Students from the University of Pretoria, the University of Essex, and UC Berkeley take a break from the Open Source Investigations Summit to explore San Francisco.


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News and Events

Just released: Digital Verification Corps Student Summit report 

The Human Rights Center and Amnesty International hosted the first Digital Verification Corps student summit in June 2017. Participants included students from Essex, Toronto, Pretoria, Cambridge, and Berkeley as well as leading open source experts from around the world. We evaluated the first year of university-based open source labs, conducted training, discussed next steps, and built community. Read the Summit Report.

Was the poet Pablo Neruda murdered?

HRC Senior Research Fellow Cristián Orrego Benavente (our former Forensic Program Director) coordinated the Genomics/Proteomics Panel of Experts that analyzed the remains of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and determined that he did not die from cancer, as officially stated. The forensic experts found a potentially deadly bacteria in Neruda’s remains, but could not yet confirm its origins. The panel also included HRC Senior Research Fellow Charles Brenner and Berkeley Public Health’s George Sensabaugh and John Swartzberg. Read more in the New York Times.

2017 HRC Fellowship Conference: Nov. 3

The 2017 Human Rights Center Fellowship Conference at UC Berkeley School of Law features 14 extraordinary students from three University of California campuses whose work spanned  Peru, Brazil, Mexico, India, Mongolia, Syria,  Turkey, and the United States. The Fellows addressed the rights of children, immigrants, climate refugees, women, indigenous people, and the dying. They worked with activists on the front-lines, alongside war crimes investigators in international courts, and on behalf of internationally regarded organizations. In brief TED-style talks, they will tell you their stories. Join us on Friday, Nov. 3, noon to 4 with a reception to follow. RSVP here.

UN High Commissioner and Microsoft President talk free speech in event moderated by HRC’s Alexa Koenig

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and Microsoft President Brad Smith discussed technology, human rights, and freedom of expression at UC Berkeley’s International House on September 28 as part of the Haas School of Business Dean’s Speaker Series. The Human Rights Center’s Executive Director Alexa Koenig moderated. 

Human Rights Center hires Vitorte as first Deputy Director

The Human Rights Center has hired Molly Vitorte as its first Deputy Director to provide leadership and expertise at a pivotal moment in its history. Vitorte was most recently UC Berkeley’s Director of Development for Undergraduate Education.

“This is full circle for the Human Rights Center,” said Faculty Director Eric Stover. “Molly was our first graduate student researcher more than two decades ago. She helped lay the groundwork for many of our current projects. We’re excited that she will help us lead this next phase of our work.”

Missing Peace Young Scholars tackle research gaps on sexual violence and exploitation

The Missing Peace Initiative’s Young Scholars met in San Francisco in July to discuss sexual violence and exploitation. The Missing Peace Initiative was established in 2012 by the United States Institute of Peace, Women in International Security, Human Rights Center , and the Peace Research Institute Oslo. The Young Scholars are Ph.D. candidates or new professors.

Read Maddie Boyd and Dylan Saba’s piece about this year’s workshop. 

Global summit on open source human rights investigations convened at UC Berkeley

Amnesty International’s Scott Edwards joins the Human Rights Center’s Alexa Koenig in opening the summit on Monday evening. Photo by Monica Haulman.

The Human Rights Center and Amnesty International co-hosted a summit on open source human rights investigations June 26-29, bringing together students from Pretoria, Essex, Toronto, and Berkeley and global experts. More about the summit: 

World’s next generation of human rights investigators meets at Berkeley (Gretchen Kell, UC Berkeley, Public Affairs) 

As ‘fake news’ flies, UC Berkeley students verify and document (Emily Deruy, The Mercury News)

Global student summit on open source human rights investigations convened at UC Berkeley (Andrea Lampros, Human Rights Center Medium)

Watch a brief video about the summit!