Trans-humanism and Cyber-culture

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A public side event was held on Wednesday June 14, 2017 at the Palais des Nations focusing on Trans-humanism and Cyber-culture, the objective of this event presented by Osman El Hajjé, followed by Juan Garcia, Alfred Fernandez and Alfred de Zayas was to reflect on the relationship between human rights and science and technology. This is of crucial importance when developments in biology, nanotechnology and computers in particular pose fundamental human rights challenges. It is a matter of looking at science in the light of human rights and of placing respect and protection of rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights – especially cultural rights – at the center of sustainable human development.

The Trans-humanism definition, explained deeply by Alfred Fernandez, is a movement to slow aging in the capacity physic. Singularity is the moment when in the years of 2040 to 2080 that technologies will take over the humans. Big companies such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook are investing billions of dollars wanting technologies to regulate global warming and not humans, but it will take over humans eventually.

The topic’s event was chosen due to the fact that there is a huge gap between developing countries and developed countries explained Juan Garcia. Everyday, more and more futuristic robots and technologies are being created in every domain almost starting a technological revolution. More precisely is focus on two domains, which are the organic domain of the human beings; either to make it better or to recreate it. Secondly, the information ad communication technic is creating virtual spaces. Trans-humanism by definition is the social and scholarly advancement development that attests the craving to on a very basic level enhance the human body and its present condition. This is done through procedure of innovation development to upgrade physical and mental limits.

In general, when technologies evolves it only evolves with the communication, however many types of technologies are evolving and creating robots in every domains, as stated earlier. The distinguishing of technology that affects human and science to recreate can already be made.

To conclude, we have seen that everyday the world is advancing as well with its technologies and on how technology is placed in every department with each a very specific ask to follow, now the question to be thought of is, Can trans-humanism and cyber-culture develop it self to a point where we will live in harmony with machines? Or is the development of trans-humanism going too far where robots will control us?

 

Eloise Christophi

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“The Right to International Solidarity: Meeting with the Independent Expert on the revised draft declaration”

Last Thursday, 8 of June, a public side event on the right to international solidarity was held at room IX of the UN Palace. OIDEL co-organize this event with the Associazione Comunità Papa Giovanni XXIII and other NGOs of the CINGO WG on international solidarity. The event was opened and moderated by Jorge Ferreira.

Msgr. Ivan Jurkovic, Nuncio to the United Nations, first introduced solidarity as a broad concept that involves a fact or condition, a principle, a moral value. It is founded on the idea that we are debtors of society and, being ethical in nature, its implication for human life is also ethical. However, despite being all these things, it is currently unrealized, under threat. It gives way to the States’ sovereignty, when in theory both concepts are not opposed, since the principle of solidarity is linked to the principle of subsidiarity.

In this line, Ms. Virginia Dandan, Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity and author of the draft declaration on the human right to IS, added that, in a time when nationalism and segmentation are arising, IS must come to stop them. Its definition and implementation are explained in the draft, as well as the obligations that it entails. However, Ms. Dandan was clear that IS necessarily means action; it cannot be left behind in plans. And, since IS is already a principie in people’s lives, it is therefore necesary to make sure that it becomes a pinciple in the life of governments as well. You can find the link of the draft declaration here: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Solidarity/ProposedDraftDeclarationSolidarity.pdf

Following on, Mr. Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, the UN Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, stressed the relevance for his mandate of the recognition of such a right. He also spoke about the need of working on a draft declaration on the human right to peace, even though the States deem there are no legal grounds for it.

Finally, it was Ms. Maria Mercedes Rossi, from the Associazione, who intervened. She explained how IS has an individual and a collective dimension. She said the latter corresponds to the African way of thinking: “I am because we are”, while the former corresponds to the Western way, which she finds rather arrogant. She also questioned the States’ allegation according to which the human right to IS has no legal basis and defended the need of making a right out of it in order to make it effective.

Afterwards, during question time, Ms. Dandan, and Ms. Rossi explained the difference between preventive solidarity, which tackles root causes and has a long-time frame, and reactive solidarity, which is deployed ex post (i.e. after a natural disaster, calamity) and has an instant time frame. They declared that preventive solidarity is the one that is needed, using the example of starvation in the world, which has root causes that have to be dealt with.

As a conclusion, Ms. Dandan stated that the road to right’s protection is a long one. International Solidarity is a choice one has to make; poverty is a fight that must be fought every single day. Sympathy will not do; as she said, even dogs can feel.

However, the actual conclusion was made by someone from the public, who requested to speak and quoted Pope Francis: “Nothing in Nature lives for itself. Rivers don’t drink their own water. Trees don’t eat their own fruit. Sun doesn’t give heat for itself. Flowers don’t spread fragrance for themselves. Living for others is the rule of Nature.”

 

Eugenia de Lacalle

2017, USA and the Human Rights Council

IMG_6498In the context of the 35th session of the Human Rights Council, the Graduate Institute, together with the United States Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, organized last Tuesday, 6 of June, an event in which Ms. Nikki Haley, the U.S Ambassador to the UN, talked about her country’s position regarding human rights. Early that morning, she had already addressed said Council and stressed the importance of supporting the participation of civil society and of adopting a resolution on Venezuela.

Despite its title, the lecture revolved around two main points: the negative aspects of the Human Rights Council’s functioning and the ways in which these aspects should be improved, leaving little time for discussing about the US.

According to Ms. Haley, the Council is following the path of its predecessor, the Human Rights Commision. The latter lost the world’s trust due to its failure to act whenever human rights were being violated, and was therefore replaced. Currently, the Council’s lack of intervention in the greatest violations of our time undermines its credibility, reinforcing the suspicion that it is not a good investment of time and money. To prove her point, the Ambassador mentioned the cases of Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, China and Zimbabwe, among others. She justified her special concern with the Venezuelan situation by explaining that every major conflict first starts with singular human rights’ violations, and then escalates wildly.

Through these examples, Ms. Haley showcased how the Council puts political interests ahead of its duty of being the world’s advocate on human rights. Consequently, she mentioned three minimum changes that she deems necessary. First of all, violators should not be able to hold seats in the Council – and she cited the case of Cuba, who states that its belonging to the Council proves its respect to human rights. – Therefore, she calls for a change in the selection and reelection of members. Secondly, item 7 of the Council’s Agenda should be removed, since having a particular provision for Israel does not place countries on equal footing. Finally, (and this is something the Ambassador stressed through the whole lecture) abuses must always be called out, and violators must always be condemned.

Before the end there was a time for questions, which the public seized for bringing up some of the US’ most controversial issues, such as its actions during the Cold War, its current relationship with Saudi Arabia or its refusal to accept refugees. Struggling to remain firm, and sometimes beating around the bush, Ms. Haley stated that the US is trying to lead and therefore needs to deal with all countries, even if they are violators of human rights, although this does not mean that they should not be publicly condemned. She also affirmed that the US is strong on human rights, and that that is shown though its budget. Moreover, she proclaimed that the Council must change and that, if this is not the case, the US will pursue the protection of human rights outside of it.
Perhaps this was the most remarkable statement since, when facing the question of wether or not the US will withdraw from the Council –and being forced to commit and say yes or no – the Ambassador said she would not commit: “We have to wait and see”.

Eugenia de Lacalle