HRC side event panel on the role of technology in human rights investigations

Please join The Permanent Mission of Liechtenstein to the UN and HURIDOCS on 28 June 2018 from 14.00 to 15.30 hours at the Palais des Nations in Room XXIII for a UN Human Rights Council side event on the role of technology in human rights investigations.

Every minute, some 300 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube. This footage includes first-hand documentation of grave human rights violations, shared in an effort to attract the world’s attention and to seek justice. How are human rights defenders and institutions using this information for investigations and advocacy, while navigating the technological and ethical challenges of doing so responsibly?

The challenges and opportunities involved relate not only to the enormous volume of information available, but also to the need for verification and preservation of that information. For example, videos depicting grave human rights violations in Syria were recently taken offline, because YouTube’s artificial intelligence marked them as extremist content. To preserve such evidence, human rights defenders have begun to create archives and engage with social media platform operators. New tools have been and continue to be designed to manage information, use machine learning techniques to process it rapidly, and support cross-border investigations.

This side event will discuss how human rights evidence and data collection work has been evolving in recent years and how States and the international community can support these efforts. Participants will discuss initiatives and emerging best practices, and explore how States, OHCHR and human rights defenders can best use the opportunities presented for human rights investigations, while carefully navigating challenges related to information security, source verification, and effective management.

Date: 28 June, 2018 starting at 14.00 hours

UN, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Room XXIII


  • Hadi Al-Katib, Co-Founder Syrian Archive
  • Deborah Brown, Global Policy Advocacy Lead, Association for Progressive Communications
  • Friedhelm Weinberg, Executive Director, HURIDOCS


  • H.E. Ambassador Peter Matt, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Liechtenstein to the UN

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