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Megan Price Elected Board Member of Tor Project

Today The Tor Project announced that it has elected a new Board of Directors, and among them is HRDAG executive director Megan Price. The Tor Project is a nonprofit advocacy group that promotes online privacy and provides software that helps users opt out of online tracking. Megan and Patrick have long maintained that encryption and privacy are essential for enabling human rights work. Patrick's ideas are described in Monday's FedScoop story about encryption, human rights, and the U.S. State Department. “Human rights groups depend on strong cryptography in order to hold governments accountable," says Patrick. "HRDAG depends on local human ...

Liberia 2009 – Coding Testimony to Determine Accountability for War Crimes

In July 2009, HRDAG concluded a three-year project with the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to help clarify Liberia’s violent history and hold perpetrators accountable. A military coup in 1979 sparked 24 years of civil war in Liberia where warring factions subjected civilians to severe human rights abuses. The TRC sought to determine whether these violations represented a systematic pattern or policy. This chapter describes how HRDAG developed a statistical analysis of the more than 17,000 victim and witness statements collected by the TRC and applied Ball’s “Who Did What To Whom?” methodology. HRDAG scientist Kristen ...

Ten Years and Counting in Guatemala

We have accomplished so much in the last 10 years at the Historical Archive of the National Police. And yet, despite the efforts, dedication, and commitment of each person who since 2006 has worked in the AHPN, we still can not say “mission accomplished.” In 10 years the environment at the Archive has changed so much and become so full of life. Where the building once sheltered unknown stories, over time some of those stories have been revealed. But Guatemala has a long way to go in letting the world get to know more deeply about the secrets within the documents stored there. Guatemalans and the rest of the world have a very important ...

Patrick Ball Honored as New ASA Fellow

We’re very happy to announce that our executive director, Patrick Ball, has been elected as a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA), as announced by ASA President Nathaniel Schenker. Patrick is one of 63 new ASA Fellows to be honored this year in a ceremony at the Joint Statistical Meetings, which will take place this August 5 in Boston, Massachusetts. (more…)

Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission Data

In July 2009, The Human Rights Data Analysis Group concluded a three-year project with the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission to help clarify Liberia’s violent history and hold perpetrators of human rights abuses accountable for their actions. In the course of this work, HRDAG analyzed more than 17,000 victim and witness statements collected by the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission and compiled the data into a report entitled “Descriptive Statistics From Statements to the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission.” Liberian TRC data and the accompanying data dictionary anonymized-statgivers.csv contains information ...

Social Science Scholars Award for HRDAG Book

In March 2013, I entered a contest called the California Series in Public Anthropology International Competition, which solicits book proposals from social science scholars who write about how social scientists create meaningful change. The winners of the Series are awarded a publishing contract with the University of California Press for a book targeted to undergraduates. With the encouragement of my HRDAG colleagues Patrick Ball and Megan Price, I proposed a book about the work of HRDAG researchers entitled, Everybody Counts: How Scientists Document the Unknown Victims of Political Violence. Earlier this month, I was contacted by the Series judges ...

Scraping for Pattern: Protecting Immigrant Rights in Washington State

With HRDAG's help, the University of Washington Center for Human Rights team has been able to analyze the scraped text and search for key words such as “jail” in order to gain insight into where immigration arrests are being made.

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 ...

12 Questions about Using Data Analysis to Bring Guatemalan War Criminals to Justice

When people talk about war criminals in Guatemala, which war are they talking about? They’re talking about the Guatemalan civil war, which began in 1960 and ended in 1996. That’s thirty-six years of civil war. Even though it ended almost two decades ago, Guatemala is still recovering from it. At its simplest, this civil war story was right-wing government forces fighting leftist rebels. But it went deeper than that, of course. The majority of the rebel forces was composed of indigenous peoples, primarily the Maya, (more…)

Civil War in Syria: The Internet as a Weapon of War

Suddeutsche Zeitung writer Hakan Tanriverdi interviews HRDAG affiliate Anita Gohdes and writes about her work on the Syrian casualty enumeration project for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. This article, "BĂŒrgerkrieg in Syrien: Das Internet als Kriegswaffe," is in German. Suddeutsche Zeitung Hakan Tanriverdi January 4, 2015 Link to story on SZ Related blogpost (Updated Casualty Count for Syria) Back to Press Room

