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A new report released by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Christof Heyns, titled the 'Use of information and communications technologies to secure the right to life' strongly resonates with the ICT4Peace Foundation's work, training and output over the years to mainstream the use of technology in peacebuilding and human rights.

As noted in the summary,

In the present report, submitted to the Human Rights Council pursuant to its resolution 26/12, the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions discusses the implications of information and communications technologies (ICTs) for the protection of the right to life.

The Special Rapporteur surveys existing applications of ICTs for promoting, protecting and monitoring human rights. While noting the potentially transformative role of “civilian witnesses” in documenting human rights violations and the challenges of using the evidence generated and transmitted by those witnesses — such as verification —, the Special Rapporteur considers how various international human rights mechanisms currently benefit from such material. He makes several recommendations, including that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights appoint a specialist in digital evidence to assist it in making the best use of ICTs.

The ICT4Peace Foundation, through consultations at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and by way of substantive input into draft versions of this report, is pleased with the scope, observations and recommendations by the Special Rapporteur, expanding also on Paragraph 36 of the World Summit of Information Society (WSIS) Tunis Declaration, from 2005 (see also ICT4Peace Foundation report of 2005 on the use of Information and Communications Technologies for peacebuilding (ICT4Peace), with a Preface by Kofi A. Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations). Paragraph 36 values the potential of ICTs to promote peace and to prevent conflict and the protection of civilians in armed conflicts.

Recognising the UN's institutional investment around crisis information management, the report flag's (Page 18, Point 93) the Foundation's role in strengthening situational awareness including around complex political emergencies.

The broader United Nations community has invested in harnessing the potential of ICTs, particularly in the area of crisis information management (A/69/517). The United Nations Office of Information and Communications Technology has, in conjunction with the ICT4Peace Foundation, coordinated the Crisis Information Management Advisory Group, which has become a forum to discuss technological developments in humanitarian aid and crisis information management.

The Foundation's sustained engagement with OHCHR over the years around digital security, training and strategic adaptation of ICTs finds expression in the report's recommendations to, inter alia, the UN. The Foundation particularly welcomes the appointment of "on a consultancy basis and as soon as possible, a digital content specialist to provide advice with respect to information received from or produced by civilian witnesses and to serve as an interface with external networks of expertise in that area."