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HRDAG researchers and analysts at Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) estimated conflict mortality due to violence using Capture-Recapture methods.
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 ...
From 2010 to 2012, a series of reports by HRDAG researchers applied new statistical methodologies to investigate deaths and missing people in Colombia. A 2010 report released by HRDAG scientists Tamy Guberek, Daniel Guzmán, Megan Price, Kristian Lum, and Patrick Ball documented patterns of violence in the Colombian state of Casanare. HRDAG researchers used MSE to analyze killings and disappearances recorded in 15 datasets provided by judicial, government, security, forensic and civil society organizations. Matching cases that appeared in more than one dataset, HRDAG statisticians modeled the process by which violations were recorded and estimated the ...
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Using Cemetery Information to Search for the Disappeared Lessons from a Pilot Study in Rionegro, Antioquia, Colombia
Between May and July 2009, researchers from the Benetech Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) conducted a pilot study to examine patterns of information about unidentified bodies at a cemetery in Rionegro, a town located Antioquia, Colombia. The study was carried out to support ongoing efforts by HRDAG's partner organization EQUITAS (Colombian Interdisciplinary Team for Forensic Work and Psychosocial Assistance) to identify bodies of unknown persons in the Rionegro cemetery. EQUITAS has found that cemeteries in ...
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Job Title. Technical lead with a hacker's heart
Location. A cool office in SOMA, San Francisco. You need to be on-site with us.
What we do. The Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) develops statistical techniques to measure human rights atrocities. Our work helps bring dictators to justice through data analysis of human rights atrocities around the world. Over more than 20 years, our small team has developed technology and statistical techniques to take disjoint, incomplete, and inaccurate information from conflict zones and process it to identify ...
We stand with our partners and every organizer fighting for justice.
This morning I got a query from a journalist asking for our data from the report we published yesterday. The journalist was hoping to create an interactive infographic to track the number of deaths in the Syrian conflict over time. Our data would not support an analysis like the one proposed, so I wrote this reply.
We can't send you these data because they would be misleading—seriously misleading—for the purpose you describe. Here's why:
What we have is a list of documented deaths, in essence, a highly non-random sample, though a very big one. We like bigger samples because we think that they must be closer to true. The mathematical justificat...
You are invited to
Illuminating the dark through data science:
Stories from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group
Thursday, 3 June 2021, 12–1pm PDT
A conversation with HRDAG advisory board member Margot Gerritsen, executive director Megan Price, statistician Maria Gargiulo, and field consultant Anita Gohdes.
The Human Rights Data Analysis Group uses data to help the world understand human stories. In this intimate, virtual conversation, executive director Megan Price and other inspiring HRDAG data scientists will share stories about how their data analysis has powered truth commissions and grassroots justice organizations, and held human rights ...
Une Nouvelle Etude Démontre qu’ Hissène Habré supervisait les Prisons de la Police Politique où des Milliers de Personnes Sont Décédées.
10ème Anniversaire de l’Inculpation de l’Ancien Dictateur Tchadien
Janvier 29, 2010, N’Djaména, Tchad, Palo Alto, CA, Etats-Unis – A l’occasion du 10ème anniversaire de la première mise en accusation d’Hissène Habré au Sénégal, le Groupe d'Analyse des Données de Droits Humains de Benetech (GADDH) a réalisé une nouvelle étude qui démontre que l’ancien dictateur tchadien était bien informé des politiques et des pratiques de sa police politique. Cette étude pourrait s’avérer ...
We’ve known for years that Beka Steorts is on the cutting-edge of statistical science, and now The MIT Technology Review has realized the same. Last week she was named one of 35 Innovators Under 35, in the category of humanitarian.
We first became familiar with Beka's work in 2013 when she was a visiting professor at Carnegie Mellon and was introduced to us by Prof. Steve Fienberg. Since then, we’ve felt very fortunate to collaborate with her on projects such as the UN enumeration of casualties in the Syrian conflict, and we look forward to many more years of work with her. She is one of several young stars we include in our superheroine hall ...
