Democratizing data: Challenging dominant narratives

Publish Date: 
Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Monitoring Working Group has been working on a collective position on data and ESCR to challenge dominant narratives about what types of data count in public decision-making. 

Data is vital for the realisation of human rights. But as decision-makers and power holders increasingly rely on huge amounts of data to make policies and other decisions about people’s economic, social, and cultural rights, the voices of the most affected and marginalized communities are left unheard. Choices about what data should be gathered and how it should be used, and which types of data counts as legitimate and credible, are inherently political and often tend to reinforce existing power dynamics and further inequalities and discrimination. States are failing to produce and use the right kinds of data necessary for the advancement of human rights—to the extent that states’ data practices and processes sometimes pose a threat to human rights.

Drawing from ESCR-Net members’ experiences in using data to advance human rights, we articulated five principles that states must apply to increase participation and leadership of affected communities in the production of data, protecting their safety and privacy; ensure accessibility and usability of data; strengthening the quality and accuracy of the data and use data to addresses rather than deepen inequalities.

In February 2020, we were invited to share our analysis in one of Panelfit’s monthly discussion, a network of organisations who work together to ensure that the opportunities offered by the digital revolution can be enjoyed without compromising the security and fundamental rights of citizens.

Listen to the event podcast:

Upcoming event:

21 May, 2021 - We will be launching the collective position at the conference ‘Data Justice: Exploring social justice in the age of datafication’ organized by Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Culture (JOMEC).

  • See full program here.
  • Register here before the 7th May (registration is free).