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Documenting Human Rights in Iran: Evidence Collection Guide

Here Are Some Things To Remember When Collecting And Processing Evidence:

Label all evidence properly

  • Write down the date when the evidence was collected and any other relevant dates if not readily apparent on the face of the evidence itself.
  • Indicate the source of the evidence, including relevant names and locations


Every little bit counts

All evidence related to a human rights violation should be collected, even if some pieces are missing.

  • If someone tells you about how they were arbitrarily dismissed from school or work due to their religious beliefs, you do not need to find the document showing the dismissal for this evidence to be of use. The witness’s account is valuable evidence even without the document.


First-hand accounts are best

The closer the witness was to the event or problem in question, the better. First-hand accounts of events are almost always preferable to second or third hand accounts. As accounts are re-told to others, facts can get distorted.

Record the evidence trail

Wherever possible, record a description of the piece of evidence, the source, and who handled it. This is especially important with respect to physical evidence. The evidence collector should prepare a “chain of custody” declaration—that is, a written or oral attestation to the following:

  • How the evidence was gathered
  • How long it has been saved or stored, and the manner in which it has been secured
  • How the evidence has been transferred, if at all, and the identity of all evidence handler


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