Working Paper

Global Data Sharing Arrangements between UNHCR and other UN entities and International Organizations

Facilitating transparent and efficient personal data sharing while adhering to relevant principles and standards.

Date Published
7 Nov 2023
Authors
Alex Novikau Dogu Han Buyukyagcioglu

Use of data in humanitarian context is essential for life saving interventions and the successful execution of programmes during crises. However, such data often includes or derives from the personal data of those affected by the crisis. This requires careful attention for many reasons.

The protection of such personal data is an integral part of protecting individuals’ life, integrity and dignity in humanitarian context. And for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), data protection is part and parcel of refugee protection. For forcibly displaced and stateless persons, misuse or unauthorized disclosure oftheir personal data could result in far greater negative impact and lead not only to identity theft and fraud but also discrimination, stigmatization, and even violence or persecution. 

Similarly, the likelihood of such risks materializing could also be higher given their particular and vulnerable situation.Processes that are setup without taking in account the context of a particular situation, lacking safeguards to center theagency of the individuals whose personal data is collected, used and shared are prone to result in function creep and misuse of personal data. In view of this, even data elements not typically deemed to be among special categories ofpersonal data6 take on heightened sensitivity in humanitarian contexts. 

Finally, UNHCR is entrusted with particularly sensitive personal data of refugees, asylum seekers, internally displacedpersons (IDPs), stateless persons and returnees. Any misuse or overreach in using such data could erode trust from these groups and the global community, hampering UNHCR’s mission.

This Working Paper examines the implementation of UNHCR’s global data sharing arrangements with other UN agencies and International Organizations which aim to facilitate transparent and efficient personal data sharing while adhering to relevant principles and standards. 

While doing so, it will touch also on the particular context in which such arrangements are being created and implemented, the applicable frameworks, and the issues such arrangements aim to address. 

Accèss 'Global Data Sharing Arrangements between UNHCR and other UN entities and International Organizations' here.

Suggested citation: Alex Novikau, Dogu Han Buyukyagcioglu. Global Data Sharing Arrangements between UNHCR and other UN entities and International Organizations : UNU-CPR, 2023.

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