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03/11/2023 Advocacy, Joint Initiatives, Social Forum

Statement from Impact Iran at #SocialForum2023

Thank you Chair,

On behalf of ARC Association, All Human Rights for All in Iran and of the Coalition Impact Iran, we welcome the topic of this Forum. The contribution of science, technology and innovation to the promotion of human rights is a timely topic. Their contribution to the promotion of equality and non-discrimination is also of crucial importance.

Now, as stressed by the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights yesterday, technology and innovation are double edged swords. They can be used to advance equality as they can be used to undermine it and violate rights.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran for example, authorities have been extensively using new artificial intelligence and digital facial recognition technology to surveil, arrest and punish women and protesters. To this day, Iranian officials threaten women that they are deploying and developing facial recognition technology to track the identities of the scores of Iranian women and girls who still defy the Islamic Republic’s discriminatory compulsory veiling legislation by not wearing the mandatory hijab in public.

In this instance, Mister Chair, we will all agree that technology and innovation have not been used to promote equality and non-discrimination.

Iranian authorities are adding these innovative technologies to an already well-furnished digital toolkit for repression, including internet shutdowns, disruptions, censorship tools and surveillance technologies.

Mr. Chair,

The important topic of this Forum – and in fact this Forum itself – deserve more than empty statements. They deserve consistency between words and deeds, and they deserve genuine commitment to the ideals of human rights and equality.

I thank you.

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