The UN Human Rights Council
Personal Data at Risk
In the Digital Age that is upon us, people seek to make connections and services that make their life easier, mainly by using the Internet. The Internet has enabled new forms of social interaction, activities, and social associations. The Internet usage has seen tremendous growth. From 2000 to 2009, the number of Internet users globally rose from 394 million to 1.858 billion.
However, the increasing number of users suggests that more and more personal data is made vulnerable being exposed by the people who use all kinds of software and services. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (OHCHR), to date ratified by 167 States, states that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, location, family or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on their honour and reputation. Although several measures have been taken by the UN Human Rights Council and other such entities, the data vulnerability still represents a major issue in today’s society.
During this year’s conference, the HR Council will attempt to find new means of securing people’s personal information and putting an end to the sale of their data once for all.
Questions to keep in mind:
- How could the UN ensure that companies use their users’ information within the legal threshold?
- What measures should be taken in the case of entities selling their customers’ data?
- How can people acknowledge the risks they subject themselves to when giving companies their personal information?
Strangers among Peoples
According to the UNO Declaration on the Human Rights of Individuals who are not Nationals of the Country in which They Live (1985), a non-citizen is defined as “any individual who is not a national of a State in which he or she is present.” Non-citizens include asylum seekers, migrant workers, refugees, stateless persons, and trafficked persons.
Being a non-citizen mainly implies not speaking the language of the country you reside in, having a different type of education than the one promoted by this country, having a different culture, habits etc. While one, as a non-citizen, should learn the language and adopt the host country’s principles as fast as possible, the other people should not violate any of their Human Rights on account of them being foreigners.
These non-citizens suffer from violations of the economic rights, children’s rights, women’s rights, the right to freedom and life. For instance, a non-citizen will be offered only minimum wage jobs and will surely work in terrible conditions, no matter how highly qualified they are. Moreover, if a citizen and a foreigner apply for the same job, the citizen will take it 9 out of 10 cases even though he is less qualified due to people’s national pride.
Hence, what the Human Rights Council wants to achieve in this year’s conference is to find a balance between differentiating citizens from non-citizens and not making foreigners targets of discrimination.
Questions to keep in mind:
- Where should we draw the line between citizens and non-citizens when it comes to rights?
- Should the UN encourage ethical behaviour over nationalism and why?
- How can the UN help integrate non-citizens without providing them with citizenship?