HRDAG has been fortunate to have a long and exciting history that has taken us around the world to analyze data related to human rights violations. Along the way, we have met wonderful people, worked with amazing organizations and been a part of an amazing advancement of science through data analysis. This page highlights key moments in our history.

  • February 27, 1991

    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 ...more
  • February 27, 1999

    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 ...more
  • April 29, 1999

    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 ...more
  • March 29, 2006

    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 ...more
  • April 29, 2009

    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 ...more
  • April 29, 2011

    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 discove...more
  • March 29, 2012

    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, ...more
  • April 29, 2012

    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 Commissi...more
  • January 27, 2014

    HRDAG Retreat 2014

    Ten data nerds gathered in a large hilltop beach house to analyze counts of killings from several war-torn countries. The time was January 16-20, 2014, the place was near San Francisco, the agenda was packed, and I was excited to be ...more
  • January 31, 2014

    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 ...more
  • July 14, 2014

    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 ...more
  • March 27, 2015

    HRDAG Retreat 2015

    I look at the beach and then at the table surrounded by nerds, deep in thought and conversation about Dirichlet priors, matching algorithms, and armed conflicts. This peculiar (in the best way) environment catalyzes a moment of reflection: ...more
  • November 24, 2015

    Changes at HRDAG

    A special announcement from the HRDAG Advisory Board: Beginning officially on December 1, HRDAG is changing leadership. After nearly three years as Executive Director, Patrick Ball will become the new Director of Research. Megan Price ...more
  • December 11, 2015

    Welcoming a New Board Member

    As we get ready to begin our fourth year as an independent nonprofit, we are, as always, indebted to our Advisory Board and to our funders for their support and vision. We’re finishing up a busy year that took us to Dakar (for the trial ...more
  • February 18, 2016

    HRDAG Retreat 2016

    What do you get when you bring seven statisticians, one quantitative political scientist, a writer, a computer scientist, and an administrator together for four days in a vacation rental on California’s Russian River? A lot of code, ...more


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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