Documentation Practices

Documenting violations of human rights, humanitarian, and international criminal law is an enormous challenge during conflict. SJAC applauds the dedicated activists who continue to document violations with limited resources and training, under extremely hostile conditions.

To help ensure that documentation is consistent, in line with international standards, and useable in future accountability processes, SJAC encourages reference to the following materials, which outline best practices in documentation.

Manual: Documenting Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Violations in Syria

Documentation Memos:

Documenting Sexual and Gender Based Violence

SJAC has made the documentation of sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) a special focus area due to the unique ethical issues involved and the challenges of accessing survivors and witnesses.  Survivors fear coming forward to document their experiences, established survivor-support services are scarce, and human rights documenters do not have the capacity to ethically document these types of cases.

Without documentation, SJAC will have difficulty promoting redress for survivors of SGBV in transitional justice processes. To remedy these gaps, SJAC has identified needs and outlined steps for ethically addressing SGBV within its own work. To give more survivors the informed choice to document SGBV while ensuring that they have access to needed support, SJAC has established Dual Referral pathways with medical, psycho-social, and humanitarian providers working in Syria and neighboring countries.

SJAC experts are also available to provide additional guidance. Contact info@syriaaccountability.org with questions about documentation practices.