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Police Accountability in Chicago: from Data Dump to Usable Data

HRDAG is helping the Invisible Institute turn their windfall of raw data about police misconduct into data that can be analyzed.

When It Comes to Human Rights, There Are No Online Security Shortcuts

Patrick Ball. When It Comes to Human Rights, There Are No Online Security Shortcuts, Wired op-ed, August 10, 2012. Wired.com © 2013 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.


About Us

Who We Are The Human Rights Data Analysis Group is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that applies rigorous science to the analysis of human rights violations around the world. We are a team with expertise in mathematical statistics, computer science, demography, and social science. We are non-partisan—we do not take sides in political or military conflicts, nor do we advocate any particular political party or government policy. However, we are not neutral: we are always in favor of human rights. We support the protections established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and ...

Descriptive Statistics From Statements to the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Kristen Cibelli, Amelia Hoover, and Jule Krüger (2009). “Descriptive Statistics From Statements to the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” a Report by the Human Rights Data Analysis Group at Benetech and Annex to the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia. Palo Alto, California. Benetech.


Sierra Leone

Following a brutal 11-year civil war, the Parliament of Sierra Leone called for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to create "an impartial, historical record of the conflict", and "address impunity; respond to the needs of victims; promote healing and reconciliation; and prevent a repetition of the violations and abuses suffered." The full text of the TRC report is available on the Sierra Leone Web. HRDAG assisted the TRC to build a systematic data coding system, electronic database, and secure data analysis process to manage the thousands of statements given to them in the course of their work. Dr. Ball visited Freetown twice, and HRDAG ...

Data Archaeology for Human Rights in Central America: HRDAG Collaborates with UWCHR

Patrick Ball is kicking himself for a decision he made almost 25 years ago. “I was clever, but I wasn’t smart,” he says ruefully, as he considers the labyrinth of tables and ASCII-encoded keystrings he used to design a database of human rights violations for the pioneering Salvadoran non-governmental Human Rights Commission (CDHES). Now I’m sitting in his office in San Francisco’s Mission District watching over his shoulder, and trying to keep up, as he bangs out code to decipher the priceless data contained in these old files. Created in 1991 and 1992, during the last days of El Salvador’s internal armed conflict, the files detail ...

Analizando los patrones de violencia en Colombia con más de 100 bases de datos

El objetivo de esta institución temporal es conocer la verdad de lo ocurrido en el  marco del conflicto armado.

Patrick Ball Honored with Degree at Claremont Graduate University

We’re happy to announce that our executive director, Patrick Ball, has been presented an honorary degree from Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. University President Deborah Freund presented the degree to Patrick at the university’s 88th annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, 2015. The degree conferred was Doctor of Science honoris causa. “We at CGU are thrilled that Patrick Ball accepted our Honorary Degree invitation and joined us for commencement,” said Thomas Horan, CGU Professor and Director, Center for Information Systems and Technology. “Patrick’s work stands as a model for conducting first-r...

A Comparison of Marginal and Conditional Models for Capture–Recapture Data with Application to Human Rights Violations Data

Shira Mitchell, Al Ozonoff, Alan Zaslavsky, Bethany Hedt-Gauthier, Kristian Lum and Brent Coull (2013). A Comparison of Marginal and Conditional Models for Capture-Recapture Data with Application to Human Rights Violations Data. Biometrics, Volume 69, Issue 4, pages 1022–1032, December 2013. © 2013, The International Biometric Society. DOI: 10.1111/biom.12089.

Shira Mitchell, Al Ozonoff, Alan Zaslavsky, Bethany Hedt-Gauthier, Kristian Lum and Brent Coull (2013). A Comparison of Marginal and Conditional Models for Capture-Recapture Data with Application to Human Rights Violations Data. Biometrics, Volume 69Issue 4pages 1022–1032December 2013. © 2013, The International Biometric Society. DOI: 10.1111/biom.12089.


Reality and risk: A refutation of S. Rendón’s analysis of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s conflict mortality study

Daniel Manrique-Vallier and Patrick Ball (2019). Reality and risk: A refutation of S. Rendón’s analysis of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s conflict mortality study. Research & Politics, 22 March 2019. © Sage Journals. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053168019835628

Daniel Manrique-Vallier and Patrick Ball (2019). Reality and risk: A refutation of S. Rendón’s analysis of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s conflict mortality study. Research & Politics, 22 March 2019. © Sage Journals. https://doi.org/10.1177/2053168019835628


Round-up

Benetech's Human Rights Data Analysis Group Publishes 2010 Analysis of Human Rights Violations in Five Countries Analysis of Uncovered Government Data from Guatemala and Chad Clarifies History and Supports Criminal Prosecutions By Ann Harrison The past year of research by the Benetech Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) has supported criminal prosecutions and uncovered the truth about political violence in Guatemala, Iran, Colombia, Chad and Liberia. On today's celebration of the 62nd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, HRDAG invites the international community to engage scientifically defensible methodologies that ...

