Volume 50, Issue 1 (January 2005)
The Scope of Anthropological Contributions to Human Rights Investigations
This paper examines the participation of anthropologists in international human rights investigations between 1990 and 1999 by surveying four of the most active organizations, including the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation, Physicians for Human Rights and the U.N.-sponsored International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. The education level, sex, nationality and primary role of the anthropological members of each team are quantified, as are the types of projects in which they contributed. The results show that 134 anthropologists from 22 nations investigated nearly 1300 sites in 33 countries during the study period. While involvement is not limited to those with advanced degrees and few obstacles are placed before anthropologists who wish to participate, full-time service within these organizations is rare and those interested in a career in forensic anthropology and human rights should understand the employment limitations.