Law: Navigating Humanitarian Negotiations

7 March 2024, 12:30-13:30

This event, co-organized with the ATLAS network, will feature women with diverse experiences and career paths in international law, specifically emphasizing their involvement in humanitarian negotiations.

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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

11-15 November 2024

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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Open dump Training

Protecting Human Rights and the Environment

2-20 September 2024

Participants in this training course, made of two modules, will examine the major international and regional instruments for the promotion of human rights and the environment, familiarizing themselves with the respective implementation and enforcement mechanisms.

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Understanding the Relationship between Conflict, Security and the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment

Started in May 2023

This project will develop guidance to inform security, human rights and environmental debates on the linkages between environmental rights and conflict, and how their better management can serve as a tool in conflict prevention, resilience and early warning.

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Neutrotechology Project

Neurotechnology and Human Rights

Started in August 2023

This project addresses the human rights implications stemming from the development of neurotechnology for commercial, non-therapeutic ends, and is based on a partnership between the Geneva Academy, the Geneva University Neurocentre and the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee. 

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Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Environmental Human Rights as a Tool in Early Warning and Conflict Prevention The Role of the Human Rights Council

published on January 2024

Erica Harper, Baïna Ubushieva

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Cover page of the Research Brief Publication

The Evolving Neurotechnology Landscape: Examining the Role and Importance of Human Rights in Regulation

published on December 2023

Erica Harper

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