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Donia Human Rights Center Lecture. Documenting Atrocities: Overcoming Barriers in Syria

Mohammad Al Abdallah, Executive Director, Syria Justice and Accountability Centre; Leigh Pearce, PhD, MPH, Professor, Epidemiology, U-M School of Public Health
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
4:15-5:45 PM
Room 1010 (and virtual) Weiser Hall Map
Please note: This panel discussion will be offered in person on the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus at 1010 Weiser Hall (500 Church Street) and will be simultaneously available via Zoom Webinar.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required if you intend to participate virtually. Once you've registered, the joining information will be sent to your email. Register at: https://myumi.ch/qgV9V

The Donia Human Rights Center will follow state, local, and University of Michigan guidelines for in-person events.

The decade-long civil war in Syria has been characterized by human rights atrocities on an enormous scale, including the deaths, disappearances, forced displacement, and torture of tens of thousands of Syrians. What are the possibilities for gathering evidence of such atrocities and holding individuals accountable for them? These questions will be explored by the founder and director of the Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC), which collects and preserves evidence of human rights abuses committed by all parties to the decade-long conflict. We will explore the opportunities for and and barriers to safeguarding forensic evidence and the historical record and generating new approaches to transitional justice based on the unique needs of Syrians. These challenges include the obstacles to documenters on the ground as well as the proper role of international and foreign organizations in accountability processes.

Featuring: Mohammad Al Abdallah, Executive Director, Syria Justice and Accountability Centre

Commentator: Leigh Pearce, PhD, MPH, Professor, Epidemiology, U-M School of Public Health

This event is co-sponsored by: Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy Weiser Diplomacy Center and International Policy Center, Law School Center for International and Comparative Law, and U-M School of Public Health.

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Mohammad Al Abdallah, Executive Director, Syria Justice and Accountability Centre

Al Abdallah is a Syrian human rights and democracy researcher and activist prior to 2011. He received a Bachelor’s of Law from the Lebanese University in 2007. In 2014, he received a Master’s of Public Policy from George Mason University with a specialty in governance and international institutions. He previously worked as a research assistant for Human Rights Watch in Beirut from where he covered Syria from 2007-2009. Al Abdallah is a former prisoner and survivor of torture who was imprisoned in Syria on two separate occasions for his work defending human rights and lobbying for political reform.

The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC), a Syrian-led non-profit organization, a recipient for the Anne Frank Special Recognition Award, works on ensuring that all human rights violations from all sides are well documented, preserved, analyzed and securely stored. SJAC houses an enormous database of violations and the only Syrian organization that adopts a technology for human rights approach. SJAC has contributed to war crimes units and prosecutors and provided evidence on multiple criminal cases in Europe and North America, as well as to specific investigations conducted by the UN Commission of Inquiry.

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Leigh Pearce, PhD, MPH, Professor, Epidemiology, U-M School of Public Health

Leigh Pearce is a professor of epidemiology in the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology. Her research streams are related to health disparities among the Middle Eastern and North African population in Michigan, the role life purpose plays in health outcomes, and factors related to ovarian cancer risk and prognosis. She teaches a course on health and human rights and is also one of the principal investigators of the NIH-funded MI-CARES cohort. MI-CARES aims to understand the relationship between environmental exposures and cancer risk among Michiganders living in environmental injustice hotspots.

The Syria Justice and Accountability Centre (SJAC), a Syrian-led non-profit organization, a recipient for the Anne Frank Special Recognition Award, works on ensuring that all human rights violations from all sides are well documented, preserved, analyzed and securely stored. SJAC houses an enormous database of violations and the only Syrian organization that adopts a technology for human rights approach. SJAC has contributed to war crimes units and prosecutors and provided evidence on multiple criminal cases in Europe and North America, as well as to specific investigations conducted by the UN Commission of Inquiry.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at umichhumanrights@umich.edu. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Human Rights, International, Justice, Middle East, Syria
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Donia Human Rights Center, School of Public Health, Center for International & Comparative Law, International Institute, Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies, International Policy Center, Weiser Diplomacy Center