Growing our support to the human rights community: Our 2021 Annual Report

Learn more about our journey of growth, resilience and agility in the HURIDOCS 2021 Annual Report.


2021 was a year of growth, agility and resilience at HURIDOCS, despite the continuing and devastating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. We stayed true to our mandate to help the human rights community document and manage key information.

Since 1982, our aim has been to help the human rights community use the power of information to change the world for the better. Thirty-nine years later, we continue to work with various human rights and justice actors on a number of intersectional themes while supporting organisations in every region of the world. 

You can learn more about our journey this past year in the HURIDOCS 2021 Annual Report.

Have a look at some of our activities and achievements during 2021:

Our Programmes Team provided strategic and technical support while it strengthened partnerships, fostered growth and focused on regional contexts.

During the course of 2021, we provided strategic and technical support and we undertook 59 projects with 70 partners and worked actively with them in 40 countries. We remained committed to the needs of our existing partners by supporting and maintaining numerous active projects and databases. To foster growth and responsiveness to the increased need for our support, we have grown and reorganised the Programmes Team according to regional scope and focus. We have maintained and built strong partnerships in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and North Africa,  Europe, Eurasia and International, as well as the Asia-Pacific region.  

Our Tech Team improved Uwazi while it evolved and expanded with a focus on data integrity, security, machine learning and innovation.

In 2017, we launched Uwazi, an open-source web-based tool to help human rights defenders manage their information collections and documentation systems. A significant part of our work consists of making sure that Uwazi remains a stable application and that it is constantly improved for better functionality and reliability. During the last four years we created and supported nearly 400 Uwazi databases, and the number of information collections we support is growing at a consistent rate. Our Tech Team was also restructured to adapt to the emerging needs for better infrastructure reliability, improved organisational digital security and to respond to the different areas of technical specialisation such as front-end development, back-end development and machine learning. 

We worked with human rights defenders and capacity builders to co-create community resources for preparing for the process of setting up a database to document human rights violations. 

In mid-2021, we launched a pilot project to explore activities surrounding the co-creation of reusable community resources, based on collective knowledge. We engaged our network of human rights defenders and capacity builders and the pilot project resulted in the development of five community resources. These resources aim to help the human rights community prepare for building a database when carrying out the documentation of human rights violations.

HURIDOCS is financially sound, but we have to explore the different pathways of the ever-changing funding landscape for human rights.

It is therefore our duty to ensure that our funding strategies are aligned with our organisational strategy. This is to ensure our growth and our unique ability to support responses to human rights violations are sustainable. Our partners and allies rely on us, therefore we have a duty to ensure that we are there to support, to monitor, to assist and to advise.

Our globally distributed team of human rights experts and technologists grew to more than 30 staff for the first time in our history as there is an increased demand for our strategic and technological support.

What allowed us to grow is the unwavering support and inspiration from our partners. We remain thankful to the many human rights defenders, activists, advocates, investigators, researchers and policy makers who walk this road with us and who push us to push the boundaries so that justice and accountability can be achieved.

As we reflect on the growth and resilience of the past year, our focus remains on a better future where we can assist and support those who defend and stand up for what is right.

Our bespoke support to human rights groups is to help them manoeuvre through the possibilities and pitfalls in gathering, managing, preserving and analysing information. We will continue to offer guidance and support and we will do so in innovative and consistent ways. 

May 2022, and the years that follow, be kind to humanity and may all human rights be realised.

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