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UN expert joins call for immediate moratorium on sale, transfer and use of surveillance tech

Los Angeles (15 July 2020) With the publication of her latest report on emerging digital technologies and racial discrimination, UN Special Rapporteur Tendayi Achiume joins the call for an immediate moratorium on the sale, transfer and use of surveillance technology, until robust human rights safeguards are in place to regulate such practices. These safeguards include human rights due diligence that complies with international human rights law prohibitions on racial discrimination, independent oversight, strict privacy and data protection laws, and full transparency about the use of surveillance tools such as image recordings and facial recognition technology. In some cases, it will be necessary to impose outright bans on technology that cannot meet the standards enshrined in international human rights legal frameworks prohibiting racial discrimination. The Special Rapporteur’s call joins those of others within the human rights system that have articulated similar concerns including the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression,  David Kaye, and the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

Ms. E. Tendayi ACHIUME (Zambia) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in September 2017. Ms. Achiume is a Professor of Law at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. She is also a research associate of the African Center for Migration and Society at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.

For more information and media requests, please contact Kellie Ognimba (+41 22 917 9645 / kognimba@ohchr.org) or Minkyong Kim (+41 22 917 8876 / mkim@ohchr.org)