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Why Do We Need Monitors in Conflict Situations?

When there is fighting between different groups, for example in a community, or between the police and other people, it helps to have monitors to give evidence about what happened from a non-involved perspective. In any conflict each side will tell a different story. Monitors can help to find out the truth.

You can also monitor situations in your community on an on-going basis. For example, on-going monitoring of human rights abuses will help you build up a broader picture of the human rights situation in your community or country. You can use the information you gather while monitoring to challenge decision-makers in the different spheres of government. So, for example, you could monitor:

  • Police cells and prisoners: (has the person been given access to an attorney, has s/he appeared in court within 48 hours / what are the conditions in prison / what ages are the prisoners / are children in a separate cell etc)
  • Trials: (who was the accused / what was the charge / who was the magistrate or judge / did the accused have an attorney / what was the final judgment / was there an application to appeal, etc.)
  • Hospitals: (what types of illnesses or injuries are people suffering from / were medicines available/ were patients given proper treatment by doctors / nurses,
  • Vulnerable groups living in or near your community such as refugees, women, children, the disabled and minority groups