Who we are
In 2014 the Syrian Archive was established as a rapid response project working in close collaboration with Syrian reporters and documentation groups to preserve digital information of the Syrian conflict: images, videos, and other postings that are invaluable historical artifacts and potential evidence of human rights abuses.
Mnemonic grew out of the recognition that Syrian Archive’s workflows could be adapted to other locations where human rights violations must be documented and preserved but the ecosystems to do so are underdeveloped.
Since 2017, Mnemonic has used its unique position as a cross-sectoral, cross-disciplinary organisation to provide the tools and methodologies that enable human rights defenders to use digital information in the fight for justice and demand accountability.
We are a member of the Computer Incident Response Center for Civil Society a network of Computer Emergency Response Teams, Rapid Response teams, and independent Internet Content and Service Providers who help global civil society to prevent and address digital security issues. We are also a member of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism Advisory Network and the Christchurch Call Advisory Network: a coalition of human rights and documentation groups represented at the United Nations General Assembly and the Internet Governance Forum.
Mnemonic works globally to help human rights defenders effectively use digital documentation of human rights violations and international crimes to support advocacy, justice and accountability.
We aim to:
- Archive digital information to ensure that potential evidence is not lost and remains accessible and usable for future accountability mechanisms.
- Train human rights defenders to maximise the impact of digital information and empower those working with it.
- Reduce the impact of harmful content moderation policies by social media companies and governments by providing comprehensive, reliable data surrounding the takedowns of human rights documentation on social media platforms.
- Build and support the development of open source tools and methods to increase human rights defenders’ capacity to use digital information to advance social justice.
Mnemonic’s unequaled archive of human rights documentation is and will continue to be a strong evidentiary basis for groundbreaking legal efforts to hold perpetrators and their accomplices to account for grave human rights violations and international crimes.
Our research and evidence provided key contributions to the first ever criminal complaint filed in relation to chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Our investigations into the Syrian chemical supply chain resulted in the conviction of three Belgian firms who violated European Union sanctions, an internal audit of the Belgian customs system, parliamentary inquiries in multiple countries, a change in Swiss export laws to reflect European Union sanctions laws on specific chemicals, and the filing of complaints urging the governments of Germany and Belgium to initiate investigations into additional shipments to Syria.
Mnemonic has shared documentation with human rights organisations and ongoing accountability mechanisms, including the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria (IIIM), and the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen (GEE).
We conduct and support investigations published on major news media platforms, generating much-needed global public attention to attacks against civilians in Syria and Yemen.
We are leaders in highlighting the risks of content moderation on social media content through our archiving and monitoring activities, and have worked with platforms to reinstate hundreds of thousands of removed posts. Our research has been mentioned in a presentation to the United Nations General Assembly, in an Amicus Brief submitted to the United States Supreme Court, and in United States Congressional Hearings on artificial intelligence and counterrorism. We have been cited in over 80 peer-reviewed academic articles.
Every step of the way, Mnemonic curates publicly available databases of verified documentation, which is then put to good use by lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders around the world. Our documentation has been made publicly available to lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders.
We are committed to providing practical training for human rights defenders and journalists on our methods, and we prioritize building global capacity and community around the rigorous and innovative techniques of open source investigation Our training also encompasses digital security, verification and archiving. To date, we have trained over one thousand people.