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Remembering Scott Weikart

HRDAG’s core values all have a connection to Scott Weikart, 1951–2023.

Making Missing Data Visible in Colombia

Valentina Rozo Ángel has worked with HRDAG and the Colombian Truth Commission to acknowledge victims of the 50-year conflict who are not visible or easily counted.

Welcoming Our New Statistician

Maria Gargiulo has joined HRDAG as a Statistician.

A Data Double Take: Police Shootings

“In a recent article, social scientist Patrick Ball revisited his and Kristian Lum’s 2015 study, which made a compelling argument for the underreporting of lethal police shootings by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Lum and Ball’s study may be old, but it bears revisiting amid debates over the American police system — debates that have featured plenty of data on the excessive use of police force. It is a useful reminder that many of the facts and figures we rely on require further verification.”

DATNAV: New Guide to Navigate and Integrate Digital Data in Human Rights Research

DatNav is the result of a collaboration between Amnesty International, Benetech, and The Engine Room, which began in late 2015 culminating in an intense four-day writing sprint facilitated by Chris Michael and Collaborations for Change in May 2016. HRDAG consultant Jule Krüger is a contributor, and HRDAG director of research Patrick Ball is a reviewer.

DatNav is the result of a collaboration between Amnesty International, Benetech, and The Engine Room, which began in late 2015 culminating in an intense four-day writing sprint facilitated by Chris Michael and Collaborations for Change in May 2016. HRDAG consultant Jule Krüger is a contributor, and HRDAG director of research Patrick Ball is a reviewer.

What we’ll need to find the true COVID-19 death toll

From the article: “Intentionally inconsistent tracking can also influence the final tally, notes Megan Price, a statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group. During the Iraq War, for example, officials worked to conceal mortality or to cherry pick existing data to steer the political narrative. While wars are handled differently from pandemics, Price thinks the COVID-19 data could still be at risk of this kind of manipulation.”

Connect with HRDAG

If you’d like to stay informed about HRDAG events, blogposts, and news, connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or through our RSS feed. We also have a LinkedIn page. You may contact us directly via email at info @ hrdag.org. A note for persons in search of assistance with specific human rights cases: We are very sorry for your troubles and your suffering; however, HRDAG does not take on casework. If you need help with a human rights case, you might consider requesting it from the International Committee of the Red Cross (www.icrc.org). Photo: U.S. National Archives

The Untold Dead of Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines Drug War

From the article: “Based on Ball’s calculations, using our data, nearly 3,000 people could have been killed in the three areas we analyzed in the first 18 months of the drug war. That is more than three times the official police count.”

500 Tamils disappeared in Army custody — New Study

The Sri Lankan army must explain to the families of the disappeared and missing what happened to an estimated 500 Tamils who disappeared in their custody at the war end on/around 18 May 2009, said two international NGOs who have been collating and analysing lists of names.

Sri Lanka has one of the largest numbers in the world of enforced disappearances but these 500 represent the largest number of disappearances all in one place and time in the country. For a detailed account of the process of estimating the 500 please see: “How many people disappeared on 17-19 May 2009 in Sri Lanka?” .

The Forensic Humanitarian

International human rights work attracts activists and lawyers, diplomats and retired politicians. One of the most admired figures in the field, however, is a ponytailed statistics guru from Silicon Valley named Patrick Ball, who has spent nearly two decades fashioning a career for himself at the intersection of mathematics and murder. You could call him a forensic humanitarian.

Download: Megan Price

nyt_square_logoExecutive director Megan Price is interviewed in The New York Times’ Sunday Review, as part of a series known as “Download,” which features a biosketch of “Influencers and their interests.”

HRDAG Analysis Supports Efforts to Hold Salvadoran Commanders Accountable for 1989 Jesuit Massacre

Almost a quarter century ago, on November 16, 1989, six Jesuit scholars, their housekeeper and her 15-year-old daughter were massacred inside the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador, El Salvador. Their chief target was the rector of the country’s leading university. The murders were carried out by members of the elite Atlacatl Battalion, acting on the direct orders of the highest-ranking members of the Salvadoran military. The United Nations–sponsored Truth Commission for El Salvador found that members of the Salvadoran military's high command “gave...the order to kill Father Ignacio Ellacuría and to leave no witnesses.” ...

HRDAG Drops Dropbox

On Wednesday, April 9, the file hosting service Dropbox announced the addition of Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. National Security Advisor and Secretary of State, to their Board of Directors, citing the need for “a leader who could help us expand our global footprint.” In response to this announcement, HRDAG requested (and rapidly received) a refund for our recent purchase of Dropbox for Business, and will drop the use of their service entirely. Patrick Ball, HRDAG’s Executive Director stated: “As a human rights organization, we find Condoleezza Rice's complicity in the serious human rights abuses of the Bush administration very worrying. ...

Press Release, Chad, January 2010

NEW STUDY DOCUMENTS HISSÈNE HABRÉ’S OVERSIGHT OF POLICE PRISONS WHERE THOUSANDS DIED 10th Anniversary of Indictment of Chad Ex-Dictator January 29, 2010, N’Djamena, Chad and Palo Alto, CA, U.S. - On the 10th anniversary of the first indictment of Hissène Habré in Senegal, the Benetech Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) released a new study showing that the former Chadian dictator was well informed of the hundreds of deaths that occurred in prisons operated by his political police. This information could be critical in the long delayed prosecution of Habré who has been accused of killing and systematically torturing thousands of politi...

HRDAG and #GivingTuesday 2017

Help us hold human rights violators accountable!


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 ...

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 ...

Celebrating our First Anniversary and Welcoming Our Newest Board Member

One year ago, HRDAG cast out on its own as an independent nonprofit—and this first year has been busy, productive, and exciting. We’re indebted to our Advisory Board for their valuable contributions and to our funders for their generosity and participation in our mission. Highlights of the past year include contributing testimony to three court cases, publishing two reports on conflict-casualties in Syria, presenting over a dozen talks (many of which are available on our talks page), traveling to over half a dozen countries to testify, collaborate with partners, and participate in conferences/workshops, hiring a new technical lead, and bringing in ...

HRDAG Wins the Rafto Prize

The Rafto Foundation, an international human rights organization, has bestowed the 2021 Rafto Prize to HRDAG for its distinguished work defending human rights and democracy.

Always Learning

The data science field is always changing, which means that I'll always be learning.

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.