The impact of casualty recording – Every Casualty Counts evidence to the OHCHR study

Human Rights Council resolution 50/11 requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to conduct a study on the impact of casualty recording. In response to OHCHR’s call for input to the study, Every Casualty Counts has supported members of the Casualty Recorders Network and other casualty recording initiatives to make numerous submissions about the impact of their work, available here.

Every Casualty Counts has also published its own submission to the study, available to download here. This submission focuses on the impact of casualty recording on the right to remedy, reparation and truth, including oustanding initiatives such as Lost Lives and the Kosovo Memory Book. It also illustrates how casualty recording initiatives help uphold the right to freedom of religion and belief, and the right to respect for family life. These impacts are evident in the work of organisations such as Fundación de Antropología Forense de Guatemala (Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation, FAFG), the National Center for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba, and the Yad Vashem Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names.

Every Casualty Counts’ submission includes the work of organisations such as the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre and Ukraine Victims Memorial, who use casualty recording to support accountability, including criminal prosecutions, for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Other uses of casualty recording included in the submission include rapid response for protection of civilians, as supported by Insecurity Insight and the Civilian Impact Monitoring Project. It also gives examples of how analysis of casualty records has been used to support policy changes at international level, for exmaple in relation to the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Every Casualty Counts’ submission also looks at how casualty recording initiatives can help uphold human rights in non-conflict situations. This includes the use of casualty data by organisations like the Native Women’s Association of Canada to improve state actions to counter femicide, and by the IOM Missing Migrants Project to uphold state commitments for safe migration.

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