Rapid Response Documentation Principles

Rapid response documentation (RRD) is the timely, systematic, secure, and ethical recording, collection, and preservation of information on human rights violations during crisis emergencies. Human rights defenders, particularly those on the ground, have already been doing RRD. While a lot of recent focus has been on open source investigations, we name RRD as a practice to give attention and provide support to on-the-ground documenters who —often at great risk with limited resources—do the integral though invisible work of first response documentation. As one of the first responders, these documentors and documentalists enable the work of various actors across the human rights ecosystem. 

Rapid response documentation can counter, prevent, or minimise human rights abuses before they further develop. RRD can help in quickly drawing attention to the crisis, securing support from various parties, and enacting strategic interventions. In addition, RRD lays down a strong foundation for various long-term justice mechanisms including providing leads for criminal investigations, data for reparations, and narratives for memorialisation.