A “super-experimental” lab launched at the University of California, Berkeley in 2016 to teach students to mine social media for potential human rights violations and war crimes today is producing a new generation of human rights investigators — and they’re being scooped up by employers including Amnesty International, the New York Times, the BBC and the International Criminal Court.
May 1, 2019
April 18, 2019
When the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced this week, two alumni of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and a former cartoonist for the Daily Californian staff were honored.
Stephen Hobbs, who earned his master’s degree in 2014, was part of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel staff in Broward County that won the public service award for its coverage of the mass shooting last year at Parkland’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Their work exposed the failings by school and law enforcement before and after the deadly rampage.
April 17, 2019
The Human Rights Center was honored to host the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, on April 27, 2019, at our new home at
February 26, 2019
February 19, 2019
Kim Thuy Seelinger is the Director of the Sexual Violence Program at the Human Rights Center at University of California’s Berkeley School of Law (HRC). She oversees the Center’s research, teaching, and writing on sexual violence during armed conflict and forced migration.
Growing up in Southern California, Tijuana was simply a stopping point for Thanh Mai Bercher. She’d pass through it on her way to visiting family and surfing in Ensenada.
“My family knew Tijuana as a dangerous city that we never stopped in,” Bercher says. “We were always kind of barreling through to get to the beach towns.”
Bercher, a 2017 UC Berkeley graduate and a former fellow with Berkeley’s Human Rights Center, doesn’t make it to the beach so much anymore.
February 18, 2019
She can be heard here (at minutes 34:10 and 1:19:10). Wai Wai told the committee that sexual and gender-based violence committed by the Myanmar military was prevalent in Rakhine State in 2016 and beyond but consistently denied.
February 14, 2019
"I don't mind a little turmoil,” said Buxbaum. "I have to tell you. I didn't then, and I don't now.”
December 24, 2018
Chris Beale doesn’t call himself a photographer. Or a journalist. Or an activist. When asked his profession, the 42-year-old is quiet for a moment before replying, “Gardener. I’m a landscape gardener.”
But Beale, who is plainspoken and reserved, is also one of the first photographers to document the persecution of Rohingya in Myanmar that has led to an exodus of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
December 22, 2018
Dressed in orange jumpsuits, the group of 20 men kneeled in the dirt, hoods covering their faces. Behind them, men wearing black T-shirts and camouflage pants pointed guns at the backs of their heads. Their commander paced beside them.
Then he gave the order to fire.
As recently as a decade ago, a summary execution like this might have been lost in a sea of other wartime atrocities. But this nauseating scene happened to be filmed, and posted on social media.
December 12, 2018
With great sadness, we announce that Dr. Cristián Orrego Benavente, the founding director of the Human Rights Center’s Forensic Project, died on December 12 at his home in San Salvador.
December 10, 2018
Alexa Koenig moderates a panel on AI at the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
December 7, 2018
The world of lavish spectacle, worldwide media attention and sumptuous banquets isn’t exactly in Kim Thuy Seelinger’s wheelhouse.
That ends Monday when Seelinger will be wearing a ball gown for the first time in her life. She’ll be doing it in Oslo, Norway, as her friend and colleague, Dr. Denis Mukwege, is being feted as a co-recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.
November 26, 2018
Félim McMahon, who directs the technology and human rights program at the University of California at Berkeley law school’s Human Rights Center, described the United Nations’ pace of reform as “turning several battleships tied together.”
November 5, 2018
Advancements in technology and the digital world can be used for good and bad. The power lies in the people who use those tools. Activism 2.0, our ongoing video series, explores the intersection of social activism and technology and how students and alumni at UC Berkeley are using digital tools to tackle pressing social issues. This video, the second in the series, explores the subject of using digital means including social media to document and try to solve war crimes. Other videos in the series address human trafficking and international war crimes.
October 17, 2018
Four photographs were stolen over the weekend from a photography exhibit called “The Rohingya: On the Edge of Existence,” which opened Oct. 9 at UC Berkeley School of Law’s Human Rights Center.
"It's interesting that in a context where people are so publicly disavowing and disengaging that there's not been a clear statement from the owner of the newspaper," said Félim McMahon, the technology and human rights program director at the University of California at Berkeley law school's Human Rights Center. "It's legitimate to ask that person's opinion."
August 20, 2018
Hate speech continues to dehumanize Rohingya and other Muslims in Myanmar through Facebook, according to this investigative report—Why Facebook is Losing the War on Hate Speech—by Reuters’ Steve Stecklow with contributions from our Human Rights Investigations Lab.
July 31, 2018
Health and Human Rights Program Director Julie Freccero and Researcher Audrey Whiting presented their research findings on protection risks associated with cash assistance programs at a three-day workshop—the “Safer Cash Toolkit Design Workshop”— hosted by the International Rescue Committee this week. Even as global aid agencies are increasingly giving cash to people affected by humanitarian crises, a significant lack of research exists about the protection risks of these programs for vulnerable people.
June 30, 2018
UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Center, in partnership with Save the Children, is releasing Toward an End to Child Marriage—a study that spotlights insights from 21 co