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OSF award May 2018

Professor Cath Collins and TJI have been awarded an 18-month grant by Open Society Foundations to work on improving coordination of search and identification responses to enforced disappearance in Latin America.  The project highlights the need for states to meet their regional and international Convention obligations by creating national search, identification, restitution and non-repetition plans that meet relatives´ and citizens´ rights to truth, justice, reparation and participation. Focusing initially on five countries that have recently created or announced new state laws or mechanisms to search for the disappeared (Peru, Chile, Mexico, El Salvador, and Colombia), the project aims to amplify Latin America’s existing, home-grown capacity by stimulating horizontal exchange of know-how between relatives, forensic personnel, investigators, human rights organisations, and legal actors. Activities have already begun, with recent regional gatherings in Mexico, Colombia, and Argentina, plus a forum in New York to debate access to Salvadoran Truth Commission records currently held at the UN. The work, which will be done in collaboration with the Transitional Justice Observatory of Chile´s Universidad Diego Portales, and experts including former UN Working Group president Ariel Dulitzky (U Austin at Texas), is a followup to the UU Research Challenge Fund project ´Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance as an Informational Challenge´ (2017), and also builds on earlier collaborations with the Latin American Studies Association, British Academy, and British Council (Newton scheme). See Ulster Institutional Repository, UU Working Paper Series, and the article ‘Transitional Justice from Within’ (Journal of Human Rights Practice, 2018) for past publications.  The next project activity takes place in late May in Barcelona, where Prof Collins will be convening international academic panels and a workshop on the theme ‘Forensic "Technologies of Truth” from Latin American Origins to Global Diffusion"’ at the Latin American Studies Association annual conference.