Posts Tagged ‘databases’

UWAZI: Open-source solution for building and sharing document collections for non-profit sector

August 31, 2016

Uwazi offers powerful browsing & searching, ability to define your own document properties, create cross references between documents and mobile first development.

Uwazi is an open-source solution for building and sharing document collections, empowering NGOs and networks, universities, foundations, and courts to publish and share their knowledge

Source: Open-source solution for building and sharing document collections – Uwazi

via: @HURIDOCS @UwaziDocsHURIDOCS 2011

Treaty bodies case law database saved and resurrected by UN

February 17, 2015

For someone who 25 years ago (!!) started the development of legal databases on human rights (specifically the legal protection of refugees) and wrote articles about it (e.g Int J Refugee Law (1989) (1):89-100.doi: 10.1093/ijrl/1.1.89Pp. 89-100, see ABSTRACT below), the news that the UN has now published, on-line, a database of case law on human rights is exciting and it should be for all practitioners.

The new site http://juris.ohchr.org/ contains all case law issued by the UN human rights expert committees, the Treaty Bodies.

The database was developed using data from the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) of Utrecht University School of Law (of which I had the honor to be the first Director). Since the mid-1990s, SIM had developed a comprehensive record on the jurisprudence stemming from the decisions by four Treaty Bodies on complaints brought by individuals.  Over 20 years, academics compiled and indexed Treaty Bodies’ case law, making the SIM database the most authoritative online resource on this. Due to budget restrictions, SIM stopped updating the database  from 1 January 2014 and took it offline on 1 January 2015. However, SIM offered its data free of charge to the UN Human Rights Office.

This allowed us to build our own database, with an expanded remit and search capability, and we aim to continue developing it. It is an important part of our efforts to make the work of the Treaty Bodies more visible and accessible, and we hope it will benefit a range of users all over the world,” said Mr. Ibrahim Salama Director of the UN Human Rights Treaties Division. .

There are 10 Treaty Bodies that review and monitor how States that have ratified a particular treaty are implementing the rights contained in it. Eight (listed below) can also consider complaints by individuals who believe their rights have been violated and who have exhausted all the legal steps in their own country.

The site http://juris.ohchr.org contains case law indexed by various categories, including State, date, subject and keywords, which can all be used as search criteria. Users can submit their comments on the functioning of the database as part of ongoing efforts to improve it.

The Committees that can receive and consider individual complaints are:

  • Human Rights Committee (CCPR)
  • Committee against Torture (CAT)
  • Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
  • Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
  • Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
  • Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED)
  • Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR)
  • Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

Abstract of 1989 article on the development of legal databases: “Today’s information technology can be used to improve the legal protection of refugees, by providing information relevant to the asylum procedure, and laying the foundation for progressive development at the international level. The positive potential of legal databases is only now beginning to be realised, thanks to pioneering efforts within human rights and related documentation centre networks. UNHCR is helping to set up a case law database, in co-operation with non-governmental organizations. A database on national legislation is also planned, as is a full text database of international legal instruments database. Legal literature continues to be covered by the database REFLIT (REFugee LITerature) of UNHCR’s Centre for Documentation on Refugees (CDR/UNHCR). This article examines two basic kinds of information-retrieval systems, ‘free text’, and ‘indexed’, and considers their different structures, uses and search procedures, with reference to work on a forthcoming refugee thesaurus. The author calls attention to the need for standard formats, such as those of HURIDOCS, and to problems of scope and coverage. He suggests that information and documentation are areas in which practical co-operation between the UN, governments and non-governmental organizations could be implemented to advantage.”

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ICJ launches two innovative legal databases on sexual orientation

August 1, 2013

icj_logo_pantone launched two innovative legal databases: the Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity (SOGI) UN Database and the SOGI Legislative Database. Read the rest of this entry »

New REFWORLD goes live this week: an underestimated tool for Human Rights Defenders and researchers

April 16, 2013

Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

UNHCR’s Refworld 2013 goes live this week at http://www.refworld.org. The website has undergone significant changes based on a feedback received from internal and external users over the years.

Refworld started almost 20 years ago as an ever-expanding series of DVD’s containing the different databases of documentation centre of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. With the wider availability of broadband it switched in 2007 to internet only. It was already then considered an advanced protection information resource which aims to facilitate evidence-based and effective decision-making in refugee status determination procedures. Now it functions more broadly as a key tool for evidence-based advocacy relating to resettlement, statelessness, internal displacement, as well as specific protection concerns. The database, updated on a daily basis, now contains more than 167,000 documents relating to countries of origin or asylum, case law, legislation and policy. Especially the ‘country of origin’ information is relevant to human rights defenders as it is in fact a selection of human rights violations documentation. Also the legal information section is a unique collection of worldwide documentation concerning refugee law and statelessness.

Refworld 2013  features a number of improvements, such as: Read the rest of this entry »