The impact of new technologies on human rights


The EU-NGO Human Rights Forum : 9 – 10 December 2020

The impact of new technologies on human rights is the theme of the 22nd annual EU-NGO Human Rights Forum that will take place online on 9 and 10 December 2020. The aim of the Forum is to explore the opportunities and challenges of digitalisation and notably for civil society and human rights defenders.

The global pandemic has underscored the importance of new technologies and has accelerated the transition to the digital age. While digital technologies can facilitate access to education, work, information and health services, we are also confronted with the spread of disinformation and hate speech online. Surveillance and censorship hamper the work of civil society while Artificial Intelligence exacerbates inequalities. Human rights must be protected both online and offline. This requires the engagement of all stakeholders, including civil society and the private sector.

The programme consists of four main themes:

  • Fundamental freedoms in the digital sphere;
  • Engaging with the private sector;
  • Privacy and surveillance; and
  • Artificial intelligence.

For the first time, it will be held entirely virtually. Many sessions will be interactive and the general public may also follow a number of the web streamed sessions. Please check out the detailed programme here and join!

The High Representative and Vice President Josep Borrell and Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen will deliver a video speech. And many other high-level speakers will share their views, from the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to the EU Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore, the Fundamental Rights Agency Director Michael O’Flaherty, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), and representative from emblematic NGOs. Several hundreds of human rights defenders and civil society organisations from across the world will join the discussions, exchange best practices and make recommendations on EU digital policies and external action.

The Forum is organised by the EEAS and the European Commission, together with the Human Rights and Democracy Network (HRDN), the Brussels based network of NGOs operating in the areas of human rights and democracy.

European Commission - European External Action Service - Human Rights Democracy Network, Online