The Centre for Human Rights commends the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the adoption of Resolution 473 on the “need to undertake a study on human and peoples’ rights and artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other new and emerging technologies in Africa”. 

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In the Resolution, the Commission recognises that the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the resultant new and emerging technologies such as AI not only promote but also pose challenges to human rights. Resolution 473 is adopted at a time when Africa, mainly the private sector, is harnessing these transformative technologies for various reasons including fostering the much needed development of the continent. African governments are also expressing interest in embracing AI for more efficient governance and economic growth.

The Centre reiterates the Commission’s position on the need to respect human rights in the adoption and deployment of new and emerging technologies. We welcome the Commission’s commitment to undertake a study that would lead to the development of guidelines on AI and human rights, in collaboration with the African Group of Experts on AI and new technologies. This proactive approach will enable the Commission to provide guidance that will enable law-makers and policy-makers to navigate the complexities associated with the use of AI and other technologies. The Centre hopes that with the adoption of human rights-respecting legal and policy frameworks, Africa stands to benefit from the new and emerging technologies for the advancement of political and socio-economic growth.

“It is important that African civil society and academics actively participate in shaping a world that will increasingly be influenced by AI,” remarked the Director of the Centre, Frans Viljoen. The Centre is engaged in a campaign (#Tech4Rights) aimed at letting African voices be heard more distinctly in ongoing discussions around the implications of emerging technologies, including AI, for the human rights of the people of Africa.

For more information, please contact: 

Hlengiwe Dube
Manager: Expression, Information and Digital Rights Unit

Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 4199
Fax: +27 (0) 86 580 5743


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