Analytical capacity building and training of personal skills for civil society projects monitoring human rights violations – NGO monitoring and evidence collection, civilian oversight of security forces, crowd sourcing, fact-finding missions.
Although the contribution of civil society to the collection of data relevant in the field of human rights monitoring has a long history, based on modern Information and Communication Technologies the possibilities to produce information regarding mass violence or other human rights issues in real time increased tremendously. Not only prominent projects like those carried out by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, State Watch, International Crisis Group, to name just a few, provide complex evidence for gross human rights violations. A vast number of civil society initiatives emerged, monitoring compliance of state and other agencies with human rights standards.
The building of capacity and training for personal skills for those civil society projects to collect and analyse relevant data on the basis of reliable analytical methods became an urgent issue. The impact human rights monitoring can and should have on Realpolitik is highly dependent on the validity and credibility of information presented and finally the reliability and objectivity of applied analytical methods. It is known from the proceedings of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia that, e.g., NGOs provided crucial data to support the facts of alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity, however, difficulties occurred when this information was tested and NOT admitted into evidence, or admitted with diminished probative value because of lack of reliability in collecting and analysing data. Therefore the development of resources and capacities as well as tools and personal skills for empirical analysis of social reality are very crucial and have to be developed continuously and systematically.
In light of the experiences in capacity building and training of analytical skills (see, e.g., HURIDOCS, Martus/Analyser, Detica, Ushahidi) a systematic review of good and best practices, but also failures in data collection and analysis by civil society projects could help to support ongoing and future initiatives.