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

A general view at a 26th session of the Human Rights Council News

Human Rights Mechanisms Must Play a Key Role in the Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Right of Peasants

3 February 2020

Our new Research Brief discusses the role of human rights mechanisms at national, regional and international levels in monitoring the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.

Read more

Heavy erosion on the east side of Greneda, near Grenville. News

Call for Papers: Human Rights and the Climate Change Crisis

23 April 2020

Graduate and postgraduate researchers having obtained their PhD within the past 10 years are invited to submit proposals for a workshop that will examine the relationship between climate change and human rights.

Read more

Logo of the Atlas Network Event

Women's perspectives on a career in international law

15 July 2020, 13:00-14:15

In this online event co-organized with the ATLAS Network, prominent women in international law will share their experience and advice through an interactive discussion.

Read more

Egypt, Cairo, 2011: Makeshift barricade outside interior ministry gate. Short Course

The Right to Life and the Right of Peaceful Assembly in Transitions

Fall 2020

This online course will examine the protection afforded by international human rights law in these contexts, with a specific focus on the right to peaceful assembly – which is at the heart of such movements –, and the right to life – which is often violated during such transitional moments.

Read more

Nepal,  Bardia district, Gulariya. Families of missing persons mark the 29th International Day of the Disappeared. Short Course

Human Rights and Transitional Justice

Fall 2020

This online course aims at unpacking the nature and scope of international human rights law in transitional contexts.

Read more

Session of a UN Treaty Body Project

Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Started in January 2019

Read more

Séléka rebels patrol in the town of Bria, Central African Republic (CAR). Project

Human Rights Responsibilities and Armed Non-State Actors

Started in June 2018

This research aims at building a common understanding and vision as to how states and the relevant parts of the UN system can provide a concrete and practical framework to address human rights responsibilities of armed non-state actors.

Read more

Cover page of the manual Publication

#ESCR AND #SDGs: Practical Manual on the Role of UN Human Rights Mechanisms in Monitoring the SDGs that Seek to Realize Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

published on July 2020

Christophe Golay

Read more