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Revisiting the analysis of event size bias in the Iraq Body Count

(This post is co-authored by Patrick Ball and Megan Price) In a recent article in the SAIS Review of International Affairs, we wrote about "event size bias," the problem that events of different sizes have different probabilities of being reported. In this case, the size of an event is defined by the number of reported victims. Our concern is that not all violent (in this case homicide) events are recorded, that is, some events will have zero sources. Our theory is that events with fewer victims will receive less coverage than events with more victims, and that a higher proportion of small events will have zero sources relative to large events. The ...

New results for the identification of municipalities with clandestine graves in Mexico

The goal of this project is identify Mexican municipalities with a high probability of having clandestine graves. Knowing where to search will help to create better public programs regarding missing persons in Mexico.

Liberia

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 ...

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 ...

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. ...

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 ...

Quantitative Research at the AHPN Guatemala

In early 2006 I joined the Historical Archive of the National Police (Archivo Histórico de la Policía Nacional, or AHPN) without knowing the impact it would have on my future. I started with cleaning, organizing and classifying documents—and learning, with other colleagues, what a historical archive is and how it works. By April of that year, parallel to these learning processes, I was selected along with 20 other people to begin work on the challenging Quantitative Research project. I started as a "coder," transferring key content from documents into a database. (more…)

Reflections: Pivotal Moments in Freetown

The summer of 2002 in Washington, DC, was steamy and hot, which is how I remember my introduction to HRDAG. I had begun working with them, while they were still at AAAS, in the late spring, learning all about their core concepts: duplicate reporting and MSE, controlled vocabularies, inter-rater reliability, data models and more. The days were long, with a second shift more often than not running late into the evening. In addition to all the learning, I also helped with matching for the Chad project – that is, identifying multiple records of the same violation – back when matching was done by hand. But it was not long after I arrived in Washington ...

USA

HRDAG’s analysis and expertise continues to deepen the national conversation about police violence and criminal justice reform in the United States. In 2015 we began by considering undocumented victims of police violence, relying on the same methodological approach we’ve tested internationally for decades. Shortly after, we examined “predictive policing” software, and demonstrated the ways that racial bias is baked into the algorithms. Following our partners’ lead, we next considered the impact of bail, and found that setting bail increases the likelihood of a defendant being found guilty. We then broadened our investigations to examine ...

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. ...

Guatemala

Collecting and Protecting Human Rights Data in Guatemala (1991-2013) In 1996, a peace accord brokered by the United Nations ended 36 years of internal armed conflict in Guatemala. During the hostilities, non-governmental organizations asked for technical support from the scientific community in the project to gather the experiences of witnesses and victims in databases. From 1993 to 1999 Dr. Patrick Ball, then at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), worked with the International Center for Human Rights Research in Guatemala (CIIDH) to collect and organize evidence of more than 43,000 human rights violations. The ...

Primer to Inform Discussions about Bail Reform

The primer addresses what pretrial risk assessment is and what the research supports.

The AHPN: Home of Stories Old and New

Access to the records contained in archives is a concern shared by many. Archives support memory and free access to them strengthens democratic processes. Everyone should be allowed to see first-hand the records contained in an archive and be free to interpret them as needed. Access to archives can increase knowledge on various topics and opens opportunities for different fields of knowledge. (more…)

Colombia

How Many Social Movement Leaders Have Been Killed in Colombia? The killing of social movement leaders has been widely documented in Colombia, particularly since the Peace Agreement in 2016. Documentation organizations do not agree on the exact number of killings. 2018: Using data from six organizations, this report estimates the total number of social movement leaders killed in 2016 and 2017. We conclude that the number of killings is increasing. More precisely, we estimate that there is a 50 percent probability that the increase between 2016-2017 was 10 percent or greater. HRDAG has drafted and published this report in partnership with Dejus...

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...

Police Accountability in Chicago: from Data Dump to Usable Data

HRDAG is helping the Invisible Institute turn their windfall of raw data about police misconduct into data that can be analyzed.

Round-up

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 ...

CIIDH Data – Dictionary

Version date: 2000.01.29 Current version: ATV20.1 Patrick Ball & Herbert F. Spirer The unit of analysis for each record in this structure is VIOLATION. Each violation was of a particular type, happened at a particular time and place, and was committed by zero, one, or several organizational perpetrators. The violation was committed against zero or one named (individually identified) victim, and zero or more anonymous (unidentified) additional victims. The violation was reported one or more times in one, two, or three source types. Note that to count the number of times individuals suffered particular violations, users should sum either the ...

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…)

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 ...

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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