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Events methodology

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This is the presentation we used in the webinar about the events method. HURIDOCS and its network developed the Events Standard Formats methodology to provide a container specifically for organisations documenting human rights violations.

https://huridocs.org/2019/02/community-discussion-the-events-method-for-documenting-human-rights-violations/

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Events methodology

  1. 1. Harnessing the power of human rights information
  2. 2. March 2019 Bert Verstappen HURIDOCS info@huridocs.org Events Methodology for documenting human rights violations
  3. 3. Events-based methodology “A single case of killing is one too many” ● Has been used by human rights groups and NGOs for decades for visible types of violations, such as: killings, abductions, torture and detention. ● Involves investigating events and determining which acts within the event may be or lead up to violations.
  4. 4. History 1988 HURIDOCS’ Task Force created + Task Force Detainees of the Philippines + Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Zimbabwe + CODEHUCA of Costa Rica + APRODEH of Peru + CELS of Argentina + Amnesty International + World Organisation against Torture + International Confederation of Free Trade Unions
  5. 5. History 1993 The Task Force produced the first edition of the Events Standard Formats in 1993. 1998 The first software was launched (EvSys) that supports this data model, followed by WinEvSys, then OpenEvSys. 2001 The second edition was published
  6. 6. “Of course, human rights work is about much more than methodology. It is about right and wrong framed in the legal and moral dimensions of international human rights instruments. But by doing the technical work right, we can greatly strengthen our ability to make claims about human rights, and ultimately, to advocate for a more respectful world.” Patrick Ball
  7. 7. Why do we need a method for documenting human rights violations? 1. Lead information 10. Additional information 2. Testimonies and similar information 4. Findings 5. Data entered into standard formats 6. Narrative & similar reports 8. Information for internal analysis 9. Materials for dissemination 7. Storage & retrieval system 3. Physical and documentary evidence Adapted from Guzman, M. 1997, Getting the facts down: Documenting Human Rights Violations, Asia Forum of Human Rights. Thailand. p. 4 (wwww.huridocs.org/tools/getfacts.pdf - 5.2mb)
  8. 8. Familiar Documentation Scenarios and Pitfalls
  9. 9. Hypothetical Example: Event “Silva et al arrest” On November 25th, 2008 four members of a womens collective were detained at Veracruz International Day for the Elimination of Violence protest; and presented ten hours later to the municipality. One suffered sexual assault, and another suffered torture while in detention.
  10. 10. Pitfall: that each victim is thought of to suffer one and only one violation Victim’s Last Name Victim’s First Name Violation Perpetrator Place Date Silva Patricia Arrest Man in police uniform 1 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Rodriguez Roma Arrest Man in police uniform 1 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Ali Geraldine Arrest Man in police uniform 2 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Perez Carla Arrest Man in police uniform 3 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008
  11. 11. Solution: allow for more than one violation Victim Violation Perpetrator Place Date Last name First name Arrest Sexual assault Torture Silva Patricia x x Man in police uniform 1 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Rodriguez Roma x Man in police uniform 1 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Ali Geraldine x Man in police uniform 2 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Perez Carla x x Man in police uniform 3 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008
  12. 12. Pitfall: that each victim is connected to one perpetrator. Victim Violation Perpetrator Place Date Last name First name Arrest Sexual assault Torture Silva Patricia x x Man in police uniform 1 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Rodriguez Roma x Man in police uniform 1 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Ali Geraldine x Man in police uniform 2 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Perez Carla x x Man in police uniform 3 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008
  13. 13. Solution: perpetrator 1 and perpetrator 2 Victim Violation Perpetrator Place Date Last name First name Arrest Sexual assault Torture Perp 1 Perp 2 Silva Patricia x x Man in police uniform 1 Man in police uniform 2 Municipali ty Park Nov 25, 2008 Rodrigue z Roma x Man in police uniform 1 Municipali ty Park Nov 25, 2008 Ali Geraldin e x Man in police uniform 2 Municipali ty Park Nov 25, 2008 Perez Carla x x Man in police uniform 3 Man in police uniform 2 Municipali ty Park Nov 25, 2008
  14. 14. Victim Violation Perpetrator Place Date Last name First name Arrest Sexual assault Torture Perp 1 Perp 2 Silva Patricia x x Man in police uniform 1 Man in police uniform 2 Municipali ty Park Nov 25, 2008 Rodrigue z Roma x Man in police uniform 1 Municipali ty Park Nov 25, 2008 Ali Geraldin e x Man in police uniform 2 Municipali ty Park Nov 25, 2008 Perez Carla x x Man in police uniform 3 Man in police uniform 2 Municipali ty Park Nov 25, 2008 Pitfall: which perpetrator did what violation?
  15. 15. Solution: each violation connects to perpetrator Victim Violation Perpetrator Place Date Last name First name Arrest Sexual assault Torture Silva Patricia x Man in police uniform 1 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Silva Patricia x Man in police uniform 2 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Rodrigue z Roma x Man in police uniform 1 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Ali Geraldine x Man in police uniform 2 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Perez Carla x Man in police uniform 3 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Perez Carla x Man in police uniform 2 Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008
  16. 16. The events-based approach enables complex scenarios to be documented in a straightforward manner, while representing the relationships between the cases of individual victims involved in each event.
  17. 17. Arrest Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Sexual assault Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Torture Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 1. An “act”
