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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Documenting the destruction of livelihoods: A method for data collection in human rights investigations

Kirsten Noel Johnson, MD MPH, Michael VanRooyen, MD MPH, and Jennifer Leaning, MD SMH. Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University, 651 Huntington Avenue 7th Floor, Boston, MA 02115, 617-423-6265, kirstenisnow@hotmail.com

The combination of diminishing resources, ethnic hostilities and the rise of warlords and armed factions have resulted in a new genre of conflict that includes the selective targeting of civilians as a tactic of warfare, not infrequently with genocidal intent. Article II of the Genocide Convention defines genocide as killing, raping and/or causing serious bodily or mental harm to the group's members. However, in Darfur, the militia forces have also embarked on the destruction of livelihoods, deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction which also constitutes genocide as per Article IIc. Central to the type of conflict is the violation of human rights and humanitarian law. The prosecution of perpetrators and compensation for the victims cannot be obtained without data that demonstrates the abuses and the consequences of these actions. This type of information can only be collected in the field. Due to difficult working conditions often in insecure areas, investigators must quickly acquire reproducible and statistically accurate data. Ideally this requires a standardized instrument that can be employed rapidly to assess the human rights violations of populations affected by war. This study presents an instrument that allows investigators to collect information on the destruction of livelihoods. This method combines human rights interview techniques with rapid epidemiologic assessment (REA) systems and employs population sampling systems in qualitative and quantitative data collection. The instrument has been piloted along the Chad-Darfur border and the results presented in this study have been used to make recommendations to international organizations and policy makers.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of this session, the participant will be able to

    Keywords: Human Rights, Needs Assessment

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:

    Any relevant financial relationships? No

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