Our Thoughts on the Violence in Charlottesville

This week, we join our friends and colleagues in feeling horrified by the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. As we have for the past 26 years, we stand with the victims of violence and support human rights and dignity for all. We spend our careers observing and documenting mass political violence across the world. The demands by the so-called “alt-right” to normalize racism and social exclusion are all too familiar to us.

At HRDAG, our work is always guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). We reaffirm our commitment to these principles, in particular that the “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world” (preamble); to Article 1, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights;” and to Article 2, “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”

We are disappointed by President Trump’s inadequate response to the violence. Our mission is to contribute evidence upon which to build the most truthful version of history possible. We are committed to quantifying and naming the acts of violence that aim to degrade human dignity. We stand by ready to help those who share that goal.

Image: Illustration by Yacine Ait Kaci (YAK) from the illustrated version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The drawings by YAK included in this illustrated edition of the UDHR are protected by copyright and can only be reproduced to illustrate the text of the UDHR.

Our work has been used by truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, and non-governmental human rights organizations. We have worked with partners on projects on five continents.