Report on the impact of new technologies on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of assemblies


Published:
24 June 2020
Author:
OHCHR
Presented:
To the Human Rights Council at its 40th session

Background

At its thirty-eighth session, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 38/11 in which it requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on new technologies, including information and communications technology, and their impact on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of assemblies, including peaceful protests, and to submit it to the Human Rights Council prior to its forty-fourth session.

Summary

The report highlights how certain new technologies, accessible through secure internet access, can enable the exercise of the right of peaceful assembly and calls on states to avoid interfering with such technologies, including via internet shutdowns. It also underlines how the use of new technologies, such as technology-enabled surveillance, facial recognition technology and less-lethal weapons can lead to human rights violations when used to surveil or crack down on protesters. The report concludes that the use of such new technologies should be regulated in line with human rights norms and standards to avoid unlawful limitations on human rights by States. In particular, the report calls for a moratorium on the use of facial recognition technology in the context of peaceful assemblies, until authorities can demonstrate compliance with applicable human rights standards. It also calls on States to refrain from using less-lethal weapons for crowd control when less harmful means would be effective.

Additional information on the report:

New technologies must serve, not hinder, right to peaceful protest, Press conference with Piggy Hicks UN Human Rights, Director of Thematic Engagement and Mona Rishmawi UN Human Rights Chief of Rule of Law Branch
25 June 2020

  Call to action: Watch on Vimeo

Report launch press release

Inputs received

States

Intergovernmental organizations

Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council

National Human Rights Institutions

Civil Society, including Non-Governmental Organizations