Alex Neve of AI Canada wants us to put human rights first in the new decade

January 3, 2020

..If ever there was a need for a resolution for a new decade, this is it: put human rights first.

…This decade has been a breathless time of mass mobilization, as staggering numbers of people have spilled out into public squares, streets and alleyways in communities large and small: The “Arab Spring” protests across the Middle East and North Africa, Idle No More, Black Lives Matter, FridaysForFuture climate strikes, the #MeToo movement and Women’s Marches and the March for Our Lives against gun violence in the United States. Protesters who refused to give up have toppled cruel leaders, stopped unjust laws and catalyzed struggles against deep inequities in Sudan, Hong Kong, Chile, Haiti, Algeria and Lebanon; and have been met with terrifying violence from security forces leading to hundreds of deaths in Iran and Iraq.

The decade has also been marked by the tension of technology’s wonders and threats. The digital world has opened up exciting new platforms of communication and means of accessing and sharing information, often to considerable benefit for human-rights movements. However, we have also witnessed an explosion of hate, racism and sexism on social media; growing awareness that the rise of artificial intelligence brings unimagined human-rights worries; and new tools of state surveillance and intrusion into our privacy that pose some of the most insidious and chilling threats to human rights that we have ever seen.

Above it all – as we move into the 2020s – the urgency of responding to the gravest human-rights challenge of our time, the global climate crisis, deepens daily. And the outright refusal of governments and businesses, including in Canada, to pursue climate action and deliver climate justice that is truly and ambitiously serious, stands out as perhaps the most unforgivable human-rights failing of the decade. The decade behind us reminds us that the threats to human-rights protection run deep and demand vigilance; the power of the people is, ultimately, unstoppable; there is great risk in embracing all that technology offers without addressing its many perils; and that if we do not safeguard our one and only shared global climate, all of our human-rights effort will ultimately be for naught.

And therefore with deep resolve it is imperative and it is incumbent upon us all to make the 2020s a very different decade.

  • A decade in which women’s equality, women’s leadership and women’s power is consistently at the fore.
  • A decade in which we at long last deliver the commitment – an empty one for far too long – of a world that will “never again” witness mass atrocities.
  • A decade in which we all live up to our shared, personal responsibility to say no to racism, bigotry and hate.
  • A decade that tackles the climate crisis; finally embracing the catastrophic reality that without a climate, all human-rights struggles inevitably mean nothing.
  • Quite simply, a decade that – no matter the cost, the inconvenience, the controversy or the opposing interests – puts human rights first.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2019/07/09/environmental-defenders-in-alberta-canada-be-warned-oil-will-get-you/

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-a-resolution-for-a-new-decade-put-human-rights-first/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: