The 48th Session of the Human Rights Council
Item 9: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
(4 October 2021)
Oral Statement on behalf of Meezaan Center for Human Rights
Delivered by: Beatrice Serra
Thank you, President,
We would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for her latest report on the impacts of digital technologies on racial equality and non-discrimination in border enforcement.
Over the past years, Governments’ and private sectors’ use of digital technologies to collect, store and share people’s personal data has generated multifaceted challenges for the protection of human rights.
Meezaan Center for Human Rights and Geneva International Centre for Justice are deeply concerned about the deployment of experimental and dangerous digital technology by Governments and non-state actors. “Smart borders” play a crucial role in fostering an anti-migrant and discriminatory narrative, which in turn feeds the public’s fear of migrants and the rejection of minorities within their society. We remind that States have the responsibility to condemn racism and promote tolerance, as established in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action. Therefore, digital technologies must be used to combat inequalities and contribute to end racial divisions.
Special Rapporteur, to adequately protect the human rights of migrants, stateless persons, refugees and other non-citizens, a shift in the regulation of the use of technology is required. In this regard, we urge States:
- to develop and implement accountability frameworks and human rights oversight mechanisms to prevent and combat racial discriminations and violations due to digital border technologies;
- to support, adopt and fully implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.