Those familiar with the website of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will know at least two things about it. First, it has A LOT of information. Everything from Human Rights Council documentation and resolutions to reports of special procedures mandate holders (special rapporteurs, independent experts, working group experts), to speeches and press releases of the High Commissioner to detailed civil society submissions for Universal Periodic Review. It is a very rich source of data.
The second thing you’ll know about it is that, despite that wealth of data, it is not always that easy to navigate. This is not necessarily true of the websites for special procedures. For instance, the website for the freedom of opinion and expression mandate is certainly navigable. But it’s not intuitive. And it has a creepy picture of me.
Two other things: The OHCHR site is not secure; it has not moved to HTTPS encryption, which leaves potential visitors at some risk. (For discussion, see this Citizen Lab submission beginning at page 2.) This new site is secure, and it offers anyone who wants to access it at least the assurance of HTTPS, though of course anyone with concerns should also maintain sound security hygiene with your device and other access online.
This new website also offers us something more: opportunities to provide the public with a hopefully clearer sense of the background of the mandate for freedom of opinion and expression, to provide quick comments on situations around the world that impact “Article 19” rights, and to flag for readers new reports, laws, and practices that might not otherwise be earning a deserved wide readership.
Over the coming weeks we’ll be tweaking the website, adding some features, and developing a podcast series in which we interview those working for freedom of opinion and expression worldwide. We hope you’ll stick with us as we develop the site, and do spread the word if you think it’s worth spreading!
And let me add: if you want to contact us, or me directly, in a secure way, check out the contact page for my details.