Community Discussion on Documenting the Disappeared: November 2017


Join us 27 November to 8 December 2017 for a HURIDOCS community discussion on Documenting the Disappeared. This exchange will bring together practitioners from different backgrounds to discuss experiences, lessons learned and best practices related to documenting enforced disappearances.

About the topic

Enforced disappearance is a wide spread, global problem. It's used to spread fear and terror throughout society. With the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance now in effect since 2010, it is more important than ever to document these disappearances. The process itself supports individual families in establishing what happened to their loved ones. The preservation of this information builds collective memory. Furthermore, when systematically undertaken, documenting disappearances also helps understand who the perpetrators were/are and hold them accountable.

Documenting enforced disappearances comes with its own unique set of challenges and opportunities. It frequently requires specialist knowledge, including on forensics, not readily available and costly to obtain. Similar to other human rights documentation work, documenting disappearances is often risky because not everyone is ready to face the past and the consequences.

Format of this community discussion

Throughout the week, participants will share their questions, challenges, advice and experiences in our HURIDOCS Collaboratory online forum.

During the week, we will host several online conference calls in which 2-3 practitioners will share their knowledge and experience documenting enforced disappearances, and will respond to questions. We will publish the days and times of these calls on this post, and will announce them in this Collaboratory News thread.

This is a public, online discussion and all are welcome.

Discussion partners

We're grateful to be working with the following organisations to host this event: If you have experience in this topic and would be interested in working with us on this event, please let us know!


Dates for the live conference calls have been scheduled!

Live conference calls

We will also host four online conference calls (lasting 1 to 1.5 hours) in which 1-2 practitioners will share their knowledge and experience documenting enforced disappearances, and will respond to questions. Please mark your calendars with the dates and times of these calls:
  • Wednesday 29 November at 15:00 UTC - Justine Di Mayo, Co-founder and Director of Act for the Disappeared (Lebanon) will present on goals of documenting enforced disappearances, and Özlem Kaya of Hafiza Merkezi (Turkey) will present on documentation and methodology from the experience of Hafiza Merkezi.
  • Friday 1 December at 18:00 UTC - Tamar of Técnicas Rudas and Centro Diocesano de Derechos Humanos Fray Juán de Larios (Mexico) will share her knowledge and experience on contextualising the documentation of disappearances, and strategic thinking.
  • Monday 4 December at 18:00 UTC - Celina Flores, Archive Coordinator for Memoria Abierta (Argentina) will present a case study on documenting disappearances in Argentina.
  • Wednesday 6 December at 15:00 UTC - Jorge Ruiz Reyes and Denise Núñez González, of the Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico) will talk about the statistical models, methodologies, and platforms that they have used in their work documenting disappearances.
A summary of the discussion will be written and shared here, on this post and recordings of the live conference calls will be shared in our HURIDOCS Collaboratory online forum.

The asynchronous online discussion forum is organised around the following sub-topics:

  1. Goals of documenting enforced disappearances
  2. The process of collecting and producing documentation on disappearances
  3. Organising, analysing and publishing information on disappearances
  4. Coordinating documentation efforts with allies
  5. Participant introductions and sharing helpful resources on documenting enforced disappearances
This is a public, online discussion and all are welcome.