78 results for author: Christine Grillo

Evaluation of the Kosovo Memory Book

At the end of 2014 we completed the evaluation of the Kosovo Memory Book database and are pleased to conclude that the database has succeeded in documenting all or nearly all the human losses during conflicts in Kosovo during the period from 1998 to 2000. With a motto of "Let people remember people," the goal of the Kosovo Memory Book (KMB) is to document all people who were killed or disappeared in connection with the war in Kosovo. The project aimed to document all human losses during armed conflict in the territory of the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) between 1998 and 2000. The KMB database evaluation is the fruition of several years of ...

Release of Yellow Book Calls on Salvadoran Military to Open Archives

With the release today of a civil war-era catalog of “enemies,” Salvadorans are calling for a new look at the 12-year civil war during which hundreds of citizens were victims of human rights violations such as torture, forced disappearance, and illegal imprisonment. The recently leaked document, known as The Yellow Book, is a list created and (more…)

Updated Casualty Count for Syria

Today the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released an HRDAG-prepared report that describes and tallies documented killings in the Syrian Arab Republic from the beginning of the conflict in March 2011 through April 2014. (The report is here.) This is our third report for the UN on the Syrian conflict, and it is an update of work we published in January 2013 and June 2013. The report, Updated Statistical Analysis of Documentation of Killings in the Syrian Arab Republic, concludes that approximately 191,000 identifiable victims have been reported in the period covered (March 2011 – April 2014). (more…)

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…)

12 Questions about Using Data Analysis to Bring Guatemalan War Criminals to Justice

When people talk about war criminals in Guatemala, which war are they talking about? They’re talking about the Guatemalan civil war, which began in 1960 and ended in 1996. That’s thirty-six years of civil war. Even though it ended almost two decades ago, Guatemala is still recovering from it. At its simplest, this civil war story was right-wing government forces fighting leftist rebels. But it went deeper than that, of course. The majority of the rebel forces was composed of indigenous peoples, primarily the Maya, (more…)

Deportation Possible for El Salvador’s Gen. García – Supported by HRDAG Analysis

Gen. José Guillermo García, El Salvador’s defense minister from 1979 to 1983, may be deported from Florida to El Salvador because of his involvement in war crimes that occurred under his command. The recommendation comes from a Miami immigration judge, whose decision was supported with expert testimony from Stanford political science professor Terry Karl, who presented extensive statistical analysis of killings, disappearances, kidnappings, torture and other crimes under Gen. García’s watch. The statistical analysis was a joint effort between Professor Karl and Amelia Hoover Green and Patrick Ball of Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG). ...

14 Questions about Counting Casualties in Syria

In early 2012, HRDAG was commissioned by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to do an enumeration project, essentially a count of all of the reported casualties in the Syrian conflict. HRDAG has published two analyses so far, the first in January 2013, and the second in June 2013. In this post, HRDAG scientists Anita Gohdes, Megan Price, and Patrick Ball answer questions about that project. So, how many people have been killed in the Syrian conflict? This is a complicated question. As of our last report, in June 2013, we know that there have been at least 93,000 reported, identifiable conflict-related casualties. The ...

Welcoming Our New Admistrative Coordinator

After a long search, we're pleased to welcome Suzanne Nathans as our new administrative "hub" at HRDAG. It was no easy feat to find someone whose skills and experience promise to be such a good fit with our team. Suzanne comes to HRDAG with  a great deal of experience in nonprofit administration, success stories in operations, communications, and organization, and warmth and compassion. (more…)

HRDAG at Strata Conference 2014

Last Thursday, HRDAG co-founder and director of research Megan Price presented at Strata, the conference for data scientists and people who work with "big data." In her talk, she addressed the question of how we can know the actual number of conflict casualties in Syrian. Her short answer was, "We don't know." The longer answer was that we have a very good idea of how many conflict casualties have been reported, by several documentation groups, and that we're working on analyzing (more…)

Celebrating our First Anniversary and Welcoming Our Newest Board Member

One year ago, HRDAG cast out on its own as an independent nonprofit—and this first year has been busy, productive, and exciting. We’re indebted to our Advisory Board for their valuable contributions and to our funders for their generosity and participation in our mission. Highlights of the past year include contributing testimony to three court cases, publishing two reports on conflict-casualties in Syria, presenting over a dozen talks (many of which are available on our talks page), traveling to over half a dozen countries to testify, collaborate with partners, and participate in conferences/workshops, hiring a new technical lead, and bringing in ...

