Documenting Human Rights Violations in Challenging Environments

Introduction

Depending on your circumstances, you may be operating in an environment where collecting certain types of information is challenging or even dangerous. If this is the case, you will want to have a good understanding of what risks you face and how to respond to safety threats.

By the time you have finished this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Conduct a risk assessment; and,
  2. Take safety precautions to protect yourself and your contacts.

Security threats differ based on context. A risk assessment will help you pinpoint the risks in your particular context. You will answer questions such as:

  • How controversial is the issue you are researching in your country/city/town?
  • Have others collected information about similar topics in the past and what risks did they face?
  • Who are the key individuals and groups that might pose a threat to you or your sources during collection efforts?
  • How could your collection efforts endanger you and/or your sources?
  • What safety precautions can you take to protect communications with your sources?

A good analysis of your context enables informed security decisions and keeps you and your sources safe.