ARTICLE 19 is a human rights organisation that defends and promotes freedom of expression.

For the past few months, we’ve been helping them develop an open platform for submitting cases to the United Nations (UN). The platform is called the ‘RAE Network’, which stands for Reporting Attacks on Expression.

Launched last Monday, the platform will make it easier for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to report threats to free speech around the globe.

The problem

In early 2016, the United Nations Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OCHCR) launched an online process for submitting cases.

Unfortunately, the system proved tricky to use. The submission process was long and complicated. It needed the user to create a profile and complete the submission within 24 hours.

It also wasn’t transparent – submissions should have been tracked and published online for the public to see. There was no clear data on the speed or quality of responses, or even if submissions had a response at all.

ARTICLE 19 realised they needed to create a better platform.

The solution

We spoke to the ARTICLE 19 team and identified exactly what the new platform needed to achieve.

First, we simplified the submission process so that NGOs could bring more violations to the UN’s attention. The new system was also carefully designed to encourage more structured submissions of a higher quality.

We then made the work carried out by case handlers visible so they could track their progress and lobby for more resources from OCHCR if needed.

The RAE Network will eventually be able to make detailed reports on response data available to all member states, UN agencies and civil societies.

Positive feedback

ARTICLE 19 staff presented the new platform to partner NGOs and received overwhelmingly positive comments.

It’s already recognised as simpler and quicker to use than the existing option, providing flexibility and security to NGOs all around the world.

We’re proud to have supported ARTICLE 19 to develop this valuable resource. As the RAE Network is rolled out to more partners, we’re ready to gather feedback and make the platform even stronger.

Find out about other organisations we’ve worked with.