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The things they carry: Victims' documentation of forced disappearance in Colombia and Sri Lanka

Cronin-Furman, K; Krystalli, R; (2020) The things they carry: Victims' documentation of forced disappearance in Colombia and Sri Lanka. European Journal of International Relations 10.1177/1354066120946479. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Survivors of systematic violations of human rights abuses carry with them the evidence of their victimization: photographs of the missing, news clippings, copies of police reports. In some contexts, collecting and preserving these documents is part of an effort to claim benefits, such as official victim status or reparations, from the state. In others, it serves as a record of and rebuke to the state’s inaction. In this article, through a comparative case study of victim mobilization in Colombia and Sri Lanka, we explore how these dynamics play out in contexts with high and low (respectively) levels of state action on transitional justice. Drawing on in-depth fieldwork in both contexts, we examine grassroots documentation practices with an eye toward how they reflect the strategic adaptation of international transitional justice norms to specific contexts. We also examine how they organize relationships among individuals, the state, and notions of justice in times of transition from war and dictatorship. We argue that, beyond the strategic engagement with and/or rebuke of the state, these documents are also sites of ritual and memory for those who collect them.

Type: Article
Title: The things they carry: Victims' documentation of forced disappearance in Colombia and Sri Lanka
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/1354066120946479
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1354066120946479
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 by European Consortium for Political Research. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/).
Keywords: Human rights, transitional justice, norms, Colombia, Sri Lanka, conflict
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10110814
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