2017 marks our 35th year supporting the work of human rights organisations. We are honoured and humbled to have the trust of our partners, and to empower them in their fight for justice across the globe. 2017 brought new challenges and opportunities, new partnerships and breakthrough achievements, pivotal developments and milestone celebrations, and we are happy to share them with you in our latest report.
In 2017, our talented and driven team experienced some significant changes and milestones:
- Gisella Reina, a HURIDOCS Board member since 2014, assumed the Chair at the close of 2016.
- In February 2017, the Board announced the appointment of Friedhelm Weinberg as HURIDOCS’ new Executive Director.
- We celebrated Bert Verstappen’s 30-year anniversary with HURIDOCS!
Having supported more than 50 organisations, we worked with human rights groups to:
- secure their information;
- improve access to crucial information;
- strengthen regional networks of NGOs and individual advocates;
- design and implement customised complaint management and human rights monitoring systems.
We launched Uwazi in October of 2017. Uwazi is a free, open-source platform for organising and publishing documents that is designed to help human rights defenders address the most widespread and difficult information challenge: access to critical information.
In 2017, we deployed three live Uwazi instances in partnership with the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria and Japiqay.
With the lead of our Artificial Intelligence Specialist, Natalie Widmann, we started exploring the potential of machine learning to strengthen human rights work and look forward to integrating this technology into Uwazi in 2018.
Review of Asian Diplomacy and Rights (RADAR), an analytic platform and research tool on Asian states’ performance at the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), is a breakthrough product of our partnership with FORUM-ASIA. You can read more about this project on our website.
In 2017, we “soft launched” a peer-to-peer discussion forum called the HURIDOCS Collaboratory, a platform for sharing knowledge with the wider human rights community through live discussions, webinars and online asynchronous dialogue. You can read a summary of our most recent online discussion on Documenting the Disappeared on our website.
Our mission goals include that:
- HURIDOCS is deeply embedded in the human rights movement and instrumental in its progress toward realising rights for all.
- We “move the movement” by embracing new opportunities to leverage information and technologies to achieve human rights impact. The field adopts these innovations.
- Our tools and services are built to last and weather storms. They do not become obsolete when threats against defenders surge, and they adapt successfully to support new tactics.
- We learn from individual projects, create scalable solutions and document knowledge that helps defenders gather, analyse and use information to promote and protect human rights.
As you read about our work, we hope that you will find that these goals inform it. As we look to 2018, we know that defenders will need an ally who understands the intersection of human rights advocacy, technology, and organisational effectiveness. HURIDOCS pledges to be that ally.