United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)


University of the Witwatersrand
Independent Consultant
Institute on Inequalities in Global Health, University of Southern California
Initiative for Social and Economic Rights

IUSSP Secretariat

International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP)

Council Liaison


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. 


Programme of activities

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. 


Interdisciplinary Research Webinar on Population Registers, Ethics and Human Rights - 10 October 2023 at 14:00 UTC


The current Panel's activities are posted 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.