Data Protection and Information

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The definition of data and information is broad and can range from personal data held publicly or privately, official documents to information about a certain issue.


NICS duties vary depending on:

  • Which rights are engaged
  • Who holds the data or information
  • For which purpose it is used

As a general rule, personal data should be kept confidential as required by the right to privacy. However, to monitor and report on human rights, Government must:

  • Collect and disaggregate data taking into account different sections of the population.

  • Inform the population of its progress and shortcomings in implementing its obligations.

The Departments and NICS are further required to:

1) Provide sufficient information for everyone to understand their rights 

2) Participate meaningfully in decision making processes 

In fulfilling these duties, particular attention must therefore be paid to how information can be adequately anonymised and processed.

Individual Rights 

When the information sought concerns an individual’s personal data or if it relates directly to their human rights, the right to access the information will typically be associated with the right of the subject matter at issue. For example, accessing personal medical records or seeking information on health related matters, will engage the right to private and family life and the right to health.

Government has a duty to regulate through laws and other measures, the holding, use and processing of individuals’ data and information. This duty is central to ensuring it and other private persons or companies do not abuse individuals’ right to confidentiality of information and their right to privacy. 

  • Individuals have the right to disseminate information in its various forms insofar as the rights of others and public interests are not disproportionately affected.

  • Individuals have the right to access government held information which is recognised by the right of freedom of expression.

Rights Engaged 

Right to private and family life
  • ECHR/HRA, Art 8
  • ICCPR, Art 17
  • UNCRPD, Arts 22, 23, 31
  • UNCRC, Art 16

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Right to freedom of expression (including the right of access to information)
  • ECHR/HRA, Art 10
  • ICCPR, Art 19

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Right to participation
  • ICCPR, Art 25
  • ICESCR, Arts 13(1), 15(1)
  • UNCEDAW, Arts 7, 8, 13(c), 14(2)
  • ICERD, Art 5(e)(vi)
  • UNCRC, Art 12, 31
  • UNCRPD, Arts 3(c), 4.3, 9, 29, 30
Right to health
  • ESC, Art 11
  • ICESCR, Art 12
  • UNCEDAW, Art 12
  • UNCRPD, Art 25
  • UNCRC, Art 24

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