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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.

La estadística de mortalidad del conflicto en Perú

En ese artículo respondemos a una crítica del estudio de mortalidad que realizamos para la Comisión de la Verdad y Reconciliación en 2003.

Training with HRDAG: Rules for Organizing Data and More

I had the pleasure of working with Patrick Ball at the HRDAG office in San Francisco for a week during summer 2016. I knew Patrick from two workshops he previously hosted at the University of Washington’s Centre for Human Rights (UWCHR). The workshops were indispensable to us at UWCHR as we worked to publish a number of datasets on human rights violations during the El Salvador Civil War.  The training was all the more helpful because the HRDAG team was so familiar with the data. As part of an impressive career which took him from Ethiopia and Kosovo to Haiti and El Salvador among others, Patrick himself had worked on gathering and analysing ...

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Perú, Final Report – General Conclusions.


Perú

In 2001, President Alejandro Toledo, called for the establishment of the Comision de la Verdad y Reconciliacion (CVR) (Truth and Reconciliation Commission) to investigate human rights abuses in Perú between 1980 and 2000. Dr. Patrick Ball was invited to work with the Commission to evaluate the CVR technical work and make recommendations on the information management process and analytic strategies. HRDAG consultant Jana Asher worked with Dr. Ball and CVR staff members David Sulmont (Director Informations Systems) and Daniel Manrique (Database Expert) to present evidence of the violations in a report to the CVR. The work included new estimates of ...

Multiple Systems Estimation: The Matching Process

<<Previous post: Collection, Cleaning, and Canonicalization of Data Q8. What do you mean by "overlap," and why are overlaps important? Q9. [In depth] Why is automated matching so important, and what process do you use to match records?  Q8. What do you mean by "overlap," and why are overlaps important? MSE estimates the total number of violations by comparing the size of the overlap(s) between lists of human rights violations to the sizes of the lists themselves. By "overlap," we mean the set of incidents, such as deaths, that appear on more than one list of human rights violations. Accurately and efficiently identifying overlaps between ...

String matching for governorate information in unstructured text

code{white-space: pre;} pre:not([class]) { background-color: white; } h1 { font-size: 34px; } h1.title { font-size: 38px; } h2 { font-size: 30px; } h3 { font-size: 24px; } h4 { font-size: 18px; } h5 { font-size: 16px; } h6 { font-size: 12px; } .table th:not([align]) { text-align: left; } .main-container { max-width: 940px; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; } code { color: inherit; background-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.04); } img { max-width:100%; height: auto; } .tabbed-pane { padding-top: 12px; } .html-widget { margin-bottom: 20px; } button.code-foldin...

Yezidi Activists Teach HRDAG about Human Rights – updated

UPDATE (21 Dec 2014): Juan Cole is reporting that the Kurdish militia (the peshmerga) have retaken Shingal (also known as Sinjar) mountain where many Yezidi people have been trapped since 3 August 2014. They are now moving to liberate other Yezidi towns south of the mountain. The Yezidi people trapped on the mountain are now free. There is no word yet on the thousands of Yezidi people enslaved by ISIS. ORIGINAL (19 Nov 2014): Farhad (not his real name) got the call from ISIS on his personal cell phone just after lunch: we have your sister, and we will give her back if you pay us $6000, plus $1500 for the driver. Carrying little more than his ...

CIIDH Data – Value Labels

Version date: 2000.01.29 Current version: ATV20.1 Patrick Ball & Herbert F. Spirer v_ind -------------+----------- Victim | Ethnic | category | | Freq. -------------+----------- 1 Indigenous | 2,722 2 Ladino | 1,014 3 Unknown | 13,687 | Total | 17,423 -------------+----------- v_sex ----------+----------- Victim | Sex | Freq. ----------+----------- 4 F | 2,001 5 M | 11,445 6 d | 3,977 | Total | 17,423 ----------+----------- v_eth -------------+----------- Victim | Maternal | language ...

HRDAG Testifies in Hissène Habré Trial

Last week HRDAG’s executive director, Patrick Ball, served as an expert witness for the prosecution in the trial of Hissène Habré, the ruler of Chad from 1982 to 1990. The trial is taking place in Dakar, Senegal, where the 73-year-old Habré has been living since 1990 when he fled Chad. He has already been sentenced to death in absentia in Chad. Habré 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 Habré. This is the first time that one country has ...

Preguntas frecuentes sobre el proyecto JEP-CEV-HRDAG de integración de datos y estimación estadística

¿Hay una fuente de información única sobre las víctimas del conflicto armado en Colombia? No. Colombia cuenta con un amplio proceso de documentación de víctimas del conflicto armado. Cientos de entidades, organizaciones de víctimas y organizaciones de la sociedad civil han focalizado sus esfuerzos en registrar la información. Sin embargo, cada entidad u organización desarrolla este proceso con las limitaciones propias de capacidades técnicas, logísticas, sociales y de misionalidad, lo que conduce a que ninguna entidad ni organización logre documentar el universo completo de víctimas.  Esto se debe a que les es imposible llegar a ...

Las cifras de la CVR en el 2019

Las estimaciones se estratificaron por ubicación y perpetrador.

In Solidarity

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

Timor-Leste FAQs

How do you know that there are more conflict-related deaths than have been reported to the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR, by its Portuguese acronym)? Where did the method of multiple systems estimation come from? If you didn't have access to the whole population, how do you know how representative these data are of the entire population? i.e. How do you control for bias? What are the total conflict-related mortality numbers? How many people were killed and disappeared between 1974 and 1999? And how many people died due to hunger and illness? What is the margin of error associated with these results? What is ...

Multiple Systems Estimation: Stratification and Estimation

<< Previous post, MSE: The Matching Process Q10. What is stratification? Q11. [In depth] How do HRDAG analysts approach stratification, and why is it important? Q12. How does MSE find the total number of violations? Q13. [In depth] What are the assumptions of two-system MSE (capture-recapture)? Why are they not necessary with three or more systems? Q14. What statistical model(s) does HRDAG typically use to calculate MSE estimates? (more…)

Herb Spirer, 1925 – 2018

Herb led and mentored a generation of statisticians working in human rights.

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...

Stephen Fienberg 1942-2016

We are saddened by the passing of Steve Fienberg yesterday in Pittsburgh, at the age of 74. He is perhaps best known around the world for bringing statistics to science and public policy and was a beloved professor at Carnegie Mellon University. At HRDAG we are in awe of and grateful for the work Steve did formalizing multiple systems estimation. His work on that front blazed a trail and essentially enabled all of our most important analytical work at the intersection of human rights and statistical science. If we are to reduce the amount of human violence in the world, the first task is to determine the scope of the violence, to know how much of ...

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 ...

Reflections: A Simple Plan

I got an email from my superheroic PhD adviser in June 2006: Would I be interested in relocating to Palo Alto for six months in order to work with Patrick Ball at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group? (She'd gotten a grant and would cover my stipend.) Since I'd spent the last several months in New Haven wrestling ineffectually with giant, brain-melting methodological problems, I said yes immediately. The plan with my adviser was simple: I'd digitize the ancient, multiply-photocopied pages of data from the United Nations Truth Commission for El Salvador, combine them with two other datasets, match across all the records, and produce reliable ...

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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