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…)

HRDAG Testifies in HissÚne Habré Trial

Last week HRDAG’s executive director, Patrick Ball, served as an expert witness for the prosecution in the trial of HissĂšne HabrĂ©, the ruler of Chad from 1982 to 1990. The trial is taking place in Dakar, Senegal, where the 73-year-old HabrĂ© has been living since 1990 when he fled Chad. He has already been sentenced to death in absentia in Chad. HabrĂ© is being charged with war crimes, crimes against humanity, and torture that took place during his eight-year reign. The trial is happening at the Extraordinary African Chambers, which was inaugurated by Senegal and the African Union to try HabrĂ©. This is the first time that one country has ...

Violent Deaths and Enforced Disappearances During the Counterinsurgency in Punjab, India: A Preliminary Quantitative Analysis

Romesh Silva, Jasmine Marwaha and Jeff Klingner. “Violent Deaths and Enforced Disappearances During the Counterinsurgency in Punjab, India: A Preliminary Quantitative Analysis,” A Joint Report by Benetech’s Human Rights Data Analysis Group & Ensaaf, Inc. January, 2009.

Statistics and Slobodan

Patrick Ball and Jana Asher (2002). “Statistics and Slobodan: Using Data Analysis and Statistics in the War Crimes Trial of Former President Milosevic.” Chance, vol. 15, No. 4, 2002. Reprinted with permission ofChance. © 2002 American Statistical Association. All rights reserved.

Data on Kosovo – Other

The other data is in three files. All of the files are comma-delimited UTF-8 (like ASCII but including the characters to render Serbian names). The fields in each file are described below. If you use these data, please cite them with the following citation, as well as this note: “These are convenience sample data, and as such they are not a statistically representative sample of events in this conflict.  These data do not support conclusions about patterns, trends, or other substantive comparisons (such as over time, space, ethnicity, age, etc.).” Human Rights Data Analysis Group. (2002). Database of NATO airstrikes, geographic coding, and KLA ...

Preliminary Statistical Analysis of AVCRP & DDS Documents – A report to Human Rights Watch about Chad under the government of HissĂšne HabrĂ©

Guatemala CIIDH Data

Welcome to the web data resource for the International Center for Human Rights Research (Centro Internacional para Investigaciones en Derechos Humanos, or CIIDH). Here you will find raw data on human rights violations in Guatemala during the period 1960-1996. You're welcome to use it for your own statistical analyses. ASCII delimited (csv) Resource Information Data Dictionary Value Labels File Structure (Variables) These files are between 300-700 kilobytes. The data are stored in a zipped compression format. For an explanation of how the data are structured and what the variables represent, see the data dictionary. If you use ...

Deportation Possible for El Salvador’s Gen. García – Supported by HRDAG Analysis

Gen. JosĂ© Guillermo GarcĂ­a, El Salvador’s defense minister from 1979 to 1983, may be deported from Florida to El Salvador because of his involvement in war crimes that occurred under his command. The recommendation comes from a Miami immigration judge, whose decision was supported with expert testimony from Stanford political science professor Terry Karl, who presented extensive statistical analysis of killings, disappearances, kidnappings, torture and other crimes under Gen. GarcĂ­a’s watch. The statistical analysis was a joint effort between Professor Karl and Amelia Hoover Green and Patrick Ball of Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG). ...


As of today, the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) is an independent* non-profit! It's been a long time coming, and we're delighted to have gotten to this point. HRDAG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that applies rigorous science to the analysis of human rights violations around the world; for more information, see our About Us page. Benetech has spun out the scientific and statistical part of the Human Rights Program to HRDAG. The spinout includes (as staff) me -- Patrick Ball -- and Dr Megan Price, as well as our many part-time scientific and field consultants (a list is here). The software and technology component of our work -- ...

Death March

A mapped representation of the scale and spread of killings in Syria. HRDAG's director of research, Megan Price, is quoted. FOREIGN POLICY | MAP ROOM Jacopo Ottaviani January 15, 2014 Link to story in Foreign Policy Back to Press Room

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.