Participant introductions and sharing helpful resources on documenting enforced disappearances

Please use this discussion thread to introduce yourself, background on your work documenting enforced disappearances, and any resources you have found helpful in your documentation work.

Hi everyone! I am Özlem from İstanbul, Turkey.
I am working for the Memory Studies Program of Hafıza Merkezi (Truth Justice Memory Center). Hafıza Merkezi implements a range of activities, including documentation in accordance with the universally accepted standards, monitoring of precedent cases, as well as dissemination of marginalized truths and narratives on these violations to a large section of society, with a view to support the recognition and rehabilitation of victims of such atrocities.
Since its establishment, one of the main activities of Hafıza Merkezi is documenting enforced disappearances in Turkey. We have an online database, which we developed in partnership with Huridocs: Besides, we are publishing reports on the topic, all of which can be reached from the webpage of the organisation. And I am personally responsible from the archive of the center. We are trying to do our best for making our documentation work in accordance with international standards. However, we still have quiet much to learn.
I would like to thank Huridocs for hosting this community discussion. I hope to have a fruitful discussion and looking forward to it.

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Hi everybody!! I am Indira from Mexico, I started working this year on digital security with two groups who are documenting disappearances. We are exploring group protocols, how to securely store information and also ways to share part of the information for infoactivism campaigns.

It’s great to be here in this discussion!

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Hi everyone

My name is Jorge Ruiz. I´m a member of the Human Rights Program, at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City. I do reasearch on the topics regarding grave violations on human rights; specifically enforced disappearances.

At the Human Rights Program we have been doing research about the phenomenom of clandestine graves with two goals: 1) give estimations about the magnitude of the problem during the last 10 years in Mexico and; 2) predict municipalities in Mexico with high probabilites of having clandestine graves that have not been reported by the media or by the goverment.

Here are some links about our work:

I´m very glad to be part of this discussion and i´m looking forward to be in contact with all of you in order to share our experiences.

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Hi everybody! I am Justine from Beirut. I am working for the Lebanese association ACT for the Disappeared that supports the families of the thousand persons who disappeared in Lebanon from 1975 to 2005. Since its creation in 2010, ACT has advocated for the creation of a national mechanism to investigate the fate and whereabouts of the disappeared persons. But in the face of a lack of political will, ACT started few years ago a documentation project to contribute to the clarification of cases of disappearance. ACT also seeks to uncover suspected sites of graves to protect them from destruction; thus ensuring that the victims could be exhumed and identified in the future.
In 2016, ACT has launched an online memorial for the disappeared (
I’m really looking forward to discussing with you these important issues !

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Hi everyone

I am Yolanda Foster. I’m a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Women, Peace & Security at LSE. I previously worked with Amnesty international’s South Asia team and continue to collaborate with activists in Sri Lanka. At present I am working with groups of families of the disappeared in Sri Lanka to ensure their demands and voices are heard in the ongoing Transitional Justice Process. We have a meeting in January and would be keen to receive any materials or resources for victims campaigning on right to truth or any examples of how victims’s groups have used creative strategies to ensure their needs are met in TJ processes.
My mail is

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Hi everyone,

I´m Celina Flores, Archive Cordinator of Memoria Abierta argentina.
Memoria abierta was founded in 1999 as an initiative of the historical human rights organizations in Argentina. Its main objective was to work towards the memory of the human rights violations that occurred during the last military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-1983)
One of the most important work that has been done in the area of ​​archives was the work of ordering and systematizing the archives of human rights organizations.
These bodies were central in the construction of the evidence of the crimes committed, from the receipt of complaints from the relatives of the victims at the same moment of their disappearance.
A year after the end of the dictatorship, they carried out a systematization work on all the complaints that was central to the work of the 1984 truth commission and the subsequent trial of the military juntas.

