Our New Visiting Fellow: Dr Ana Beduschi

Portrait of Ana Beduschi Portrait of Ana Beduschi

17 October 2019

Dr Ana Beduschi is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Exeter, in the United Kingdom. Her research and teaching focus on international human rights law, technology (including big data and artificial intelligence), as well as international migration and refugee law.

Her recent publications analyse the impact of digital identity on human rights protection, the implications of big data for international migration and human rights law, and the relevance of the concept of vulnerability for the protection of migrant children’s rights.

She just started as Visiting Fellow at the Geneva Academy and will stay with us until December 2019.

What Motivated you to Carry out a Fellowship at the Geneva Academy?

A key aspect that motivated me to apply for the fellowship is that the Geneva Academy provides a unique forum for knowledge exchange not only within academia but also due to its interactions with international organizations, NGOs, experts and governments. I have long been familiar with the work of many of the academics and considered it a wonderful opportunity to be able to share ideas and develop my research here.

What Will Be the Focus of your Research during this Fellowship?

During my visiting fellowship, I will investigate the opportunities and challenges that Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms and related technologies present for state obligations under international human rights law (IHRL). In particular, I will focus on the rights to privacy, data protection, freedom of expression, non-discrimination and due process.

Why are these Issues Important?

AI permeates many aspects of our daily lives. It powers the predictive policing tools used by the police to fight crime, the algorithms designed to improve health diagnostics, or the algorithms used to determine child welfare and support. Each of these examples has profound implications for human rights.

On the one hand, AI can be a powerful tool for states seeking to advance human rights protection. For example, AI algorithms can sift through vast amounts of data to establish patterns and predict behaviour. That can be useful in prioritising medical care or in identifying children who need urgent access to welfare and support. If correctly designed, AI algorithms can also enable police forces to target pockets of crime more efficiently and thus protect the life and safety of individuals.

On the other hand, if not correctly designed and applied, AI algorithms can lead to human rights violations. For instance, ill-designed predictive policing tools can cause discrimination based on race, ethnicity or gender. Privacy and data protection are particularly at stake when sensitive medical information or children’s data are used to feed the algorithms. So, the way these algorithms are designed and implemented can have a crucial impact on the states’ compliance with their obligations under IHRL.

What Will be the Impact of this Research?

My aims are primarily to advance the scholarship and inform policymaking in this area. Policymakers should be aware of the consequences for human rights protection when deploying AI solutions. There have been important developments in the field of ethics of AI recently. However, ethics is only one relevant aspect in this area. It is important to bear in mind that we already have a legally binding framework of IHRL, which should be taken into consideration regarding the application of new technologies such as AI.

What Do you Expect from your Time at the Geneva Academy?

I expect the fellowship will enable me to have the time to reflect and develop my research, but most of all I look forward to interacting with and learning from the Geneva Academy researchers, staff, and experts. I am grateful for the very warm welcome I received from the team on my arrival, and I am excited about the upcoming weeks.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Sima Samar at the conference News

Sima Samar Will Deliver the Keynote Speech at the Geneva Human Rights Platform 2021 Annual Conference

21 September 2021

Sima Samar, former Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, will deliver the keynote speech at the 2021 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

Read more

Computer screen with html code News

New Working Paper Discusses the Relevance of Smart Mix of Measure in AI Governance and Regulation

1 October 2021

Our new Working Paper discusses how current initiatives on the regulation of artificial intelligence technologies should incorporate the protection and respect for human rights.

Read more

Traditional dresses Event

Minority Issues and Universality

1 December 2021, 10:00-11:30

In this Human Rights Conversation, panelists will reflect on the principle of universality of human rights – and associated challenges – in specific relation to the advancement of minority issues at the UN.

Read more

An aerial view of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs), which have appeared following latest attacks by M23 rebels and other armed groups in the North Kivu region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Short Course

International Refugee Law

9 March - 13 April 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

Read more

Prison visit by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Haiti Short Course

The Implementation of International Human Rights Law

16 December - 14 January 2022

This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.

Read more

Human Rights Commission, VCalparaiso, Chile Project

The Role of National Human Rights Systems in the Implementation of International Human Rights Standards and Recommendations

Started in March 2020

This project aims to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the strengths and weaknesses affecting different National Human Rights Systems.

Read more

NYU Stern BHR Knitwear Factory in Mymensingh Project

Business and Human Rights: Towards a Decade of Global Implementation

Started in July 2020

This project aims at supporting the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights' project for the 10th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Read more

cover of the publication Publication

Promoting Quality Independent and Diverse Treaty Body Membership

published on November 2021

Claire Callejon

Read more