New Publication Assesses Innovative Digital Human Rights Tracking Tools and Databases

20 March 2023

The new Working Paper The Emergence of Digital Human Rights Tracking Tools and Databases published by our Geneva Human Rights Platform (GHRP) identifies convergences, challenges and best practices related to innovative digital human rights tracking tools and databases.

The author Domenico Zipoli questions, in the paper’s 24 pages, whether the current international human rights system would benefit from more effective measures of data collection and digital tracking. He does so by analysing 15 selected information management tools developed by different stakeholders – providing for each tool dedicated hyperlinks, its main functions, a list of stakeholders responsible for the administration of the tool, a list of main users as well as specific challenges.

‘This publication is an important step towards assessing the value of digitalization for a more systemic approach to human rights monitoring and implementation’ explains Dr Zipoli, Project Coordinator at the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

‘This paper will be of interest to human rights software developers who lack comparative studies, international and regional human rights bodies, and national human rights actors, including human rights defenders and rights holders who deserve to be better informed on these tools’ benefits and potential impact on privacy’ he adds.

Providing Evidence and Fostering Exchanges

The development of digital human rights tracking tools and databases is a potentially significant step forward for the realisation of human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the national level. The global interest in such software and the maturity of available tools indicates that it is only a matter of time before these are the rule, rather than the exception. However, it is still early days with little empirical evidence of their true practical value.

‘Whilst the trend is expanding, we still lack coordination, exchange of good practices and challenges among different tool developers and users. Our aim is to fill this specific gap’ underlines Dr Zipoli.

‘We also hope that this publication will improve knowledge exchange between software developers and policymakers using such tools and databases, thus fostering cooperation between the two categories of human rights actors’ he adds.

A New GHRP Initiative Digital Human Rights Tracking Tools and Databases

The publication of this Working Paper marks the start of a one-year GHRP-led initiative dedicated to the study of digital human rights tracking tools and databases – supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.

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