Open Memory is very expectant to participate in this interchange, which we believe is very important at the time of work in pursuit of truth, justice and memory


Hi everyone, My name is Mikyung Cha (Seraphina), researcher of national violence including disappearance . I involved at the different cases of people’s killing and impunity issues, I recognized the digital archive and documentation movement are so much important because the govt issues on disappearance does work nothing After 20-50 years later, she slowly starts investigation, but we all feel it is too late. .My mission is now how I can contribute archive movement on the impunity issues and connecting people’s crying. n terms i am collecting the method and work experiences of this subject in the different cases in Asian countries. I call own my movement is " record war’

I am so much interesting in participation and share of our experiences here and learn each other.
and make a sincere friendship. Sorry to introduce myself too late. This week in korma so much important memorial event about the Korean Air 858 bomb incident in 1987. the victims of family upset the govt investigation and upset the scenario. They believed it was a manipulated event by the military govt at that time and there was no connected evidence by north Korea ( too late, I hope i am not a last person in the communication group. Have a wonderful weekend
Thanks so much

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Hi again, everyone.
I’m Elena, from the Observatory of Disappearance and Impunity in Mexico.
What we mainly do at the Observatory is building data bases with NGO’s and relatives’ information about the disappeared peoples’ cases, and then we process and analyse that information statistically.
This is the final draft of our report about the state of Nuevo León:

Also, lately we started to teach documentation workshops to a relatives’ organisation, so they can document their own cases.
If you have any comments or recommendations about this or the report, please share them with me :slight_smile:
Read you around!

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Thanks Elena for sharing your report. Do you have an english version?

Sorry, i’m afraid we just have the spanish version… i hope our Cambridge or Minnesota colleagues do an english version soon! :wink:

Thanks Elena. Can you please tell us more about the databases you develop with local NGOs?

Our first collaboration was with CADHAC (an NGO of the state of Nuevo León which works with a relatives’ organisation called AMORES). Now we are processing information collected by the CDH Fray Juan de Larios of Coahuila.
In these two cases, human rights NGOs and relatives organisations had already documented disappearance cases, thus we codified their information through our variables (which respond to the method of “whom did what to whom”, in the more detailed possible level). They had also started constructing their own databases, so with a part of the information we just had to adapt it to our variables to build our database. Then we share them the database we construct, along with all the analysis.
In the case of Guerrero we are doing something different, because there’s many relatives organisations which haven’t documented their cases systematically, they don’t fill forms or use any method to gather information in a standardised and/or systematic way. In face of that, we started the documenting workshops with a group of relatives… that’s the point we’ve arrived at.
Hope i’ve answered!

Many thanks Elena for your answer. It is really interesting. Are you planning to collaborate with NGO’s working outside of Mexico?

Do you mean foreigns NGOs that work on Mexico’s disappearances?
If that’s what you mean, we haven’t planned that yet. I would be great.

Thank you all for participating in this community discussion on Documenting the Disappeared! It was so interesting to learn about the experiences of practitioners working on this topic from different angles and in different contexts.


This discussion wouldn't have happened without our partners @jdimayo and @ozlem - thank you for helping me find participants, define the topics, and presenting your knowledge to the group. It was such a pleasure to work with you!

And a big thank you to our presenters: @jdimayo, @ozlem, @tamar, @jorge.ruiz, and @celina!

It was a busy two weeks…

With the help of these presenters, we hosted four live, recorded presentations (and discussions) on the following topics related to documenting disappearances:

The full playlist of recordings can be found here.


At the time that I am writing this post, the **presentation recordings have been viewed over 185 times**, and the Collaboratory discussion forum had **8 participants contribute over 30 comments** which have been **viewed over 700 times**!

Thank you again for contributing to this peer-to-peer exchange (and experiment!). I hope you are taking away something new and useful from this discussion. :slight_smile:

Now what?

The two week period in which we had all committed to participate has come to an end, but this forum space will remain open for anyone who wants to continue to add questions, advice, resources, and experiences. @indira and I will work on summarising what was shared in this discussion and we will publish a link to that resource here.

Until the next discussion,

Sorry Elena for my late answer. No I was meaning local NGOs working in other countries which could benefit from your experience. I believe we can continue this discussion by email :slight_smile:

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