Iranian Authorities Intensifies Repression with Advanced Digital Tools and Censorship Tactics.
During a The Social Forum 2023 has placed a strong focus on the crucial role of science, technology, and innovation in advancing human rights, especially in the post-pandemic recovery era, at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 3, 2023, the Association for Human Rights of Azerbaijanis in Iran #ArcDH Society criticized the Iranian authorities for their use of digital technology to intensify censorship and suppress dissent.
Representing the Association for Human Rights of Azerbaijanis in Iran (ArcDH), All Human Rights for All in Iran, and the Coalition Impact Iran, we wholeheartedly embrace the theme of this Forum. The impact of science, technology, and innovation on human rights is both timely and significant, with particular regard to their role in promoting equality and eradicating discrimination.
However, it is essential to acknowledge that, as highlighted by the Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, technology and innovation are double-edged swords. While they can be harnessed to further equality, they can also be misused to undermine it and violate fundamental rights.
A poignant example is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s extensive use of cutting-edge artificial intelligence and digital facial recognition technology for monitoring, arresting, and penalizing women and protesters. Iranian officials continue to threaten women by deploying and developing facial recognition technology to identify those who defy the discriminatory compulsory veiling legislation, which requires wearing the mandatory hijab in public.
In this context, it becomes evident that technology and innovation have not been employed to foster equality and non-discrimination. Iranian authorities are incorporating these innovative tools into their already substantial digital arsenal for repression, including internet shutdowns, disruptions, censorship mechanisms, and surveillance technologies.
The vital subject of this Forum and, indeed, the Forum itself call for more than mere rhetoric. They demand a consistent alignment of words and actions and a genuine commitment to the principles of human rights and equality.
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