90 mins

Documenting and reporting human rights abuses using testimony

CUNY Brooklyn College
In this course you will learn how to interview victims of human rights abuses and how to correctly document their cases. You will also learn the basics of human rights law and how to report rights violations to international bodies. The CUNY Brooklyn College course is taught by UN expert and human rights professional Rose Parris Richter.
About this course:
This course is designed for human rights activists who want to learn how to document human rights abuses using interviews and testimonies with witnesses and victims. You will receive an introduction to international human rights law to help you prepare your research and formulate interview questions. You will learn how the professionals guide an interview towards the most important and accurate information, and then report this information in a clear and credible way. UN expert and human rights professional Rose Richter will provide you with the fundamental skills needed to effectively document and raise awareness about human rights abuses.
What do I learn:
By the end of the course, you will be able to accurately document violations of international human rights through thorough interviews with victims and witnesses of human rights abuses. You will know how to speak to an interviewee, what to look for during interviews and how to best communicate your findings to the UN and other international bodies.
What do I need to know:
This course is is suitable for anyone who wants to research human rights violations and interview victims and witnesses of rights abuses and write good reports that can help affect policy outcomes.


Rose Parris Richter

Rose is the Executive Director of the Human Rights in Iran Unit at City University of New York. She has documented human rights violations in support of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran since 2011. She also used to be a pro surfer.

Mani Mostofi

Mani Mostofi is the Director of Impact Iran, a coalition of Iranian human rights organisations. He’s an international human rights lawyer who reported on the human rights situation in Iran, Bahrain, and other places for many years. He was also the lead singer of a straight edge punk band.

1.1 Introduction to the presenters & course material
1.2 Introduction to Human Rights Reporting
2.1 What are human rights?
2.2 What are International Human Rights Laws?
2.3 International Law
2.4 Knowing the law so you can spot the human rights violations
2.5 Issue Spotting
3.1 Choosing a topic
3.2 Inspiration and examples
3.3 An introduction to testimony-based research
3.4 Getting informed consent
3.5 Choosing your sources
4.1 Gathering testimonies - interview techniques
4.2 Dealing with sensitive cases and avoiding re traumatisation
4.3 Establishing credibility
4.4 Asking the right questions
5.1 Bringing it all together
5.2 Writing a report based on testimony and data
5.3 Perfecting your report
5.4 Reporting your findings
6.1 Wrap up

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