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Morocco’s HRC urged to focus on new technologies on human rights

The Human Rights Council (HRC) should pay special attention to the impact of new technologies on human rights, Moroccan Foreign…

The Human Rights Council (HRC) should pay special attention to the impact of new technologies on human rights, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said on Tuesday.Speaking during a virtually held debate on the role of the UNHRC in promoting a human rights-based approach to new and emerging technologies, Bourita said that the current pace of digital innovation exceeds the capacity of states to manage their potential societal impacts.

 

“Indeed, there are important gaps that need to be filled, particularly with regard to the relationship between new technologies and human rights,” he said. In this context, Bourita identified four major challenges requiring special attention in the context of new and emerging technologies.

 

The minister stressed that new technologies have a significant impact on the environment. Indeed, in terms of CO2 emissions, the Internet pollutes 1.5 times more than air transport, Bourita said.

 

“Therefore, the UNHRC must pay particular attention to the impact of new technologies on human rights for a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment,” he said, noting that Morocco strongly encourages the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment to devote one of his next reports to this issue.

 

Due to the development of new technologies, there are cases where many jobs are lost, especially in developing countries, the minister said. By 2030, in about 60 percent of occupations, at least one third of activities could be automated and up to 14 percent of the global workforce would have to change occupational category, he added, citing the International Labour Organisation.

 

On artificial intelligence, the minister said that in order to ensure that this technology is fully compliant with human rights, every stage of the development of algorithms, including their design and deployment, must incorporate a human rights-based approach. In this regard, it is imperative to bring the world of computer science and the world of human rights closer together, to train engineers in human rights and to involve human rights experts in algorithm development, he stressed.

 

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