United Nations Human Rights Council

Palais Wilson 52, rue des Pâquis, CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

The Human Rights Council is a United Nations intergovernmental body whose mandate is to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe, and to make recommendations on cases of human rights violations. The Council is made up of 47 member states, as elected by the UN General Assembly. 

The Council works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), headed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who is the principal human rights official of the United Nation.

Freedom of expression and privacy in the online space are two of the issues covered by the Council in its activities. These have been discussed at UNHRC sessions, and covered in resolutions adopted by the Council, as well as in reports elaborated by the special rapporteurs appointed by the Council. The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression has issued reports on issues such as: the use of encryption and anonymity to exercise the rights to freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age; states’ surveillance of communications on the exercise of the human rights to privacy and to freedom of opinion and expression; the right to freedom of opinion and expression exercised through the Internet; etc. The Special Rapporteur on the righ to privacy has within its mandate the responsibility to make recommendations for the promotion and protection of the right to privacy, including in connection with challenges arising from new technologies.




UNHRC Special Rapporteur 2018 report on content regulation (2018)

GIP event reports

The right to privacy in the digital world (2019)
Scaling up human rights due diligence through the use of blockchain (2018)
Protecting human rights in public policy: What role for business? (2018)
Human rights due diligence in practice in ICT sector (2018)
Forum debate: Are tech companies a threat to human rights? (2018)
Disruptive Technology II: What does automation mean for human rights (2018)
Disruptive technology I: What does artificial intelligence mean for human rights due diligence? (2018)
Are States making progress on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights? Challenges, innovations and lessons learned from implementation (Part I & Part II) (2018)
Confidentiality of Communications and Privacy of Data in the Digital Age (2018)
Report on the Forum of Business and Human Rights (2018)
Side event: Digital identity, smart cities and other data intensive systems: the implications for the right to privacy (2018)
Side event: The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Ensuring Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Reducing Inequalities (2018)

Other resources


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