The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition has named Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) the 2019 Science and Human Rights Innovator for its MediCapt mobile application. The MediCapt app was developed by PHR in collaboration with partners in Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It enables health care providers to securely document and store forensic medical evidence, which can then be used to support the prosecution of perpetrators of sexual violence.
As it marks its tenth anniversary in 2019, the Coalition launched the Science and Human Rights Innovator recognition to highlight innovative collaborations between scientists, engineers, health professionals, human rights organizations, and frontline communities. Nominations were open to projects completed within the last three years that involved at least one non-governmental organization and demonstrated how human rights projects can effectively incorporate science and technology in achieving their goals.
The Coalition’s Selection Committee reviewed several very strong applications. “The Coalition’s Selection Committee was particularly impressed by MediCapt for its combined use of technology and science to address impunity for sexual violence in conflict zones, incorporating extensive feedback from collaborators on the ground, and seeking to address such ethical issues as data privacy, security and ownership,” said Jessica Wyndham, coalition coordinator and director of AAAS’ Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights, and Law Program.
PHR and MediCapt were honored on the evening of October 23, the first day of the AAAS Science, Technology, and Human Rights Conference in Washington, DC. Two PHR representatives were on hand to accept the recognition. PHR will also receive a $10,000 contribution from the Coalition to support the future development of MediCapt.