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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 ...

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.

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 ...

HRDAG Adds Three New Board Members

HRDAG's advisory board has added three new members.

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 ...

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...

Chad: Habré Knew of Deaths in His Jails


News Wrap: U.N. Reports 60,000 Dead in Syria Since Civil War Began Two Years Ago


Palantir Has Secretly Been Using New Orleans to Test Its Predictive Policing Technology

One of the researchers, a Michigan State PhD candidate named William Isaac, had not previously heard of New Orleans’ partnership with Palantir, but he recognized the data-mapping model at the heart of the program. “I think the data they’re using, there are serious questions about its predictive power. We’ve seen very little about its ability to forecast violent crime,” Isaac said.


New Research on Civilian Deaths and Disappearances in El Salvador

This rigorous estimate shows that 1-2 percent of the country’s population was killed or disappeared during the civil war.

HRDAG Names New Board Member Margot Gerritsen

Margot is a professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering at Stanford University, interested in computer simulation and mathematical analysis of engineering processes.

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 ...

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.


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?” .


New UN report counts 191,369 Syrian-war deaths — but the truth is probably much, much worse

Amanda Taub of Vox has interviewed HRDAG executive director about the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Right’s release of HRDAG’s third report on reported killings in the Syrian conflict.
From the article:
Patrick Ball, Executive Director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group and one of the report’s authors, explained to me that this new report is not a statistical estimate of the number of people killed in the conflict so far. Rather, it’s an actual list of specific victims who have been identified by name, date, and location of death. (The report only tracked violent killings, not “excess mortality” deaths from from disease or hunger that the conflict is causing indirectly.)


New Study Argues War Deaths Are Often Overestimated


Data Dive Reveals 15,000 New Victims of Syria War


SermonNew death toll estimated in Syrian civil war

Kevin Uhrmacher of the Washington Post prepared a graph that illustrates reported deaths over time, by number of organizations reporting the deaths.


The causal impact of bail on case outcomes for indigent defendants in New York City

Kristian Lum, Erwin Ma and Mike Baiocchi (2017). The causal impact of bail on case outcomes for indigent defendants in New York City. Observational Studies 3 (2017) 39-64. 31 October 2017. © 2017 Institute of Mathematical Statistics.

Kristian Lum, Erwin Ma and Mike Baiocchi (2017). The causal impact of bail on case outcomes for indigent defendants in New York City. Observational Studies 3 (2017) 39-64. 31 October 2017. © 2017 Institute of Mathematical Statistics.


Measures of Fairness for New York City’s Supervised Release Risk Assessment Tool

Kristian Lum and Tarak Shah (2019). Measures of Fairness for New York City's Supervised Release Risk Assessment Tool. Human Rights Data Analysis Group. 1 October 2019. © HRDAG 2019.

Kristian Lum and Tarak Shah (2019). Measures of Fairness for New York City’s Supervised Release Risk Assessment Tool. Human Rights Data Analysis Group. 1 October 2019. © HRDAG 2019.


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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