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HRDAG and the Digital Commons

One of the three main goals of HRDAG is education and outreach, and to that end we use Creative Commons licenses for all of our blogposts and, whenever possible, for our publications. Using a Creative Commons license makes it clear that educators are free to use HRDAG's publications, in their entirety, and with the peace of mind that they are doing so with our blessing. Also, the use of the Creative Commons license allows us to participate in and encourage the creation of a digital commons, which we feel helps to advance another one of our goals, the creation of knowledge. We feel that it’s important to offer up our publications for use and reuse ...

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 ...

Updated Casualty Count for Syria

Today the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released an HRDAG-prepared report that describes and tallies documented killings in the Syrian Arab Republic from the beginning of the conflict in March 2011 through April 2014. (The report is here.) This is our third report for the UN on the Syrian conflict, and it is an update of work we published in January 2013 and June 2013. The report, Updated Statistical Analysis of Documentation of Killings in the Syrian Arab Republic, concludes that approximately 191,000 identifiable victims have been reported in the period covered (March 2011 – April 2014). (more…)

R programming language demands the right use case

Megan Price, director of research, is quoted in this story about the R programming language. "Serious data analysis is not something you're going to do using a mouse and drop-down boxes," said HRDAG's director of research Megan Price. "It's the kind of thing you're going to do getting close to the data, getting close to the code and writing some of it yourself." TechTarget blog Ed Burns March 19, 2014 Link to story in TechTarget Back to Press Room

Rionegro

Texto en Español 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 ...

Reality and Risk in Our Mortality Study of the Peruvian TRC

HRDAG researchers and analysts at Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) estimated conflict mortality due to violence using Capture-Recapture methods.

HRDAG is hiring – technical lead

If this could be you, let us know. Also, please feel free to pass on this link to great people. 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 ...

In Solidarity

We stand with our partners and every organizer fighting for justice.

Colombia Report

Benetech Human Rights Program and Corporación Punto de Vista Issues Report on Sexual Violence in Colombia Researchers Find that Data About Sexual Violence is Difficult To Collect and Subject to Misinterpretation May 2, 2011, Palo Alto, CA — The Benetech Human Rights Program has issued a report with the Colombian NGO Corporación Punto de Vista which examines how quantitative data can be used to assess conflict related sexual violence in Colombia. Written by Francoise Roth, Tamy Guberek and Amelia Hoover Green, Using Quantitative Data to Assess Conflict-Related Sexual Violence in Colombia: Challenges and Opportunities notes that sexual violations ...

Why raw data doesn't support analysis of violence

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...

Insights Sessions

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 ...

Communiqué de presse, Tchad, January 2010

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 ...

Beka Steorts Named MIT Under-35 Innovator

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 ...

Reflections: Minding the Gap

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.

Reflections: Challenging Tasks and Meticulous Defenders

I have made it my personal objective to amplify HRDAG's message of being extra careful and scientifically rigorous with human rights data.

Learning Day by Day: Quantitative Research at the AHPN

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. ...

Partners

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 ...

Get Involved/Donate

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, ...

Inside Syria’s prisons, where an estimated 17,723 have died since 2011

100x100-cnnExcerpt 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.


HRDAG Retreat 2014

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 ...

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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