General Debate under Item 2
Item:2 Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
11 September 2018
Joint Statement by: International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ), and Homo Digitalis
We would like to thank the High Commissioner for her oral update and her overall efforts throughout all these years for the protection of human rights in a constantly changing world.
We wish her all the best in his future endeavours.
EAFORD, Geneva International Centre for Justice and Homo Digitalis would like to focus particularly in the High Commissioner’s Report on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age.
The Internet reforms our society as a whole, but also the human existence in itself, by creating a new, digital representation of ourselves; a digital personality, which is not necessarily identical to our real personality, but enjoys the same freedoms and rights.
To this end, the High Commissioner’s Report is more acute than ever.
We wish to underline that ensuring the protection of individuals against unlawful or arbitrary interference from surveillance measures requires that effective national legal frameworks are in place.
However in many jurisdictions, national legislation is non-existent, ambiguous or outdated.
Even under the EU General Data Protection Regulation, a milestone in the protection of the right to privacy in the digital age, governments still have ample scope to claim that national security justifies attacks on privacy.
We urge all States, civil society and stakeholders to work towards giving individuals knowledge and tools necessary to look after themselves; this might prove to be the most effective response to an uneven –and sometimes contradictory legal landscape.
We should always remember that the only non-legal instrument that is powerful enough to provoke change is human conscience.