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Czech Republic and Four Other States To Propose UN Resolution On Digital Human Rights

The resolution aims to build a basic consensus on the application of human rights in the context of modern technologies. Credit: Freepik.

New York/Prague, Sept 21 (CTK) – The Czech Republic, together with South Africa, the Maldives, Mexico and the Netherlands, will submit a resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of digital technologies to the UN General Assembly Third Committee, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said yesterday.

The Third Committee is also known as the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee.

Lipavsky made the announcement in a speech at a Freedom Online Coalition event convened by the United States in New York.

The resolution, he said, aims to build a basic consensus on the application of human rights in the context of modern technologies, and also addresses their impact on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, and access to information.

Lipavsky said the topic of human rights in the digital sphere is high on the list of Czech foreign policy priorities. He added that while new technologies can significantly contribute to the development and protection and promotion of human rights, they also bring serious and specific challenges.

It is therefore necessary to focus on the protection of human rights in the digital space along with the ongoing digitization and development of new technologies, he said.

Governments, civil society and the private sector must protect the fundamental pillars of a democratic society, human rights and the rule of law, and apply the international human rights framework both offline and online, LIpavsky said. It is therefore necessary, he said, to focus on ensuring that digital policy and technology development act as tools to facilitate the enforcement of rights and are consistent with development policies.

“Digitalization must serve the people, not the other way around,” he said.

Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Daniel Drake said Czech diplomacy has the ambition to be more active in the United Nations, which is why it is running for the UN Security Council (UNSC) for 2032 and 2033.

The Czech Republic was a non-permanent member of the UNSC from 1994 to 1995. In the 2007 ballot, it lost to Croatia. As part of its commitments for the current membership of the UN Human Rights Council, the Czech Republic pledged to address digital challenges and promote a human-centred and human rights-based approach.

“We are also actively engaged in the ongoing negotiations on a new regulation of artificial intelligence in the EU. Finally, we are working in the framework of the Council of Europe on the elaboration of a legally binding instrument on the impact of AI on human rights,” Lipavsky said.

The event took place on the sidelines of the 78th UN General Assembly, which Lipavsky is attending as part of Czech President Petr Pavel’s delegation. Yesterday, he also signed the Global Declaration on Information Integrity Online. On Monday, Lipavsky attended a meeting on the Middle East Peace Process and an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers, before which he met with his counterparts from the Visegrad Group countries, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.

On Tuesday, Lipavsky held a series of bilateral meetings, including with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejcinovic Buric. Together with President Pavel, Lipavsky also held talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.


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