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Reimagining global rights and justice: insights from the Forge Conference hosted by NYU Center for Human Rights and Global Justice

On 2-5 November 2023, the Future of Rights and Governance (FORGE) Conference, hosted by the NYU Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of Law, united the academic world and international human rights practitioners and activists to discuss the current challenges, solutions and the future of human rights and global governance.

By Valentina Gurney, Global Human Rights Lead at DNV

Forge23-400x244.jpgThe theme of the conference was especially pressing this year as the world is faced with the highest level of conflict globally since 1945, rising inequalities and ungoverned technology, in the words of Volker Turk, The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Reflecting on the changing perception of technology and its impact on human rights from hopeful, connecting and empowering just a decade ago, to now more perplexing, manipulative and disruptive due to the emergence of AI, FORGE also followed the evolution of human rights and highlighted many critical milestones through a prism of legal scholarship.

The ongoing challenges, especially in the areas of dwindling democracy, global and local conflicts, informational wars and deepfakes, and ongoing environmental crises affecting human rights more severely, were further illuminated by the presentations of human rights practitioners and activists like: Patricia Gualinga, International Relations Director for the Kichwa First People of Sarayaku reflecting on the struggle and recent victories of indigenous tribes in Ecuador; Sam Gregory of the Witness, an NGO that studies AI, deepfakes and supports documentation of human rights violations; and University of Michigan and University of Toronto researchers that conducted an analysis on cross national Google search data to map where human rights resonate the most, among other speakers. For four days participants were also engaged in a series of focused solution streams covering four distinct areas of human rights: Democratic Renewal, Ecological Emergencies, Rising Inequalities, and Technology – with DNV taking the lead in the latter.

The technology stream looked for innovative ways to build promising initiatives for the near, medium and far future using a series of reframing, deconstructing and creative approaches that take into consideration society, missing stakeholders, impact on individuals (souls), reflections on current systems and policies, in particular the issue of digital ID, and emerging paradigm shifts.

At the end of our collaboration the group uncovered many intersections on improving tools for monitoring human rights and prosecution and documentation of human rights abuses. One solution in particular was the creation of a Human Rights Chatbox that would be a public trusted source to get verified and referenced answers to questions.

As we connect with the group in the upcoming months to develop this pilot, DNV is already undertaking this work as we deliver Human Rights Due Diligence assessments for our clients across industries. Moreover, new connections with thought leaders forged in this sector of work over past week are critical for us to better understand the human rights and technology landscape to enable us to build more robust and trustworthy solutions that stand a test of time.

Find out more about how we support organizations to understand, monitor and report on human rights compliance and social impact around the world here.

11/29/2023 12:00:00 AM
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