Community call: Documenting police violence in 2020

Paola Verhaert

Since 2019, we have been working with Argentine human rights organisation Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS) as part of our Matchbox support programme

To celebrate the launch of CELS’ portal documenting police violence in Argentina, we are hosting a community call on documenting police violence on Tuesday, November 24, from 4-5PM CET/ 10-11AM EST.  

We invite anyone with an interest or experience in the documentation of police or institutional violence to join us.   

About CELS

Since 1996, CELS have been collecting news reports that document cases of violence by state officials and private security agencies in Buenos Aires. After 24 years, CELS’ database shows 11.000 cases which resulted in injuries or deaths.

CELS’ database is the only one of its kind in Argentina. In the last two decades, it has allowed CELS and their partners to present unique information about institutional violence and observe trends. 

Redesigning a database of institutional violence

Over the last year and a half, The Engine Room has worked with CELS to reconceptualise their existing database and construct a new one that would better fit the organisation’s existing documentation workflows in a way that was also secure and user-friendly. To achieve this, we relied on the open-source documentation tool Uwazi, adapting it to encompass all the necessary information needed to properly document each case (including information about the event itself, officials involved, and victims). 

Alongside an internal-facing database, we also supported CELS in the creation of a public-facing website, Violencia Policial, which allows the organisation to share trends and data about institutional violence in Argentina, as well as stories about those affected by police violence in a streamlined way.

Bringing together a community of practitioners

The community call will take place on Tuesday, November 24, at 4PM CET/10AM EST. A panel of practitioners will be discussing what documenting police violence looks like in 2020, what challenges they are facing in their work, as well as how they see the work evolving. 

The following speakers will be joining us: 

Anyone with an interest or experience in the documentation of police or institutional violence is welcome to participate. As this call is intended to bring together a community of practitioners, we welcome questions and thoughts on the topic. After a panel discussion, we invite the participants to join us in the discussion and share their own experiences and ask any questions they may have.

Details on joining the call

The community call will be held in English and hosted via the Zoom platform. To register, please email Paola Verhaert at pverhaert[at] with your name and email address, so that we can email you the call-in details.

We look forward to connecting with you on the call. If you’re unable to make it – or have further questions about this project or our Matchbox support more generally– we’re happy to speak  with you. Get in touch with us on pverhaert[at] [PGP key] or hello[at], or tweet @engnroom.

Image by Wesley Tingey via Unsplash.


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