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The ICT4Peace Foundation on Tuesday, 12th March met with The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)’s Peace Mission Support and Rapid Response Section. Several discussions with the PMSRRS have occurred over 2012 on ways to support OHCHR’s mandate with the use of ICTs. Discussions this week focussed on information security and in particular the challenges of leveraging crowdsourced data into situational analysis.

Presented with a list of key challenges and needs by the PMSRRS, the Foundation developed a matrix of ICT options, as well as key presentations to help build internal staff capacity to deal with crowdsourced information verification and greater awareness about field and HQ information security. Discussions also centred around supporting the mandates of Commissions of Inquiry through greater use of ICTs to facilitate data collection, stakeholder interaction, data retention, visualisation and archival, in a secure manner. The importance of open standards was emphasised by the ICT4Peace Foundation to fight against the dangers of data lock-in and the challenges of sustaining platforms based on proprietary code and point-solutions. The Foundation also underscored the need for OHCHR to create resilient information architectures for civil society and NGOs involved in human rights advocacy, activism and protection to more easily and robustly communicate key updates from the field.

At the meeting, PMSRRS underscored the enduring interest in and commitment at OHCHR to adopt and adapt ICTs in their vital, global mandate. Given the sustained interactions with and the quality of strategic, real world experience based advice given to PMSRRS on the use of ICTs for human rights protection and promotion, the Foundation was invited to be part of these vital discussions moving forward.