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A London based organisation Oxford Research Group (ORG) has completed its two-year study into casualty recording practice worldwide. Violent deaths in conflict should and can be recorded, their new study has found – the largest ever research project into casualty recording practice. The study, authored by Elizabeth Minor, Research Officer on Documenting Existing Casualty Recording Practice Worldwide project, investigates the work of 40 casualty recorder groups and individuals, based in different conflict and post-conflict environments. Documenta participated in this study by sharing our experience and knowladge. It shows that, despite widespread neglect, recording casualties is entirely practicable.

The project has made crucial findings that are useful to recording practitioners, their supporters, and policy-makers, towards the goal that every casualty of armed conflict will be recorded. It provides insight into casualty recording practice that has, until now, not existed. The research also highlights the immediate and long-term benefits that make this work vital.

In armed conflicts all over the world, many violent deaths, particularly of civilians, fail to be officially recorded, which adds to the harm already done. In many cases, civil society organisations step in to fill this gap as best they can. ORG study of the work of these organisations reveals how and why these organisations record casualties, often to the level of named individuals, and even in the most dangerous and repressive of environments.

ORG began this project in 2010 to provide a detailed overview of how work to document deaths from armed conflict was being carried out around the world. The two major objectives of the project were to:

  • build up a knowledge base on practice in casualty recording that could help current and future casualty recorders with their work
  • gain solid information about the range of casualty recording work, which could be shared with a broader audience including policymakers

From the research Oxford Research Group has produced a:

These findings and recommendation will be of great assistance to organizations that are working on documenting human losses by sharing experiences with fellow experts from other countries and improving their practices or methodology, or for the advocacy for Charter for the recognition of every casualty of armed conflict. If you would like to join the Every Casualty Campaign and work with us to advocate for a commitment by states to ensure that no death from armed violence goes unrecognised get in touch with us.