Battle in Strasbourg: Civil society fights for safeguards against AI harms

With negotiations on a Convention on Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the Council of Europe entering a crucial stage, a joint statement by AlgorithmWatch and ten other civil society organizations reminds negotiating states of their mandate : to protect human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. To adhere to this mandate and to counter both narrow state interest and companies’ lobbying, the voice of civil society must be listened to.

Foto von Christian Lue auf Unsplash

Angela Müller
Dr. Angela Müller
Executive Director AlgorithmWatch CH | Head of Policy & Advocacy

The Council of Europe aims to become host of one of the first truly global international treaties on setting rules to avoid harm stemming from the development or use of so-called AI systems. Negotiations have started over a year ago with high objectives in mind : to uphold the Council of Europe mandate when it comes to AI, thus to safeguard human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.

Today, civil society organizations observing the negotiations fear that this objective risks being watered down as it is now hitting the ground of political reality. In a joint statement, they urge negotiating states to take a stand, to prioritize people over commercial interests, and to explicitly introduce effective safeguards to protect us from harms caused by the use of AI.

Read our full statement below.

Signed by:

Access Now


BEUC – The European Consumer Organisation

CAIDP – Center for AI and Digital Policy

Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe

Digitale Gesellschaft Switzerland

Fair Trials

Global Partners Digital

Homo Digitalis


Pour Demain

Organizations or individuals who would like to endorse the statement and add their signature, please send an e-mail with your name and affiliation to until July 10, COB.