Humanitarian and Human Rights Resource Center

The American Academy of Forensic Sciences Humanitarian and Human Rights Resource Center was inaugurated at the 2015 AAFS Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The Center seeks to utilize the assets of the AAFS to promote the application of contemporary forensic science and forensic medicine principles to global humanitarian and/or human rights projects requiring special assistance.

The Center is funded in part through the Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE), a program of the National Institute of Justice. The FTCoE is a Cooperative Agreement between RTI International and the National Institute of Justice (2016-MU-BX-K110), Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

The Center provides support to AAFS members engaged in human rights and/or humanitarian forensic applications and encourages AAFS members to increase their involvement in such matters. As well as the assistance provided, AAFS members are likely to develop their own personal and professional skills in undertaking this work.

Dawnie Steadman (Anthropology) serves as the Chair of the Center. An International Advisory Council will evaluate proposals for support. The following colleagues with extensive experience in global human rights forensic applications serve on the International Advisory Council: International Advisory Council: S. Blau, (Australia), S. Cordner (Australia), Oren Finnegan (Switzerland), L. Fondebrider (Argentina), M. Pollanen (Canada), M. Tidball-Binz (France), D. Ubelaker (USA), and D. Vieira (Portugal).

  1. Publications and Documents. Chair: Sherry Fox (Anthropology). Subcommittee members include Khalifa Dieng (Odontology), Derek Congram (Anthropology), and Máximo Alberto Duque Piedrahíta (Pathology/Biology). This group will assemble publications and documents that are relevant to the Center’s interests. This resource will be especially useful to AAFS members who wish to become further involved in this type of forensic science activity, but will be available to all. The relevant literature and information on these issues is quite varied and not widely available. This subcommittee will assemble this information in one place and keep it up-to-date.

  2. Laboratory and Analysis Protocols. Chair: Sabra Botch-Jones, Boston University School of Medicine (Toxicology). Additional members of this subcommittee include Sean Tallman (Anthropology), Gaille MacKinnon (Anthropology), Karen Kelly (Pathology/Biology), Tobin Tanaka (Questioned Documents)  and Robin Cotton (Criminalistics). The subcommittee assists with outreach efforts as well as managing current information on key laboratory and analysis protocols to assist those interested in applications relating to the goals of the Center.

  3. Education. Chair: Dawn Mulhern, Fort Lewis College, Colorado (Anthropology). This group explores mechanisms to enrich educational efforts with the value of solid forensic science contributions to humanitarian and human right issues. The subcommittee examines how the goals and information of the Center can be integrated into education efforts at various levels. The following AAFS member educators serve on this subcommittee:  Robert Allen (Criminalistics), Dawnie Steadman (Anthropology), Maria Ciruzzi (Jurisprudence), Virginia Lynch (General), and Joyce Williams (General).

  4. Equipment. Chair: Ron Singer, Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, Fort Worth, Texas (Criminalistics). This group evaluates requests for equipment support and recommends solutions. The following AAFS members serve on this subcommittee: Jeri Ropero-Miller (Toxicology) and Carla Noziglia (Criminalistics).

Many members originating from all sections have responded with CVs and personal letters of interest. A database has been formed for these individuals with the anticipation that they will be contacted as issues arise related to their particular interests.

Click HERE to see the highlights from the AAFS HHRRC funded projected for 2016 through 2018.

For information about submitting a proposal, please see the Proposal Submission Information page.

If you are interested in making a contribution to the Center, please contact the AAFS Office.

For additional HHRRC resources, visit the HHRRC Resources page.

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