United Against Inhumanity (UAI), in collaboration with the Bosch Alumni Network, cordially invites you to our online discussion Does data change behavior of belligerents in wars? Examples from Afghanistan on December 7th at 16:30-18:00 CET.

Documenting civilian casualties may prove useful in advocating for a change in military tactics as well as holding accountable those deemed responsible for grave violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and other protection laws during armed conflicts. While there exists plenty of research on the methodology used to capture the human costs of war, as well as reports depicting how this information is shared with relevant actors within a given armed conflict, there is less evidence showing how available data leads to changes in the behavior of belligerents in different war zones. This is not least the case because of the variety of factors that influence what kind of data is collected, under what circumstances, by whom, and to what end. It also speaks to the fact that human behavior is complex, dynamic and highly context-specific as well as situation-specific, which does not allow for easy conclusions about the validity of data usage to change behavior. Further, the focus on changing individual behavior of war belligerents has led to a neglect of the broader socio-political context within which all behavior is necessarily embedded (e.g. respective regime types, but also international and domestic political dynamics).

The Bosch Alumni Network, in collaboration with the organisation United Against Inhumanity (UAI) will discuss the successes and challenges of the use of data in ending and punishing crimes against civilians during armed conflict. Moderated by Kate Clark, long-time journalist stationed in Kabul and member of the Afghanistan Analysts Network, our two panelists Norah Niland and Zaman Abdul Ghafor will share their experiences and insights with documenting the harm caused to civilians during the protracted conflict that is has killed thousands of people while displacing large parts of the Afghan population. In particular, the conversation aims to…

  • Raise awareness of the benefits but also gaps and limitations of data collection to challenge the policies and practices that produce human suffering.
  • Foster dialogue on possible solutions for more effective advocacy efforts building on data collection initiatives.

About the speakers

Norah Niland is a long-time humanitarian and human rights practitioner who first engaged in challenging social injustices as a civil rights activist in Northern Ireland. Norah worked in Afghanistan on various occasions including as head of the human rights team in UNAMA (2008-2010) that developed a program to reduce the direct impact of war on civilians with the use of evidence-based advocacy. She is a co-founder and member of United Against Inhumanity (UAI) which will be our partner for the evening.

Zaman Abdul Ghafor is based in Kabul and took part in the international seminar “Truth, Justice & Remembrance” organized by the Robert Bosch Foundation. He works as project manager at the Afghanistan Forensic Science Organization (AFSO), the first non-governmental forensic science organization in Afghanistan founded in 2012.

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