The Universal Human Rights Index is a repository of recommendations and observations issued by bodies of the United Nations human rights monitoring system. It is developed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and has received machine learning support from HURIDOCS. 

You can perform a keyword search and/or filter information in several ways, including: 

  • region
  • country
  • human rights themes
  • concerned groups
  • mechanism
  • Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)

The index is available in English, French, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.

Making information accessible with machine learning’s help

Various stakeholders rely on the information contained in the Universal Human Rights Index, from state actors and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) who work to implement the recommendations to civil society organisations who keep those in power accountable. 

Accessibility and timeliness is key, but it takes a high degree of time and effort to take care of a repository. Each document must be classified according to its substance, and when tens of thousands of documents are involved, the task can represent a heavy burden on a small team. 

In 2019 and 2020, HURIDOCS teamed up with the OHCHR to integrate machine learning algorithms into the backend of the Universal Human Rights Index. These features automatically suggest how to categorise information by theme, concerned persons and SDG, which in turn allows OHCHR staff to work more efficiently and deliver a more consistent repository.