European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Human rights documentation tools

Basic principles on documenting human rights violations

The term documentation could have different meanings, depending on the geographical context or in the field where it is employed. It is important to stress that documenting is a process including different steps. Documenting human rights violations could be based on a wide range of purposes: education, awareness-rising, litigation, direct assistance to victims, historical records. It follows that the documenting process could be different according to the purpose on which it is carried out. Generally it consists of:

a. Collecting the data: Determining what information is needed and establishing means for acquiring it. Monitoring is a key-mean of collecting information but it is important to decide what we would like to monitor according to our purpose: media, events etc. Information could be also collected by fact-finding activities which include interviews, questionnaires, survey etc. Terms and concepts need to be defined.

b. Organising the data: Recording the discovered information and storing such in appropriate containers (called documents) or collecting already-existing documents containing the needed information. There are different ways of recording data: two important tools are provided by Huridocs (see the web links): “Events standard format” and “Micro-thesauri” provide frameworks for structuring and analyzing information. Key headings and categories should be used.

c. Analysing the data to make them more accessible. This step could mean elaborating statistics, charts and graphs to make findings more visible. What are the key findings and more importantly what do they mean?

d. Advocacy and Dissemination relying upon a precise strategy. Who is the key audience? How can they be reached?

Projects aiming at documenting human rights violation should acknowledge all these steps in the process of the documentation. It is not necessary to go through all these phases at the same time. It could be an option for example focusing only on the collection of data and recording them later.

Useful links

Useful resources from ILGA-Europe

Hate crimes monitoring tools (Здесь документы на русском)

Country resources