Transforming the legacy of mass atrocities: Collecting evidence at the community level
The International Center for Transitional Justice defines transitional justice as the “the set of judicial and non-judicial measures…to redress the legacies of massive human rights abuses. These measures include criminal prosecution, truth commissions, reparations program, and…institutional reforms."
With support from IDRC, researchers from the University of British Columbia collaborated with local organizations such as the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative in Uganda and the Dioceses of Quibdo in Colombia on the Against Mass Atrocities project. The research team explored the role of community-based organizations in collecting and sharing human rights abuse evidence in northwest Colombia and northern Uganda. Researchers also identified the impact that collecting and sharing such evidence has on local, national, and international justice and reconciliation initiatives.
The project examined two major forms of documentation: evidence-based and living archive. Evidence-based documentation on human rights abuses contributes to the pursuit of justice and truth, collective actions by affected communities, and the creation of reconciliation commissions. The living archive, using performance arts, memorializes those who survived human rights abuses and conveys the impact on their lives.
This project is contributing to community-based evidence collection of victims' memories of human rights abuses. It is also working to identify strategies for post-atrocity social reconstruction grounded in a safe and local context. Finally, the team created a website and produced several publications.
Community Based Documentation in Settings of Crisis: Comparative Perspectives from Colombia and Uganda is a detailed report communicating the findings from the Against Mass Atrocities project.
The Witness in the Archive: Documentation in Settings of Chronic Crisis is a publication aimed at academics and professional practitioners which focuses on the living archive documentation method in settings of chronic insecurity.