50th session of the Human Rights Council
Panel discussion on good governance in the promotion and protection of human rights during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
Nordic-Baltic statement read by Ambassador Bahtijors Hasans, PR of Latvia
Geneva, 22 June 2022
Thank you, Mister President.
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic countries – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden, and my own country – Latvia.
Digitalisation of justice and welfare systems, online submission and processing of taxes and other payments, and identity verification are just some of the examples of how countries around the world have introduced digitalisation to their governance processes. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this process by requiring governments more urgently to seek solutions to data collection and ensure continued access to public services.
New and emerging technologies, including AI, have an enormous potential for positive change. However, we must also be aware of the human rights challenges they can cause, such as digital discrimination and harassment, including against women and girls, and widespread dissemination of disinformation. Maximising the advantages and minimising the risks of new and emerging technologies calls for a cross-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach that respects human rights and addresses protection gaps.
In order for digitalisation to be in line with good governance principles, we must ensure a human rights-based approach in the use and development of digital technologies, and promote transparency and comprehensive human rights due diligence.
In this regard we wish to ask the panellists, what role can the Human Rights Council take in promoting a human rights-based approach to digital governance?