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Data on Kosovo Migration

[popup citation="For migrations: Ball, Patrick. (2000). AAAS/ Human Rights Data Analysis Group database of migrations in Albania and Kosovo. For killings: Patrick Ball, Wendy Betts, Fritz Scheuren, Jana Dudukovich, and Jana Asher. (2002). AAAS/ABA-CEELI/Human Rights Data Analysis Group database of killings in Kosovo. For other data: Human Rights Data Analysis Group. (2002). Database of NATO airstrikes, geographic coding, and KLA activity in Kosovo."] The data on migration from Kosovo are in seven files. All of the files are comma-delimited ASCII. The fields in each file are described below. For more information, see Policy or Panic, section A1, pp. ...

Liberian TRC Data and Data Dictionary

The files linked on this page contain the data used in the calculations presented in Benetech's report to the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission entitled "Descriptive Statistics From Statements to the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission." In accordance with Benetech's Memorandum of Understanding with the TRC, these data are published on the Internet so that others can use the material to replicate our findings and continue research on past human rights violations in Liberia. In order to protect the privacy of the people who suffered, the information in the files below contains no personal identifying information about the victims or ...

Strong Crypto Safeguards Human Rights Data

Strong cryptography can safeguard critical human rights data from repressive governments that steal data in order to persecute citizens. When vulnerable citizens dare to bear witness by naming perpetrators, their crimes, and their victims, the sensitive identifying information about those witnesses must be protected. In the late 1990s, HRDAG’s Director of Research, Patrick Ball, began his work with encrypted data while documenting crimes committed by the Guatemalan national police—and strong cryptography has remained critical to all of HRDAG’s work. hr {border-width:20px;} .main-container p a{color:#f98d00 !important;} h2 {font-we...

When It Comes to Human Rights, There Are No Online Security Shortcuts

Patrick Ball. When It Comes to Human Rights, There Are No Online Security Shortcuts, Wired op-ed, August 10, 2012. Wired.com © 2013 Condé Nast. All rights reserved.

Indirect Sampling to Measure Conflict Violence: Trade-offs in the Pursuit of Data That Are Good, Cheap, and Fast

Romesh Silva and Megan Price. “Indirect Sampling to Measure Conflict Violence: Trade-offs in the Pursuit of Data That Are Good, Cheap, and Fast.” Journal of the American Medical Association. 306(5):547-548. 2011. © 2011 JAMA. All rights reserved.

The task is a quantum of workflow

This post describes how we organize our work over ten years, twenty analysts, dozens of countries, and hundreds of projects: we start with a task. A task is a single chunk of work, a quantum of workflow. Each task is self-contained and self-documenting; I'll talk about these ideas at length below. We try to keep each task as small as possible, which makes it easy to understand what the task is doing, and how to test whether the results are correct. In the example I'll describe here, I'm going to describe work from our Syria database matching project, which includes about 100 tasks. I'll start with the first thing we do with files we receive ...

10MM Images from Guatemala’s National Police Go Online: Disappearances, STD Experiments, More

India FAQs

Violent Deaths and Enforced Disappearances During the Counterinsurgency in Punjab, India: A Preliminary Quantitative Analysis Frequenty Asked Questions If there is so much data available, why can't you make claims about the number of people killed by security forces during the Punjab counterinsurgency campaign? Haven't Punjab Police and government bodies already documented the number of people killed and "illegally cremated?" Why doesn't this suffice? What has been the impact of quantitative studies of human rights violations in other regions? What impact do these findings have in the Punjab context? Why did you undertake this study? What are the ...

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 ...

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.” ...

