At Your Fingertips ….. International Law Apps
It’s becoming a trend …. international law apps that aim to influence policy makers and engage the public. The app for “Children and Armed Conflict” (sponsored in part by the Mission of Liechtenstein) collates information on the legal framework and grave violations relevant to the effects of armed conflict on children, as well as providing recent news, background information on country situations, relevant Security Council resolutions, and even a checklist for drafting new mandates. As the app’s homepage explains: ”with this application we aim to provide policy-makers and those seeking to influence them with readily available key documents and appropriate language on child protection issues in order to increase the agenda’s impact.” This note by the International Peace Institute indicates how useful the app is in situating what may appear to be isolated incidents within large trends.
There is also an app titled “Safe Access to Firewood and alternative Energy” which addresses the lack of safe access to cooking fuel in humanitarian situations. This app uses decision trees and matrices on roles and responsibilities to develop strategies for long term fuel supply and identify the responsible agencies and working groups.
An app titled “Women, Peace & Security Handbook” provides a compendium of resolutions that address issues relevant to women, peace and security on topics such as: sexual exploitation, displacement, and participation. This app serves as a mini-handbook, providing up to date information on thematic trends within Security Council resolutions.
A movement is now afoot to develop a new Sanctions App that would provide information to practitioners on the design of UN sanctions. According to preliminary materials distribution by the Swiss Mission to the UN the “Sanctions App (an iPhone, iPad, or android application) would be based on links to relevant operative paragraphs of UNSCRs and also contain interactive features to enable real-time access to various databases while draft texts of new sanctions resolutions are being developed.”
These apps coincide with the proliferation of apps for charitable giving and advocacy on various issues including immigration and protest. Even the Red Cross has entered the fray, developing apps that will apply in humanitarian emergencies.
Are these apps the leading edge in the growth of international law, and can we see more to come? Or, might the high costs associated with entry and design keep tightly funded organizations from entering the space? What do OJ readers think?