Vacancy: Research Consultant - Study on human and peoples’ rights and artificial intelligence, robotics and other new and emerging technologies in Africa

Posted on November 24, 2022

The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria (the Centre), is providing technical support to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) in its continental project on human rights and artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other new and emerging technologies in Africa.

This follows the ACHPR adoption of Resolution 473 in February 2021, on the need to undertake a study on human and peoples’ rights and artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other new and emerging technologies in Africa (the Study). The Resolution recognises that AI and other new and emerging technologies present both opportunities and perils for the promotion and protection of human and people’s rights in Africa. In this regard, there is a need to explore and assess the human rights implications of these technologies, at a time when African countries are expressing interest in embracing AI for more efficient governance, economic growth and addressing societal challenges. The Resolution gives the ACHPR the mandate to “undertake a study in order to further develop guidelines and norms that address issues relating to AI technologies, robotics and other new and emerging technologies and their impact on human rights in Africa working together with an African Group of Experts on AI and new technologies”.

Therefore, the Centre and the ACHPR invites researchers to submit applications for a consultancy role in relation to this study on human and peoples’ rights and AI, robotics and other new and emerging technologies in Africa.

Objectives of the Study:

  • To assess the development and use of AI, robotics and other new and emerging technologies and its impact on the rights of individuals and peoples in Africa, in line with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other regional and international human rights instruments;
  • To assess the existing regulatory framework on AI, robotics and other new and emerging technologies at national and continental levels, and review their compatibility with and impacts on the respect, protection and realization of human and peoples’ rights on the African continent;
  • To propose recommendations that will inform the ACHPR in developing norms that address issues relating to AI technologies, robotics and other new and emerging technologies and their impact on human rights in Africa;
  • To contribute to African-focused work on AI, robotics and other new and emerging technologies, and the mainstreaming of this thematic issue within the work of the Commission, including recommending appropriate mechanisms and working methods as may be applicable.

Important information:

  • The research will be conducted primarily on the basis of the guidance and scope that is provided under Resolution 473, under the guidance of the Commissioner Focal Point for the Study, and taking into consideration human dignity, privacy, equality, non-discrimination, inclusion, diversity, safety, fairness, transparency, accountability and economic development and other relevant considerations.
  • The project will be for a period of 18 months and it is anticipated that the consultant will participate throughout the duration of the same.
  • The draft report will go through a validation process by experts, stakeholders and the public, as well as the review of the ACHPR towards adoption, according to the work plan that has been developed by the Centre and the ACHPR.
  • The researcher will work under the supervision of the Centre.

The researcher is expected to submit a report that meets the below criteria, taking into account the inputs received during the various above-referenced validation processes, and the comments and guidance provided by the Commissioner Focal Point:

  • A well-researched, evidence-based report on the state artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies and human rights in the African context;
  • A detailed analysis of the relevant legislative framework;
  • A current assessment of the measures taken by the African States to regulate the development and deployment of AI and other emerging technologies;
  • An assessment of the application and impact on human rights, including the rights of the vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;
  • Detailed sector-specific recommendations;
  • Recommendations on possible contents and form of ACHPR norms that address issues relating to AI technologies, robotics and other new and emerging technologies and their impact on human rights in Africa; and
  • Recommendations on the approach to be taken towards an African-focused work on AI, robotics and other new and emerging technologies, and the mainstreaming of this thematic issue within the work of the Commission, including recommending appropriate mechanisms

Eligibility

  • Post-graduate degree in law or social sciences with specialisation in human rights, technology and law, human rights and democracy.
  • A minimum of three years of postgraduate research and/or practical work experience.
  • In-depth understanding of AI, robotics and other new and emerging technologies.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of the African human rights system, technology and law, human rights and democracy.
  • Demonstrable experience in undertaking similar assignments.
  • Proficiency in English.

Terms of payment

The successful researcher will be paid USD10 000 for undertaking the study in line with the above-specified terms of reference. The remuneration will be payable in two installments: the first installment upon submission of the first draft of the Study and the second installment upon completion of the Study to the satisfaction of the Centre and the ACHPR.

Application information

Prospective applicants are requested to submit the following:

  1. Expression of interest (2 pages max).
  2. A curriculum vitae of no more than five pages.
  3. A sample of the applicant’s previous work of similar nature.
  4. A proposed methodology for conducting the research and preparing the report (1 page max).
  5. Names, e-mail addresses and telephone details of three referees.

Closing date for applications is 20 December 2022.


Enquiries and submissions of applications to: [email protected]
NB: No application will be considered after the closing date. 

- Author Centre for Human Rights
Published by Simphiwe Khumalo

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