  18. 18. Arrest Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Patricia Silva Man in police uniform 1 Roma Rodriguez Geraldine Ali Carla Perez Sexual assault Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Man in police uniform 2 Man in police uniform 3 Torture Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 2. Victim and Perpetrator
  19. 19. Arrest Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Patricia Silva Man in police uniform 1 Roma Rodriguez Geraldine Ali Carla Perez Sexual assault Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Man in police uniform 2 Man in police uniform 3 Torture Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 P P P P P V V V V Roles
  20. 20. Arrest Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Patricia Silva Man in police uniform 1 Roma Rodriguez Geraldine Ali Carla Perez Sexual assault Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Man in police uniform 2 Man in police uniform 3 Torture Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 P P P P P V V V V W One person can have several roles
  21. 21. Who is the victim? An act of surveillance can subject a whole Organisation to victimisation An act reducing the budget for education victimises the youth The act of imposing a curfew victimises the whole population An act of beating victimises an individual
  22. 22. Arrest Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Patricia Silva Man in police uniform 1 Roma Rodriguez Geraldine Ali Carla Perez Sexual assault Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Man in police uniform 2 Man in police uniform 3 Event Torture Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 3. Event
  23. 23. Arrest Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Patricia Silva Man in police uniform 1 Roma Rodriguez Geraldine Ali Carla Perez Sexual assault Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 Man in police uniform 2 Man in police uniform 3 Torture Municipality Park Nov 25, 2008 What is the events methodology for documenting human rights violations?
  24. 24. The events method standard formats Event format Person format Act format Involvement format Information format Intervention format Chain of event format Biographic details format Additional details format EVENT FORMAT 101 Event record number 102 Event title 111 Geographical term 112 Local geographical area 113 Initial date 114 Final date 115 Event description 116 Impact of event 150 Remarks 151 Violations status 152 Violation index 153 Rights affected 154 HURIDOCS index 155 Local index 160 Date received 161 Date of entry 162 Entered by 163 Project title 164 Confidentiality 165 Comments 166 Supporting documents 167 Files 168 Record grouping 170 Date updated 171 Updated by 172 Monitoring status
  25. 25. Example of completed format 101 Event Record Number 000001 102 Event Title Desacula et al Arrest 111 Geographical Term Philippines 112 Local Geographical Area National Capital Region [00040101000] 113 Initial Date 18 November 1987 114 Final Date 115 Event Description Edgar Desacula was arrested together with Ramon Aguilar by members of the Pasay City Police Force at Roxas Boulevard at about 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon of 18 November 1987. When brought to the police headquarters, they were passed to the Intelligence and Special Operations Group (ISOG.) which conducted tactical interrogation and subjected Desacula to torture. 116 Impact of Event 2 victims 150 Remarks 151 Violation Status Confirmed 152 Violation Index Arbitrary / unlawful action 153 Rights Affected Liberty / Freedom from torture 154 HURIDOCS Index Detention / Torture 155 Local Index 160 Date Received 19871119
  26. 26. Sources of error when entering data into standard formats ● Source 1: spelling mistakes or multiple spellings ● Source 2: indiscriminate use of synonyms, overlapping or related concepts ● Result: unreliable retrieval and searching ● How to eliminate errors? By using controlled vocabularies, or micro-thesauri ● HURIDOCS produced 48 micro-thesauri relevant for human rights work
  27. 27. The vocabularies TYPES OF ACTS ● 01 Violations of the right to life ● 0101 Deliberate killings of specific individuals ● 010101 Summary execution ● 010102 Extra-judicial execution outside any legal proceedings ● 010103 Legal execution (capital punishment) ● 010104 Politically-motivated killing by non-state agent(s) ● 010105 Murder (deliberate killing which ought to be seen as a common criminal act) ● 01010501 Dowry death ● 01010502 Bride burning ● 01010503 Death as part of a ritual ● 01010504 Rape-slay ● 01010505 Death in snuff films
  28. 28. Structured vs free text Structured Text Free Text Easy to search, compare, count, identify patterns and trends, count, make statistics Good for when you cannot translate everything into fields and labels. Possible import into a database People relate well to narrative accounts, structured data is cold. Easy to input data, writing skills not important skills With free text you can convey the cumulative effects of several violations on a person
  29. 29. Analysis There are four basic kinds of analysis that can performed on this kind of information: ● lists, ● case summaries, ● ad-hoc query results, and ● counts
  30. 30. Analysis: lists
  31. 31. Analysis: lists
  32. 32. Analysis: counts
  33. 33. Analysis: counts
  34. 34. Analysis: case summaries
  35. 35. Customisation What we have presented is a general framework for documenting human rights violations. Each organisation should adapt this based on various factors, such as: ● The objectives of the monitoring and documentation work (provide support to victims, bring perpetrators to justice, get a better understanding of characteristics of victims and perpetrators and trends over time ● The types of violations to be monitored ● The outputs that you would like to produce, which can be collaboration on individual cases; input for reports; trends, graphs and statistics ● The human, financial and other resources available ● Who is responsible for and participating in the different stages of monitoring and documentation
  36. 36. For your documentation project to be successful, the most important recommendation that we can give is that you and your colleagues take sufficient time to develop the data model, formats, fields and thesauri that are most useful to you on the long term. It helps to draft an initial system and try it out with a limited number of typical cases. You then review them on basis of the experiences gained. A main challenge is to have a system that delivers all the outputs that you require in a smooth way and that at the same time can be easily maintained by those collecting, recording and analysing information. Monitoring and documentation of violations should serve your organisation and not become an administrative, bureaucratic burden.
  37. 37. Share with us your thoughts & questions!
  38. 38. Contact us! info@huridocs.org /HURIDOCS @huridocs

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