in Human Rights

Telecommunication Standardization Bureau activities about Human Rights and Standards

TD presentation during the TSAG plenary

TD presentation during the TSAG plenary

(Originally published on the ITU website)

Embedding human rights in digital technologies is currently one of the United Nations’ priorities. On February 24, 2023, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, explained the importance of taking human rights into account in technical standards at a high-level meeting at the World Standards Cooperation (WSC). This was reported to the last TSAG meeting (TD213).

ITU Council discussed this subject as well in its July 2023 meeting (see C74 and C49). In recent months, the Human Rights Council has updated two resolutions on human rights applied to digital technologies. Resolution (A/HRC/RES/53/29) “New and emerging digital technologies and human rights”, updated on July 14, 2023, and resolution (A/HRC/54/L.12) “The right to privacy in the digital age”, updated on October 6, 2023.

In addition, the “UN Secretary-General’s Guidelines on Human Rights Due Diligence in the Use of Digital Technologies” are currently being drafted.

The ongoing digital revolution has shaped our world in unprecedented ways, fundamentally altering the way we communicate, work, and interact with information. In this ever-changing context, it is imperative to recognize the importance of embedding human rights in technical standardization design.

In the context of digital technologies, human rights include concepts such as the preservation of privacy, freedom of expression, access to information, data protection and non-discrimination. They are essential to preserving human dignity and ensuring that everyone can fully enjoy the opportunities offered by the digital world.

Thus, embedding human rights in technical standardization design is intrinsically linked to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and to strengthening the inclusion of all in the digital economy.

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