This research project is no longer actively updated or managed.
Research Project

ICTs and the Right to Life

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are increasingly relevant to the right to life, as well as to human rights in general, both because of the opportunities they present in terms of prevention and accountability, and in terms of the risks they present in terms of safety and veracity. The aim of this project has been to provide an overview of these uses, opportunities and risks to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions as he prepares a report on this topic for the Human Rights Council. The research examined the following areas:

  • Ownership and control of ICTs
  • ICTs for prevention
  • ICTs for accountability (including advocacy)
  • Safety, security, and surveillance risks
  • Propaganda and manipulation risks (and the need for/process of verification)
  • Digital divide problems

The products of this research were presented to stakeholders during a meeting of experts hosted by CGHR in February 2015 as part of the process of drafting the UN report. 

ICTs and Human Rights Practice

This is the final version by Dr Ella McPherson of the report presented to the Meeting of Experts ahead of the June 2015 session of the UN Human Rights Council. It informed the thematic report on ICTs and the right to life presented at that session by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions 

Download the report ‘ICTs and Human Rights Practice’ by Dr Ella McPherson.

Download the Special Rapporteur’s report, presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 19 June 2015. 

Tumblr blog: #ICT4HR

As part of the project, a student team has assembled a multi-authored Tumblr blog aggregating their research into technologies, tactics, and case studies of the use of ICTs in human rights work.

This resource is intended to be a reference point for how ICTs are being incorporated into the prevention of human rights violations as well as into fact-finding and advocacy practices. The team have categorised the material by hashtag. Short write-ups include key features and links, while longer authored pieces take a more in-depth look, considering aspects such as ownership, risks and opportunities, as well as the key consideration of pluralism – namely, who is included and who is excluded by use of the technology in question.

This is a live resource, as the student team will continue to update it as they hear of new examples.  They welcome recommendations for inclusion; please message the site via Tumblr.