DKG’23 Panel on Digital Human Rights Documentation

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The datafication of the world and the increasing availability of (geo)data opens up new opportunities for monitoring and documenting human rights violations, particularly in locations that are difficult to access due to security concerns. These advances raise technical and methodological challenges and opportunities whilst also posing fundamental ethical, legal, and political questions about data availability and use as well as questions regarding researchers’ positionality.

Together with professors Georg Glasze and Blake Walker of FAU’s Institute of Geography, professor Katrin Kinzelbach organized a session on this topic at DKG’23, an academic conference in Frankfurt on 22 September 2023. Our institute’s PhD candidate Lama Ranjous participated as a panellist. The session started with a representative of the NGO Mnemonic, who explained ongoing documentation practices using the example of the Ukrainian Archive. The subsequent academic contributions focused on conceptual debates as well as questions related to the accessibility, reliability and analysis of remote sensing and social media data. We organized this panel in the context of a multi-year, interdisciplinary research project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), and implemented jointly with FAU’s Institute of Geography.