Documents of war: Understanding the Syrian Conflict

Megan Price, Anita Gohdes, and Patrick Ball. 2015. Significance 12, no. 2 (April): 14–19. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-9713.2015.00811.x. © 2015 The Royal Statistical Society. All rights reserved. [online abstract]

When Data Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

This blog is a part of International Justice Monitor’s technology for truth series, which focuses on the use of technology for evidence and features views from key proponents in the field. As highlighted by other posts in this series, emerging technology is increasing the amount and type of information available, in some contexts, to criminal and other investigations. Much of what is produced by these emerging technologies (Facebook posts, tweets, YouTube videos, text messages) falls in the category we refer to as “found” data. By “found” data we mean data not generated for a specific investigation, but instead, that is generated for ...

FAQs on Predictive Policing and Bias

Last month Significance magazine published an article on the topic of predictive policing and police bias, which I co-authored with William Isaac. Since then, we've published a blogpost about it and fielded a few recurring questions. Here they are, along with our responses. Do your findings still apply given that PredPol uses crime reports rather than arrests as training data? Because this article was meant for an audience that is not necessarily well-versed in criminal justice data and we were under a strict word limit, we simplified language in describing the data. The data we used is a version of the Oakland Police Department’s crime report...

The Demography of Conflict-Related Mortality in Timor-Leste (1974-1999): Empirical Quantitative Measurement of Civilian Killings, Disappearances & Famine-Related Deaths

Romesh Silva and Patrick Ball. “The Demography of Conflict-Related Mortality in Timor-Leste (1974-1999): Empirical Quantitative Measurement of Civilian Killings, Disappearances & Famine-Related Deaths” In Statistical Methods for Human Rights, J. Asher, D. Banks and F. Scheuren, eds., Springer (New York) (2007)

Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict

ed. by Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff. Oxford University Press. © 2013 Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

The following four chapters are included:

— Todd Landman and Anita Gohdes (2013). “A Matter of Convenience: Challenges of Non-Random Data in Analyzing Human Rights Violations in Peru and Sierra Leone.”

— Jeff Klingner and Romesh Silva (2013). “Combining Found Data and Surveys to Measure Conflict Mortality.”

— Daniel Manrique-Vallier, Megan E. Price, and Anita Gohdes (2013). “Multiple-Systems Estimation Techniques for Estimating Casualties in Armed Conflict.”

— Jule KrĂĽger, Patrick Ball, Megan Price, and Amelia Hoover Green (2013). “It Doesn’t Add Up: Methodological and Policy Implications of Conflicting Casualty Data.”

Timor-Leste Op-Ed

Defending Human Rights Data And The Possibility of Justice In East Timor By Patrick Ball and Romesh Silva On June 5th, armed gangs broke into the offices of the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR) in Dili, East Timor and stole their motorbikes. Many human rights workers wondered whether the mobs would soon return to loot the irreplaceable paper records used by the CAVR to compile a definitive report on human rights abuses during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor from 1975-1999. The release of this report was preempted by the recent violence in Dili. But in the midst of the chaos, Australian military forces stepped in to ...

Core Concepts

Inaccurate statistics can damage the credibility of human rights claims—and that's why we strive to ensure that statistics about human rights violations are generated with as much rigor and are as scientifically accurate as possible. But, what are the pitfalls leading to inaccuracy—when, where, and how do data become compromised? How are patterns biased by having only partial data? And what are the best scientific methods for collecting, managing, processing and analyzing data? Here are the data pitfalls that HRDAG has identified, as well as some of our approaches for meeting these challenges. We believe that human rights researchers must take ...


In July 2009, The Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) 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. (This work was conducted by HRDAG while with Benetech.) 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." The report is included as an annex to the final ...

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 ...

Privacy Policy

Mailing List Subscription We use Mailchimp to help us keep track of community members who want to stay informed about what HRDAG is doing and thinking. If you self-subscribe to our list, we will never share your contact information. We will never subscribe anyone who does not explicitly agree to a subscription.  Over the course of a year, we mail quarterly letters and fundraising letters, as well as one or two updates as events demand. If, during the course of a fundraising campaign, you make a donation, we will do our best to remove you from the remainder of fundraising mailings that year. We may use your contact information to invite you to ...

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.