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lecture: Syrian Archive

Preserving documentation of human rights violations

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Journalists and human rights groups need to find and use verified visual evidence in order to accurately report about what’s happening in conflict zones. In the case of Syria, there are more hours of online footage online than there have been hours of conflict.

There is currently no tool that supports finding, collecting, preserving and collaboratively verifying and curating visual evidence from social media platforms: The Syrian Archive is the first to do so.

In this talk, members of the Syrian Archive team will give an overview of the Syrian Archive project, explore the technical components and verification procedures, and review investigations completed using open source methodologies.

Journalists and human rights groups need to find and use verified visual evidence in order to accurately report about what’s happening in conflict zones.

We have currently developed an open source tool in alpha stage in collaboration with developers from Tactical Tech which collects and preserves video evidence from Youtube. We have additionally developed a unique workflow in order to verify video documentation and to conduct our investigations. By aggregating, preserving, cataloging and securing digital documentation relating to human rights violations in Syria, the Syrian Archive project helps Syrian civil society, human rights activists, media offices, journalists and lawyers increase their capacity to respond to human rights violations thorough using documentation and investigations that adhere to international standards, and using better tools to demand accountability against perpetrators of those violations.

Findings from investigations have been used by Human Rights Watch, the United Nations Security Council and the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons in their work investigating the Syrian conflict. Further, research has been cross-published by Bellingcat, an award-winning open source investigation platform and partner to the project.