Charter rights

Specific recordkeeping rights identified in the Charter relate to participation, access, disclosure, privacy and cultural safety. They support a broader architecture of lifelong identity, memory, accountability and participatory rights – all articulated in the Charter.

More rights were added as a result of comparative studies and mappings between the Charter and both the Refugee Rights Framework and Care Leavers Australasia Network (CLAN) Rights Charter.


Individual right to participate in decision-making/have a voice in all matters that impact you.

Collective right to participate in developing frameworks, legislation, policies and processes that impact the collective.


Individual and collective memory rights1 to:

  • remember/forget
  • be remembered/be forgotten


Individual and collective rights to:

  • cultural, family and self-identity
  • know who you are and where you belong
  • practise your culture
  • have one's cultural or community recordkeeping practices recognised in legal, bureaucratic and other processes that involve records creation
  • have one's self-identity acknowledged in records about oneself, including but not limited to name, gender and ethnicity.


Individual and collective right to:

  • hold society, governments and service providers accountable for actions that impact you as an individual or the community
  • governance frameworks and accountable systems that support transparent decision-making based on accurate, complete and reliable evidence.

The principles outlined in the Charter are Wellbeing, Cultural Safety and Justice

Recordkeeping and archival autonomy/ Self-determination as a human right

Individual and collective Right to Autonomy2 related to Recordkeeping and Archives that concern or may impact you individually or as part of a collective.

Participatory and records creation

Rights to participate in decision-making around:

  • setting recordkeeping and archival frameworks (metadata, classification, categorisation, description), policymaking (appraisal, access, disclosure, keeping places) and legal and administrative processes3
  • how your records are used and who has access
  • how long to keep records, and in what form
  • deleting records about you.

Records creation rights to:

  • participate in decisions about what types of records should be created about you in organisational recordkeeping systems
  • create your own personal records in organisational settings
  • intervene in and challenge the record (truth-telling/right of reply).

Disclosure, access and records expertise in records and archives

Disclosure rights relating to:

  • knowing and being informed of where your records are held, including restricted files
  • being informed about the type(s) of records held about you;
  • being informed of when and why others are given access to your records
  • knowing when and why records about you are destroyed.

Access rights4 relating to:

  • lifelong access to your records
  • receiving copies in a timely and low-cost manner
  • special accelerated access when needed
  • having a say in intergenerational access
  • consenting to access and use of your records by others.

Records expertise rights:

  • to be provided, at no cost, with the index terms or other metadata necessary for locating and retrieving records about oneself
  • to request and be provided with a records advocate or other expert in locating, introducing and challenging records
  • to have a records expert testify regarding the historical and bureaucratic circumstances surrounding the creation, management, reproduction, translation and reliability of records about oneself.

Privacy and safe recordkeeping

Privacy rights relating to:

  • individual and collective privacy as understood in your culture and worldviews
  • not to have your records used for other than their original agreed purpose without consent.

Safe recordkeeping rights relating to:

  • safe and secure recordkeeping infrastructure, processes and systems
  • safe and secure places for keeping records
  • accountable recordkeeping systems that provide accurate, complete and reliable evidence of actions that impact you as an individual or the community.

  1. Implementing this right involves the development of principles and protocols that address issues relating to:
    • the right to be forgotten by others as far as it affects accountability or the rights of others in the short or long term
    • balancing the right of the individual to forget and the rights of others to remember/be remembered
    • the need to ensure transparency relating to participative appraisal decision making involving a range of individual and collective stakeholders, while acknowledging the rights of and individual in their personal record
    • ensuring the individual has access to expert advice on the potential consequences of destroying a record, e.g. redress schemes are often launched many decades after abuse occurs, so decisions made by an individual to destroy a record at the time of the abuse may affect rights of redress in years to come.
  2. Defined as the ability for individuals and communities to participate in societal memory, find their own voice and become participatory agents in recordkeeping and archiving for identity, memory and accountability purposes: Evans, J., McKemmish, S., Daniels, E., McCarthy, G.(2015) Self-determination and archival autonomy: advocating activism. Archival Science. 15, 337–368, p. 337
  3. A collective right for community member organisations.
  4. Implementing access rights may involve balancing competing rights in a participatory process.