Three students sit around a table.

30 Years of Impact

Celebrating a legacy over three decades

Almost 30 years ago, our Co-Faculty Director Eric Stover was asked to scale up a two-person team at the UC Berkeley Townsend Center for the Humanities to a dynamic Human Rights Center — an institution that has helped define some of the field’s most remarkable achievements. We are thrilled to celebrate 30 years of human rights impact with our community, and will be publishing stories and hosting speakers to celebrate this milestone. 

Official Launch of the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk joined the Human Rights Center to launch the Berkeley Protocol on Digital Open Source Investigations, the world’s first international guidelines on how to use social media and content found online to investigate war crimes and human rights violations, in all six official languages of the United Nations. The event featured an exclusive first look at how the Berkeley Protocol is being used by professional investigators, HRC staff and contractors, and UC Berkeley students in HRC’s Investigations Lab to investigate the intentional blinding of Iranian protesters by Iranian security forces. The event was moderated by award-winning Washington Post investigative journalist Albert Samaha.

30th Anniversary Stories

A woman speaks into a microphone.

June 16, 2024

Working Towards Justice

HRC in the News — California Magazine / Leah Worthington, Working Towards Justice, profiling HRC’s Investigations Lab and featuring an ongoing investigation into the

Lines of code on a computer.

June 3, 2024

Technology Can Monitor Human Rights Violations and Bring Perpetrators to Justice

HRC in the News — ABA Magazine: Technology Can Monitor Human Rights Violations and Bring Perpetrators to Justice, authored by Alexa Koenig.

An illustration of two scales and a circular olive branch are seen on a window of a building.

March 13, 2024

Evidence of Russian Cyber Operations Could Bolster New ICC Arrest Warrants

Commentary — Lawfare: Evidence of Russian Cyber Operations Could Bolster New ICC Arrest Warrants, authored by Lindsay Freeman.

Two young women look at the camera.

March 21, 2024

More than 120 protesters blinded by Iranian agents, probe confirms

HRC in the News — Berkeley News: More than 120 protesters blinded by Iranian agents, probe confirms, profiling the Iran investigation supported by the Investigations Lab and HRC’s

February 23, 2024

HRC and U.N. Human Rights launch Berkeley Protocol

Berkeley Human Rights Center and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights co-launch global guidelines on investigating human rights violations online On February 13, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk

A man smiles at the camera. He has glasses, grey hair, and a mustache.

February 22, 2024

AAAS Honors 2024 Award Recipients

HRC in the News — Science Magazine: AAAS Honors 2024 Award Recipients, announcing Eric Stover as the recipient of the 2024 AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility.

Cover image of a magazine article with the words

February 20, 2024

International Verification Standards for Open Source Videos

Commentary — ABA Science & Technology Law Magazine: International Verification Standards for Open Source Videos, authored by Alexa Koenig.

30th Anniversary Events

Borders of Paradise Documentary Screening

After being rescued at sea, thousands of migrants face uncertainty and danger as they attempt to settle in Europe. They must confront the visceral and traumatic journey behind them, as well as the physical and psychological obstacles ahead. These themes and more are explored in a new documentary film “The Borders of Paradise,” co-produced by Investigations Lab student Fraser Byers. We held a screening of the film and post-film Q&A with Byers and Professor Debarati Sanyal of the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative on April 2 at Berkeley Law along with the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative, the Center for African Studies, the Institute for South Asia Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies. 

A man in a rubber boat wearing a life vest on the ocean looks to the distance at a large boat.

Investigations Lab Student Showcase

Every year, our Investigations Lab trains dozens of students to use social media and other publicly available, internet-based sources to document human rights violations for purposes of legal accountability, investigative reporting, and public advocacy. Students work on open source investigative projects in teams with external partners around the world, including Amnesty International, the Associated Press, Human Rights Watch, and many others. Our annual student showcase provides an opportunity for students to show their work from the last academic year. Projects at the showcase included documenting violence against protesters in Iran, investigating targeted destruction in Gaza, researching weapons used against civilians in Myanmar, and more.

A man standing up speaks to a woman sitting down. There is a presentation behind them that reads:

Open Source Investigative Reporting Workshops

The Human Rights Center and Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program partnered to demonstrate the latest digital investigative techniques at our third annual Open Source Investigative Reporting Workshops. We hosted four hands-on workshops: Introduction to Open Source Investigative Reporting with Gisela Pérez de Acha and Sasha Schell; New Tools and Tactics for Conflict Reporting with Alexa Koenig, Joe Dyke, Emily Tripp, and Jackie Geis; Networks of Money and Power: How to Report on AI with Karen Hao and Lam Thuy Vo; and Investigating Digital Election Ads with Craig Silverman. The workshops were offered in concert with the 16th annual Logan Symposium on Investigative Reporting.

A group of people in a room look at a man and a woman presenting. There is a presentation that reads
Image by Luiz Monticelli.

Panel Event with Our Children’s Trust’s Julia Olson

HRC hosted a panel event at Berkeley Law on climate change’s impact on California’s people, environment, and future with Julia Olson of Our Children’s Trust, HRC’s Betsy Popken and Linda Gordon, and the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment’s Louise Bedsworth. Gordon, HRC’s climate research manager, described the importance of engaging communities in HRC’s California Wildfires project, and Olson, Our Children’s Trust’s chief legal counsel, described Genesis v. EPA, a new California climate youth plaintiff case on harmful air pollution.

Four women sit on a panel, one of them speaks and the others smile.

Panel Event with Our Children’s Trust’s Kelly Matheson

HRC Executive Director Betsy Popken spoke in conversation with Kelly Matheson of Our Children’s Trust, the legal nonprofit behind Juliana v. United States, Genesis v. EPA, and the victorious Held v. Montana, among other cases. Matheson discussed OCT’s approach to climate litigation representing youth plaintiffs against states and the federal government, and how this approach is also used internationally. This event was held in partnership with the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment and the Environmental Law Clinic at Berkeley Law, and the Berkeley Climate Change Network. 

A woman speaks to several students.