9 results for author: Ann Harrison


Social Science Scholars Award for HRDAG Book

In March 2013, I entered a contest called the California Series in Public Anthropology International Competition, which solicits book proposals from social science scholars who write about how social scientists create meaningful change. The winners of the Series are awarded a publishing contract with the University of California Press for a book targeted to undergraduates. With the encouragement of my HRDAG colleagues Patrick Ball and Megan Price, I proposed a book about the work of HRDAG researchers entitled, Everybody Counts: How Scientists Document the Unknown Victims of Political Violence. Earlier this month, I was contacted by the Series judges ...

Syria 2012 – Modeling Multiple Datasets in an Ongoing Conflict

The struggle between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and opposition forces has generated extensive global press coverage, but few accurate estimates of casualties. In January 2013, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report on the number of conflict-related killings in Syria. The UN report is based on statistical analysis conducted by HRDAG scientists Megan Price, Jeff Klingner and Patrick Ball. This chapter examines HRDAG’s findings which compared information from a database collected by the Syrian government with six databases compiled by Syrian human rights activists and citizen ...

Colombia 2010-2012 – Advancing Methods to Count Deaths and Missing People

From 2010 to 2012, a series of reports by HRDAG researchers applied new statistical methodologies to investigate deaths and missing people in Colombia. A 2010 report released by HRDAG scientists Tamy Guberek, Daniel Guzmán, Megan Price, Kristian Lum, and Patrick Ball documented patterns of violence in the Colombian state of Casanare. HRDAG researchers used MSE to analyze killings and disappearances recorded in 15 datasets provided by judicial, government, security, forensic and civil society organizations. Matching cases that appeared in more than one dataset, HRDAG statisticians modeled the process by which violations were recorded and estimated the ...

Guatemala 2011 – Developing Sampling Methods to Help Convict Perpetrators

During 36 years of internal armed conflict, which ended in 1996, an estimated 200,000 Guatemalans were killed or disappeared. HRDAG researchers returned to Guatemala in 2006 to analyze a sample of the estimated 46 million records discovered in the archive of the now disbanded Guatemalan National Police. HRDAG statisticians Daniel Guzmán, Romesh Silva, Patrick Ball and Tamy Guberek, together with Paul Zador and Gary Shapiro of the American Statistical Association, developed a multi-stage random sample of the archive to get a clearer picture of its contents. Sampled documents shed light on the disappearance of Guatemalan union leader Edgar Fernando ...

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 ...

Timor-Leste 2006 – Combining Found Data and Innovative Surveys To Uncover the Truth

Large-scale human rights violations in Timor-Leste began in 1975 when the Indonesian government invaded the small island and continued until Timorese independence in 1999. Disappearances, torture, forced displacement and extra-judicial killings took place during the Indonesian occupation compounded by a severe famine. Estimates of deaths ranged from 50,000 to 200,000, but individual sources reflected only a fraction of total fatalities. The Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR) asked HRDAG to investigate abuses during the conflict. This chapter describes how Ball and HRDAG scientists Romesh Silva and Scott Weikart ...

Kosovo 1999 – Using MSE to Examine Political Claims

Patrick Ball expanded his use of multiple systems estimation (MSE) to clarify the history of a deadly conflict in Kosovo. The violence began in 1989 when Serbian President Slobodan Milošević revoked Kosovo's autonomous status within the Republic of Serbia triggering fighting between Kosovar Albanians and the Yugoslav government. Allegations of widespread and systematic human rights violations were made against Serbian forces and NATO intervened to repel Serb forces from Kosovo. Ball and Scheuren gathered data from Albanian border crossings and other sources in the region. They used this information to examine the claim by the Yugoslav government ...

Guatemala 1993-1999 – Using MSE to Estimate the Number of Deaths

Propelled by the impact of data analysis in El Salvador, Patrick Ball applied his WDWTW model to human rights information in other countries. Throughout the 1990’s, Ball worked at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) analyzing large-scale human rights violations in Ethiopia, South Africa, Haiti and Guatemala. Together with senior scientific colleagues, including statistician Dr. Herb Spirer, Ball developed new methods for analyzing state-sanctioned violence. This chapter documents how the research expanded when a group of nongovernmental organizations in Guatemala asked the scientific community to gather and analyze ...

El Salvador 1991 – Who Did What To Whom?

Members of the Salvadoran military committed tens of thousands of killings during the country’s civil war which raged from the late 1970’s until 1990. While working for a peace organization in El Salvador in 1991, Patrick Ball was asked by a colleague at a human rights group to help organize a large collection of human rights testimonies. Trained as a social scientist, Ball created the “Who Did What To Whom” (WTWTW) model for examining human rights data. Ball used this system to create a structured, relational database of violations reported in more than 9,000 testimonies to the Salvadoran Human Rights Commission. To determine who was most ...