Commentary, 2017 in Review
As we start a new year and look back on the tumult of the one just past, here are items from each month of HRWG News in 2017 that, taken together, illustrate the diversity of human rights issues that include archives. Best wishes for the year ahead!
January. Investigators are using archives at the Max Planck Institute in Germany to “find and purge it of human brain tissue removed from victims murdered” during Nazi medical and euthanasia programs.
February. The Prosecutor General in Colombia charged around 200 local and international companies for crimes against humanity.
March. Two Swedish nongovernmental organizations used public records of seven banks for a report on the role of banks in the crisis faced by Borneo’s indigenous peoples and their forests.
April. In Kashmir, a video of a man tied “to the front of a jeep as a human shield” led police to file a case against the army perpetrators.
May. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued “updated guidelines for investigating unlawful killings around the world.”
June. World second cousins “have lower test scores, lower height-for-age, and a higher likelihood of being severely stunted.”
July. Near the Iraqi city of Mosul, ISIS allegedly burned the biggest archives of its documents and data.
August. A campaign in Afghanistan is urging that a mother’s name be recorded on her child’s birth certificate.
September. Some 60 persons in India have been killed after using the Right to Information Act to gain access to government documents and at least 300 “have been harassed or physically hurt.”
October. After the International Criminal Court issued its first ever arrest warrant solely based on social media evidence, accusing Libyan army commander Werfalli of mass executions near Benghazi, Libya, bellingcat, an online investigation team, used crowdsourcing to “geolocate” four of the seven locations shown on the social media video as sites where assassinations occurred.
November. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first pill embedded with a sensor that can alert a patient’s physician or caregiver.
December. China’s “Population Registration Program” is collecting biometric data from all residents in Xinjiang province between the ages of 12 and 65.