A Universal Declaration of a Few Data Rights

Today we celebrate the 65th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948. At HRDAG, we are non-partisan: we do not favor any party or government in conflicts. But we are not neutral: we are always in favor of human rights. We believe in the power and value of data; as we see it, data distills human actions and existence, all of which have power and value. With this in mind, we propose these seven articles that comprise our declaration of a few data rights (click through the links for some examples). Preamble Whereas data represents the suffering of human beings, Whereas ...

How We Choose Projects

For more than 20 years, HRDAG has been carving out a niche in the international human rights movement. We know what we’re good at and what we’re not qualified to do. We know what quantitative questions we think are important for the community, and we know what we like to do. These preferences guide us as we consider whether to take on a project. We’re scientists, so our priorities will come as no surprise. We like to stick to science (not ideology), avoid advocacy, answer quantifiable questions, and increase our scientific understanding. While we have no hard-and-fast rules about what projects to take on, we organize our deliberation ...

Welcoming our new Technical Lead

After almost two months of searching for the perfect fit, we’re very pleased to announce that Josh Shadlen has joined HRDAG as our new technical lead. Finding Josh was no easy feat. We were looking for what many people would call a “data scientist,” that is, someone with expertise in both computer science and statistics. These days, “data science” is one of the hottest fields out there. Bringing the perfect mix of academic depth and thoughtful reflection, Josh stood out for us. With prior jobs including gigs at Silicon Valley startups and Twitter, he’s got high-level (more…)

Guatemala’s Bol de la Cruz Found Guilty

Today Guatemala’s former national police chief Colonel Héctor Rafael Bol de la Cruz was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the 1984 kidnapping and disappearance of 27-year-old student union leader Fernando Garcia, who was last seen when officers detained him outside his home. Along with Bol de la Cruz, former senior police officer Jorge Gomez was also tried; he received a sentence of 40 years in prison. That verdict comes in part because of testimony this month by HRDAG’s Patrick Ball, who served as an expert witness and presented data analysis done with colleague Daniel Guzmán to assess the flow of thousands of ...

Film: Solving for X

Solving for X documents Patrick's team as they travel to Guatemala, Kosovo, and Liberia, helping human rights supporters apply sophisticated computer analysis to human rights events.

HRDAG contributes to textbook Counting Civilian Casualties

Next week, on June 11, Oxford University Press officially puts Counting Civilian Casualties: An Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict on the market. This textbook, edited by Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff, responds to the increasing concern for civilians in conflict and aims to promote scientific dialogue by highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of the most commonly used casualty recording and estimation techniques. HRDAG is very well represented here, as our colleagues have co-authored four chapters, and Nicholas Jewell, who sits on our Science Committee, has co-authored a fifth. ...

Hat-Tip from Guatemala Judges on HRDAG Evidence

We welcome the verdict of a week ago by Judges Barrios, Bustamante, and Xitumul in the conviction of General Efraín Ríos Montt for genocide and crimes against humanity. Their 718-page written opinion contains many compelling arguments, findings, and conclusions. But the section we at HRDAG are most interested in is the one on page 245 (see original, below), where Patrick's testimony is referred to. (more…)

HRDAG and the Trial of José Efraín Ríos Montt

At some point in the next week, HRDAG's executive director, Patrick Ball, will be providing expert testimony in the trial of General José Efraín Ríos Montt, the de-facto president of Guatemala in 1982-1983. Gen. Ríos is being tried on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. (His military intelligence director, Gen. Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez is also on trial.) Patrick will testify on approximately April 15-18, 2013, and he may begin as early as this Friday, April 12. The trial opened on March 20, 2013, in the Supreme Court building in Guatemala City. According to an Open Society Justice Initiative blogpost covering the event, the ...

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.