A podcast where Imogen Foulkes puts big questions facing the world to the experts working to tackle them in Switzerland’s international city. Produced as part of the Genève Vision media network, in partnership with the Graduate Institute Geneva.
Killer robots: should algorithms decide who lives or dies?
In Geneva, complex negotiations are underway to decide if a treaty is needed to control, or even ban, lethal autonomous weapons – or killer robots. Imogen Foulkes talks to experts, lawyers, and campaigners.
"It’s about the risk of leaving life and death decisions to a machine process. An algorithm shouldn’t decide who lives or dies," says Neil Davison, Senior Policy Adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross.
"Do you hold the commander responsible, who activated the weapons system?" asks Mary Wareham of Human Rights Watch.
"What if a weapon is used and developed without meaningful human control, what are the consequences of it? How do you ascribe responsibility?" ponders Paola Gaeta, an international law expert at Geneva's Graduate Institute.
"If we don’t have a treaty within two years we will be too late. Technology is progressing at a much faster pace than diplomacy is doing, and I fear the worst," warns Frank Slijper of Pax, a Dutch peace organization.
How 9/11 has eroded our human rights
How have our attitudes to human rights changed since 9/11? What about our laws?
Imogen Foulkes is joined by Fionnuala Ni Aolain, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counterterrorism, and Gerald Staberock, Secretary-General of the World Organisation Against Torture.
Has it become harder to defend human rights?
Fionnuala Ni Aolain: The criminalisation of lawful acts: speech, assembly, political participation, those are all defined, by multiple governments, as terrorism.
Gerald Staberock: 9/11 was like an earthquake to human rights. The house and the façade still look good, legally speaking we still have an absolute prohibition on torture. The façade is there, but the cracks in the houses are there.
Afghanistan: aid agencies are staying
The troops have left Afghanistan but aid agencies say they’re staying. How will that work, with the Taliban back in control?
Join host Imogen Foulkes and regular analyst Daniel Warner who are joined by Marie Lequin of Geneva Call, an NGO that works to protect civilians caught up in armed conflicts, Ken Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, and Irwin Loy, Asia Editor of The New Humanitarian, a non-profit newsroom that reports from conflict and crisis-hit areas.
"The Taliban has had a game plan, they know how aid agencies operate, they know that they need a certain level of aid to continue," says Loy. Listen in to hear more.
Chocolate, gold, human rights: what’s the Swiss Connection?
In this episode Imogen Foulkes is joined by Susan Misicka, host of sister podcast The Swiss Connection. We take a deep dive into what one country – Switzerland – is doing to honour the United Nations principles on business respecting human rights. How much child labour is used to produce Swiss chocolate? Why is so much gold refined in Switzerland? And what happens to that gold before it ends up on your finger?
Afghanistan: The forever war?
Some call the war in Afghanistan "the forever war". But now the US and NATO are leaving. The conflict is escalating. Inside Geneva tries to figure out what the future might look like.
In this episode, host Imogen Foulkes talks to Firouzeh Mitchell, acting head of mission in Afghanistan for Geneva Call; Forozan Rasooli, Deputy Director of Equality for Peace and Democracy; and Vicki Aken, Afghanistan Country Director, International Rescue Committee.
Human rights: Holding businesses to account
Ten years ago, the United Nations adopted a landmark set of guiding principles on business and human rights.
"Those who have been harmed by business activity have a right to seek effective remedy through effective process." (Lene Wendland, Chief, Business and Human Rights Section, UN Human Rights Office)
But how can we make sure guiding principles are followed?
"The UN cannot regulate things at an international level that states already haven’t agreed to regulate at a national level." (Arvind Ganesan, director, Business and Human Rights Division, Human Rights Watch)
So how do we really ensure big businesses take responsibility for their actions?
Join host Imogen Foulkes to find out who really holds big business to account: the shareholders? The consumers? The workers? Or all of us?