IUSSP Rights and Ethics of Digital Registration

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IUSSP Scientific Panel | Population Registers, Ethics and Human Rights


Population Registers, Ethics and Human Rights

Chair (s) 
Romesh Silva (United Nations Population Fund)
Keith Breckenridge (University of The Witwatersrand)
Cláudio Machado (Independent Consultant)
Sofia Gruskin (University of Southern California)
Salima Namusobya (Initiative for Social and Economic Rights)
Council Liaison 
Laura L. R. Wong (Cedeplar/Ufmg)
IUSSP Secretariat 
Paul Monet (International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP))
Terms of Reference: 

A key challenge for scholars and practitioners who work on and with population register systems is managing the promises of more inclusive societies via digitized population data against the potential risks of systemic exclusion and discrimination towards vulnerable subpopulations, resulting in denial of basic rights and essential services. The political interests driving population registration in the Global South are mobilizing a broad set of concerns about national security, financial and societal inclusion, global migration and a renewed interest in welfare and state building. In many countries, national population registers and digitized ID systems are increasingly underpinning delivery of social services.


This panel seeks to expand the knowledge base on the intersection of population register systems, ethics and human rights, and augment existing research and advocacy efforts to shape the attendant legal and policy discussions. Critically engaging human rights, alongside adopting an ethical framework, can contribute to the active and informed participation of individuals and communities in ways that can help ensure that as population registers modernize they are just. 





The Panel has three primary objectives:

  • to address the ethical and human rights challenges that are emerging as population register systems are modernized and digitized via interdisciplinary research and dialogue, 
  • Lead the stewardship and hosting of a residential fellowship program for early-career researchers and practitioners; 
  • Facilitate collaborations with other IUSSP scientific panels, the wider IUSSP membership and other scientific disciplines/associations. 



The Panel's activities are accessible on the Project Website.



Activities below were formally carried out under the auspices of the IUSSP Scientific Panel on Population Perspectives and Demographic Methods to Strengthen Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems (2019-2022)


Population, Ethics, and Human Rights Fellowship


Press release: IUSSP expands collaborations on population register systems, ethics and human rights 

7 July 2022


Watch IPC2021 session on Emerging Ethics and Human Rights Issues in the Digitization of Population Register Systems

10 December 2021


Funding: This project's activities are carried out with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada.