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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. 

SR ICT Report cover


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


Following the two-day Meeting of Experts CGHR also hosted an expert panel discussion on the uses of ICTS to foster accountability for human rights violations. Watch a recording of this event

At the same time as presenting his report in Geneva, the Special Rapporteur also organised a side event  on the potential uses of ICTs within human rights work as well as the potential risks involved. 

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.

Watch the launch of the Tumblr Blog.

The CGHR Research Team

CGHR recruited a small team of researchers to complete a broad review of the uses, risks and opportunities of ICTs in right to life situations, and to produce a substantive online resource for the Special Rapporteur and wider stakeholders. The Research Team comprised:

Grace Carroll (Sociology)
Rebekah Larsen (Judge Business School)  
Scott Limbrick      (POLIS)
Anne-Martine Solstad                            (POLIS)
Alex Taylor (Social Anthropology)
Yi Ren Thng (POLIS)




Dr Sharath Srinivasan, Dr Thomas Probert and the UN Special Rapporteur, Prof. Christof Heyns