The role of the local human rights actors in the transformation of fact-finding: A comparative case study in the Syrian context
The use of digital technologies is not new in the human rights sphere; however, during the last two decades, the scope, volume, and accessibility of these technologies dramatically changed (Dubberley, Koenig and Murray 2020; Alston and Knuckey 2015). The internet, smart devices, and the World Wide Web have allowed open source information, such as remote sensing data and user-generated data, to play new roles in human rights investigations by an increasing number of actors.
Many studies suggest that such transformation influenced the local actor’s position in the human rights network through the growing possibilities of interaction between international and local actors and the use of locally generated information in human rights investigations (McPherson, Thornton and Mahmoudi 2020; Sharp 2015). At the same time, these studies stated that local actors do not play an active role in the interpretation of the information that they are providing or in the decision-making processes they inform. Additionally, even though this transformation is said to have increased the degree of interaction between local and international actors, these interactions remain characterised by unequal power relationships between international and local actors (Land 2015).
Until now, there is not much empirical research on how the transformation of human rights fact-finding is happening on the local level and the roles of local actors in this transformation. By looking at the Syrian case, this presentation presents a network analysis for a specific investigation led by an organisation from the Syrian diaspora to examine the role of knowledge transfer dynamics between human rights actors in fact-finding progress.
Alston, Philip and Sarah Knuckey, eds. 2015. The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding. With the assistance of D. Bonilla and D. N. Sharp. Accessed December 28, 2022. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/erlangen/reader.action?docID=4083029&ppg=38.
Dubberley, Sam, Alexa Koenig and Daragh Murray, eds. 2020. Digital Witness: Using Open Source Information for Human Rights Investigation, Documentation, and Accountability. Accessed December 14, 2022. https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/erlangen/reader.action?docID=6181446&ppg=1.
Land, Molly K. 2015. “Democratizing Human Rights Fact-Finding.” In The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding, ed. by Philip Alston and Sarah Knuckey, 399–424.
McPherson, Ella, Isabel G. Thornton and Matt Mahmoudi. 2020. “Open Source Investigations and the Technology-driven Knowledge Controversy in Human Rights Fact-finding*.” In Digital Witness: Using Open Source Information for Human Rights Investigation, Documentation, and Accountability, ed. by Sam Dubberley, Alexa Koenig and Daragh Murray.
Sharp, Dustin N. 2015. “Human Rights Fact-Finding and the Reproduction of Hierarchies.” In The Transformation of Human Rights Fact-Finding, ed. by Philip Alston and Sarah Knuckey.