MEDIA MISREPRESENTATIONS OF THE CAVR REPORT

Press release from the Technical Secretariat of the Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation (CAVR) MEDIA MISREPRESENTATIONS OF THE CAVR REPORT Although not yet officially released, the 2500 page CAVR Report 'Chega!' has been the subject of several prominent reports in the media based on leaked versions of the Executive Summary and particularly its section on Recommendations. Stories on the Report have been carried by AFP, AP, the Japan Times, the Singapore Straits Times, Sydney Morning Herald, Lusa,Timor-Leste press and Bali Times - to name some. Regrettably some of these stories contained serious misrepresentations of the Report which ...

Reflections on Data Science for Real-World Problems

Trina Reynolds-Tyler's internship at HRDAG helped her use data science to find patterns in state-sanctioned violence.

Our People

The Human Rights Data Analysis Group is composed of a diverse group of board members, full-time staff, and consultants. Employing a multidisciplinary approach, we work with experts in the fields of computer science, software development, mathematical and applied statistics, and demography. Advisory Board As a nonprofit organization, our Advisory Board serves as our governing body. This board helps us to make decisions, keeps us on track with our mission and goals, and oversees the organization in legal and logistical matters. David Banks, Professor, Statistical Science, Duke University Kim Keller, Executive Director, The Keller Foundation Dinah ...

RustConf 2019, and systems programming as a data scientist

It could make sense to use Rust as a data journalist for in-browser computations, and other thoughts from RustConf.

Frequently Asked Questions

Multiple Systems Estimation What is MSE?  What do you mean by statistical inference?  What is an overlap, and how do we know when lists overlap?   How does MSE find the total number of violations?  How was MSE originally developed?  How does the Benetech Human Rights Program use MSE?    1. What is MSE? A: Multiple Systems Estimation, or MSE, is a family of techniques for statistical inference. MSE uses the overlaps between several incomplete lists of human rights violations to determine the total number of violations. Return to Top 2. What do you mean by statistical inference? A: ...

How we make sure that nobody is counted twice: A peek into HRDAG's record de-duplication

HRDAG is currently evaluating the quality and completeness of the Kosovo Memory Book of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) in Belgrade, Serbia. The objective of the Kosovo Memory Book (KMB) is to commemorate every single person who fell victim to armed conflict in Kosovo from 1998 to 2000, either through death or disappearance. While building and reviewing their database, one of the things that HLC has to do is “record linkage,” a process also known as “matching.” Matching determines whether two records are the same people (“a match”) or different people (“a non-match”). Matching helps to identify whether two existing records refer ...

Press Release, Timor-Leste, February 2006

SILICON VALLEY GROUP USES TECHNOLOGY TO HELP THE TRUTH COMMISSION ANSWER DISPUTED QUESTIONS ABOUT MASSIVE POLITICAL VIOLENCE IN TIMOR-LESTE Palo Alto, CA, February 9, 2006 – The Benetech® Initiative today released a statistical report detailing widespread and systematic violations in Timor-Leste during the period 1974-1999. Benetech's statistical analysis establishes that at least 102,800 (+/- 11,000) Timorese died as a result of the conflict. Approximately 18,600 (+/- 1000) Timorese were killed or disappeared, while the remainder died due to hunger and illness in excess of what would be expected due to peacetime mortality. The magnitude of deaths ...

Funding

HRDAG’s funding comes from private, international donors:  the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations, an anonymous U.S.-based private foundation, Ford Foundation, The National Endowment for Democracy and individual donors. This funding supports both specific projects, as well as our scientific work generally in human rights data analysis. For the entirety of its existence, HRDAG has been a project of non-profit organizations, first at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and then at Benetech, a non-profit Silicon Valley technology company. In February 2013, HRDAG became ...

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

As an organization that uses science to advocate for human rights, the goals and issues represented by Ada Lovelace Day are very near and dear to our hearts.  Additionally, we are lucky to work with and be advised by some pretty kick-ass ladies in STEM (see our People page to learn more about these amazing women (and men)). I brainstormed a list of women I could write about, as Finding Ada suggests we celebrate today by blogging about a STEM heroine.  I considered Anita Borg (she has her own institute!), who advocated tirelessly for women in computer science.  I thought about Sally Wyatt, keynote speaker and organizer of the fascinating workshop...

Our work has been used by truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, and non-governmental human rights organizations. We have worked with partners on projects on five continents.

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