Ukweli is a Swahili word for “finding the truth.”

The Ukweli series consists of two versions: an original version, and a revised version. The original Ukweli series was developed in the early 2000s and consists of a main handbook that identifies and defines steps for the research of human rights violations, and seven accompanying booklets on monitoring and investigating specific types of human rights violations. A revised version of the series was developed in the past few years, and includes a main handbook, an abridged version of the handbook, and two practical handbooks on specific human rights violations. The revised version reflects, amongst others, the significant developments that have been made in methods and tools for investigating human rights violations over the last 20 years, as well as the emergence of new technologies that have completely changed how we receive, collect and share information.

The revised version of the Ukweli series consists of a main handbook, an abridged version of it and two additional handbooks – Ukweli: Investigating Torture and Ukweli: Investigating Enforced Disappearances- that serve as practical guide for investigation.

The original – thus older – version of the Ukweli publication and accompanying booklets remain available on our website, as most information remains relevant today; however, it is advised to consult Ukweli main book and Ukweli Abridged for up-to-date information and references. The main handbook Ukweli: Monitoring and documenting human rights violations in Africa, was developed in close consultation with a group of experienced human rights monitors in Africa, experts at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International and with CODESRIA in Senegal.

The original series includes seven accompanying booklets on monitoring and investigating specific types of human rights violations: Political Killings; Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, and Prison Conditions; Sexual Violence; Death in Custody; Excessive Use of Force; Human Rights Abuse in the Context of Armed Conflict; and Equipment used in Human Rights Abuses.

Ukweli: Investigating Human Rights Violations

This main book provides detailed guidance to human rights activists and organizations on conducting accurate and high-quality investigations into possible human rights violations. It discusses principles of research, provides guidelines for contact building, monitoring, fact-finding, interviewing, documenting, and suggests strategies for tackling problems and challenges.

This new and revised guide reflects the significant developments that have been made in methods and tools for investigating human rights violations over the last 20 years, as well as the emergence of new technologies that have completely changed how we receive, collect and share information. It is a comprehensive guide, providing practical and cross-cutting advice on conducting human rights investigations. Detailed guidance on conducting investigations clarify the different steps. The handbook provides insight into related considerations such as protecting the well-being of the investigators. It will be available in Arabic, English and French shortly.

Ukweli: Investigating Human Rights Violations (Abridged version)

Note: this handbook will be available shortly. It will be available in EN, FR, AR.

This publication is an abridged version of the Ukweli main book and focuses on its practicality. It can be used in conjunction with other books in this series. It presents a human rights investigation process that follows five steps: planning an investigation, collecting, verifying and analyzing information, and reporting. Investigating human rights violations is crucial in addressing such violations. It allows for credible and verifiable grounds to pursue a variety of actions, such as taking immediate action to provide support to victims, seeking redress and remedies, changing policies and laws, and raising awareness. Ukweli Abridged supports investigators in conducting investigations and reporting on them to various audiences. It will be available in Arabic, English and French shortly.

Ukweli: Investigating Torture

The information in this handbook contains guidance on specific legal, technical and other considerations related to investigating torture and ill treatment. It is designed to be used in conjunction with its main handbook Ukweli: Investigating human rights violations. It will be available in Arabic, English and French shortly.

Ukweli: Investigating Enforced Disappearances

The information in this handbook contains guidance on specific legal, technical and other considerations related to investigating enforced disappearance. It should be used in conjunction with the main handbook of the Ukweli series, Ukweli: Investigating Human Rights Violations. It will be available in Arabic, English and French shortly.

Monitoring and Reporting Human Rights Violations: A Handbook for Community Activists

This short and condensed booklet, A Handbook for Community Activists, is a basic and condensed version of the original Ukweli series brought together. It is practical to use in the field. The booklet is translated into a number of African languages – Hausa, Somali, Kiswahili – as well as Arabic, French and Portuguese.

This handbook was published in 2002, and therefore, certain references, such as to relevant legal documents, may no longer be up to date. We refer you to the newer editions of the Ukweli main book and Ukweli Abridged for updated information.

Accompanying booklets

The booklets, part of the original Ukweli series, are practical guides for monitoring and investigating a specific type of violation, explaining when it is a human rights violation, how to monitor, how to investigate and how to assess information. The topics addressed are:

  • Political Killings
  • Torture, Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, and Prison Conditions
  • Sexual Violence
  • Death in Custody
  • Excessive Use of Force
  • Human Rights Abuse in Armed Conflict
  • Equipment used in Human Rights Abuses