Regulating AI: Statement in Support of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

July 28, 2023

Statement in Support of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Call to Regulate AI

We are a collection of organizations and advocates who are dedicated to creating a future where all citizens of the global digital ecosystem, no matter who they are or where they live, can enjoy equal rights to safety, freedom, and dignity.

High Commissioner Türk is absolutely right when, in his remarks at the High Level Side Event of the 53rd Session of the Human Rights Council, he calls for global agreement on regulating AI that is aligned with universal human rights and rule of law frameworks, and convened by the United Nations. The High Commissioner emphasizes that the human rights framework “provides an essential foundation that can provide guardrails for efforts to exploit the enormous potential of AI, while preventing and mitigating its enormous risks.”

This includes:

  • Making sure that human rights are embedded in AI’s entire life cycle. And that regulations need to require assessment of the human rights risks and impacts of AI systems before, during, and after their use.

  • Listening to those who are affected, as well as to those who have already spent many years identifying and responding to harms. With a particular focus on women, minority groups and marginalized people, because they are disproportionately affected by bias in AI. And making serious efforts to bring them to the table for any discussion on governance.

  • That attention is also needed to the use of AI in public and private services where there is a heightened risk of abuse of power or privacy intrusions – justice, law enforcement, migration, social protection, or financial services.

  • That AI technologies that cannot be operated in compliance with international human rights law must be banned or suspended until such adequate safeguards are in place.

  • That existing regulations and safeguards need to be implemented – for example, frameworks on data protection, competition law, and sectoral regulations, including for health, tech or financial markets.

  • That we should not let the AI industry assert that self-regulation is sufficient, or to claim that they should define the applicable legal framework. It is essential that the full democratic process – laws shaped by all stakeholders – is brought to bear.

  • That companies must live up to their responsibilities to respect human rights in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

AI, human rights and our shared digital future

As the High Commissioner says, we need urgent action from Governments and Companies. The Global Digital Compact is an immediate opportunity to start this process. And we call on Governments to seize this opportunity to create a digital future in which everyone can enjoy equal rights to safety, freedom, and dignity.


Ababacar Diop, President – Jonction
Adrian Ferreira, Activist
Agita Pasaribu, Founder and Executive Director – NMA Foundation
Alan Kirker, Communicator and Designer
Alice Apostoly, Co-Director – Gender in Geopolitics Institute
Amnesty International
Ani Zonneveld, President – Muslims for Progressive Values
Anita Gurumurthy & Nandini Chami – Deputy Director IT for Change
Anna Braun, Tech author, Speaker, Entrepreneur and Influencer
Anu Sahai, First Vice President – League of Women Voters of Virginia
Asha Khamisi, Broadcaster
Association des Personnes Patriotes du Burundi

Baroness Helena Kennedy, Director – International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute
Beryl Aidi, Activist
Caitlin Kraft-Buchman, CEO/Founder – Women@TheTable
Caleb Ogundele, Project Director – African Academic Network on Internet Policy
Carrie Bonduris, Content writer
Catherine Harrington, Activist
Chris Rowell, Academic
Dada Digital Initiative
Dana Morris, CEO
Dylan Wray, Director – Shikaya
Emma Gibson, CEO – Women Leading in AI

Francesca Bosco, Chief Strategy Officer – CyberPeace Institute
Fundacion Multitudes
Gianclaudio Malgieri, Co-Director – Brussels Privacy Hub
Girls Not Brides: The Global Partnership to End Child Marriage
Ivana Bartoletti, Founder – Women Leading in AI
Karolina Alama-Maruta, Academic
Kelvin Mwangi, Assistant Lecturer – Multimedia University of Kenya
Kenneth Dimalibot, Senior Communications Advisor – Global Digital Inclusion Partnership
Kiplangat Ngetich, Mentor – Mentorme Kenya

Ludmila Paczes, Activist
Luiza Beirão Campos
Manjola Perja, Founder – ALVA-Albanian Values
Media Foundation for West Africa
Mona Sinha, Global Executive Director – Equality Now
Nelly Mwaringa, Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Consultant – Data Alma
Noor Mo’alla, Founder – Collision AI

ONG Amaranta
Patricia Shaw, CEO – Beyond Reach Consulting Limited
Policy Alert
Roya Pakzad, Founder and Director – Taraaz
Rwandan Organisation of Women with Disabilities
Sally Ncube, Activist
Siani Morris, Director – JAAG
Susie Alegre, Human Rights Lawyer and Author

Tabitha Muthiru, Digital Rights Activist
Tanny Chia, Media Professional
Tanveer Anoy, Founder – SANNOY
World Wide Web Foundation
Yunusa Ya’u, Executive Director – Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD)

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