refugee Rights in records framework


The R3 Project is now soliciting feedback on the draft Refugee Rights in Records Framework. Please email Kathy Carbone with any comments.

Arguing that documentation, data and recordkeeping practices create critical impediments to the actualization of human rights, R3 Project researchers (Anne J. Gilliland and Kathy Carbone) analyzed 19 human rights and data privacy conventions and instruments, and professional guidelines for records relevant to human rights, as well as media, NGO, legal and personal accounts of documentation and recordkeeping challenges faced by refugees. Based on these analyses they have proposed the following Framework comprising the following 25 possible rights that could support refugees in enabling and actualizing their human rights while also improving the effectiveness of recordkeeping by agencies and authorities who are assisting or otherwise interacting with them. 

The rights are grouped under nine rubrics or kinds of rights.


Rights to have a record created:

· The right to be provided with a universally recognized identity document upon request.

· The right to have a birth certificate, and to have both parents' names listed on that birth certificate if the father is deceased or otherwise unable to be present at his child's birth.

· The right for family members and other dependents to a process for issuing a death certificate when there is no body after a certain amount of time. 

Rights to know:

· The right to know why a record about oneself is being created, what it will contain, what it may be used for, and how it will be secured before one agrees to participate in that record's creation.

· The right to refuse to participate in the creation of a record about oneself or to resist being recorded without being fully informed, before consenting or participating, of any negative consequences to oneself and others of the creation or non-creation of that record; and without being fully informed in advance of all uses to which that record may be put now and in the future

· The right to know that a record about oneself exists, where, and why.

· The right to know who can see one's record.

· The right to know if there is a classified record or data impeding an action one is trying to complete.

Rights regarding records expertise:

· The right to be provided, and without cost, with the index terms or other metadata necessary for searching and retrieving records about oneself.

· The right to be able to read and understand records about oneself or about one's own case. 

· The right to request and be provided with a records advocate or expert in legal and bureaucratic processes who could help with locating, introducing and challenging records.

· The right to have a records expert testify as to the historical and bureaucratic circumstances surrounding the creation, management and reliability of records about oneself that are introduced in adjudications and other actions.

Cultural, self-identity and family rights in records:

· The right to have one's cultural or community recordkeeping practices recognized in legal, bureaucratic and other processes that depend upon the introduction of records.

· The right to have one's self-identity acknowledged in records about oneself.

Right to respond and to annotate (right to rectification)

· The right to respond to and include a permanent annotation on records about oneself.

Refusal and deletion rights:

· The right to refuse to participate in the creation of a record about oneself or to resist being recorded if there is a credible fear that doing so will compromise one's own human rights or those of others.

· The right to request deletion of a record or deletion of data or metadata about oneself from a record if that record, data or metadata would compromise one's human rights. 

Access, reproduction and dissemination rights:

· The right to access records about oneself, including those that are still otherwise subject to legal or other closure periods.

· The right to access one’s record according to one's own literacy and modality.

· The right to guaranteed safe, secure, timely and low or no-cost access to relevant records about oneself upon request.

· The right to receive copies of records about oneself, and to specify the form and format of those records, or else to be given a clear explanation as to why one may not.

· The right to transmit or share records about oneself.

Consultation rights:

· The right to be consulted regarding how, where and when records about oneself are preserved or archived, made available for archival research, or disposed of.

· The right to be consulted when and why another party, including family members, requests access to a record about oneself.

Personal recordkeeping rights:

The right to a safe and secure personal recordkeeping place or space to preserve, manage, transport, and access records and authentic copies of records about oneself in and over time. 

Supplemental Materials

The R3 Framework juxtaposed with other frameworks proposing human rights in documentation or information processing