I have made it my personal objective to amplify HRDAG's message of being extra careful and scientifically rigorous with human rights data.
Working at the Historic Archive of the National Police (AHPN) of Guatemala, there are many skills I learned on the job. My many years of work on the team that studies the recovered documents have been like a custom-made course in how to do quantitative research.
The Archive documents I study are the result of 36 years of creation during civil war (1960 to 1996). Many of these documents are simply administrative—but we are able to use them to understand patterns that occurred during the conflict, to get a sense of what mattered to the National Police and what didn’t. Our quantitative research shows us the Police behavior in broad strokes. ...
How might we learn what we don’t know? HRDAG associate Christine Grillo hits the wayback machine and recalls her first exposure to People Against Bad Things, ideas about bias and correlation versus causation, and truth.
How we work with partners is how we relate to the whole human rights community. We work with human rights advocates and defenders to support their goals by complementing their substantive expertise with our technical expertise. To date, partners have included truth commissions, international criminal tribunals, United Nations missions, and non-governmental human rights organizations on five continents.
Here are a few stories that illustrate how we work with our partners:
HRDAG partner stories:
Quantifying Police Misconduct in Louisiana (2023)
Scraping for Pattern: Protecting Immigrant Rights in Washington State (2022)
Police Violence ...
Excerpt from the article: The estimate is based on reports from four organizations investigating deaths in Syria from March 15, 2011, to December, 31, 2015. From those cases, the Human Rights Data Analysis Group identified 12,270 cases with sufficient information to confirm the person was killed in detention. Using a statistical method to estimate how many victims they do not yet know about, the group came up with 17,723 cases.
Donating to HRDAG
Thank you for your interest in making a donation to the Human Rights Data Analysis Group to help us use science to support our partners in the human rights world.
You can make a donation by credit card on the Community Partners® Network for Good page. HRDAG is a "project of Community Partners," and right below the section on payment information, you'll be able to select "Human Rights Data Analysis Group" from a drop-down menu. (On most browsers, if you use this link, HRDAG will be pre-selected on the drop-down menu.)
This transaction will appear on your credit card statement as "Network for Good."
If you donate by check, ...
Ten data nerds gathered in a large hilltop beach house to analyze counts of killings from several war-torn countries. The time was January 16-20, 2014, the place was near San Francisco, the agenda was packed, and I was excited to be there.
Having defended my dissertation at Carnegie Mellon University just days before, I had often supposed that my thesis on a generalization of
log-linear models for capture-recapture might serve little other purpose than to fill a line on my curriculum vitae. This perception faded after a mid-2013 discussion with Patrick convinced me that HRDAG's data challenges could easily be the best match to my research ...
For more than 10 years, and with regularity, Mexican authorities have been discovering mass graves, known as fosas clandestinas, in which hundreds of bodies and piles of bones have been found. The casualties are attributed broadly to the country’s “drug war,” although the motivations and perpetrators behind the mass murders are often unknown.
Recently, HRDAG collaborated with two partners in Mexico—Data Cívica and Programa de Derechos Humanos of the Universidad Iberoamericana—to model the probability of identifying a hidden grave in each county (municipio). The model uses an set of independent variables and data about graves from 2013 ...
I will use the skills and culture I learned from HRDAG’s team to understand how the conflict has affected the people in my country.
For years I have been engaged in a quantitative study at Guatemala’s Historic Archive of the National Police, or AHPN. (See the blogposts below.) In this study coders collect data on sheets of paper according to criteria established and explained in manuals. But when collecting data, there’s always room for human error—this is why the validity of the study hinges on verifying that coders use the correct criteria.
It is important to mention that the mainstay of coding is the use of a controlled vocabulary. A controlled vocabulary gives analysts a framework, or frame of reference, when converting qualitative information into categories ...