- Hans Weber
- December 7, 2023
Czech Republic Joins International Initiative to Promote Digital Human Rights at UN
The Czech Republic, in collaboration with South Africa, the Maldives, Mexico, and the Netherlands, is set to introduce a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee, focusing on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of digital technologies. Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky made this announcement during a speech at a Freedom Online Coalition event in New York, hosted by the United States.
The Third Committee, also known as the Social, Humanitarian, and Cultural Committee, addresses a wide range of social and human rights issues within the UN framework.
The primary objective of this resolution is to foster a foundational consensus on the application of human rights principles in the context of contemporary technologies. It also addresses the impact of digital technologies on essential human rights, including freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and access to information.
Minister Lipavsky emphasized that the protection of human rights in the digital sphere is a top priority for Czech foreign policy. While recognizing the significant contributions of new technologies to human rights development and protection, he also highlighted the unique challenges they present. He stressed the need for sustained attention to safeguarding human rights in the digital space, especially in the context of ongoing digitization and technology advancement.
Lipavsky emphasized that governments, civil society, and the private sector all play essential roles in protecting the fundamental pillars of a democratic society: human rights and the rule of law. He called for the application of international human rights standards both online and offline and stressed the importance of ensuring that digital policies and technology development align with the goals of enforcing human rights and supporting development policies.
In his words, “Digitalization must serve the people, not the other way around.”
Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Daniel Drake noted that Czech diplomacy aims to take a more active role within the United Nations, as evidenced by the country’s candidacy for the UN Security Council for 2032 and 2033. The Czech Republic previously served as a non-permanent member of the UNSC from 1994 to 1995 and has committed to addressing digital challenges and advocating for a human-centered and human rights-based approach during its current membership in the UN Human Rights Council.
The Czech Republic is also actively participating in the EU’s negotiations regarding new regulations for artificial intelligence and is contributing to the Council of Europe’s efforts to develop a legally binding instrument addressing the impact of AI on human rights.
This announcement aligns with global efforts to ensure that digital technologies support and enhance the protection of human rights while addressing the potential risks and challenges they pose. The initiative underscores the importance of international collaboration and consensus-building in this critical domain.
Article by Prague Forum
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- Hans Weber
- December 7, 2023