About HRC

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The Human Rights Center promotes human rights and international justice worldwide and trains the next generation of human rights researchers and advocates.


We are an independent research and training center that applies innovative technologies and scientific methods to investigate war crimes and other serious violations of human rights. Based on our findings, we recommend specific policy measures to protect vulnerable populations and hold perpetrators accountable. We train advocates around the world and provide them with the skills and tools necessary to document human rights abuses and turn this information into effective action. Executive Director Alexa Koenig talks about the Human Rights Center’s history and mission in this brief video. 


Three core goals guide the Human Rights Center’s activities:

  • Amplify the voices of survivors to ensure that their needs are heard;
  • Improve the quality of human rights research and investigations; and
  • Empower the next generation of human rights advocates.


Established in 1994 with funding from Herb and Marion Sandler, the Human Rights Center (HRC) has conducted major human rights investigations in more than a dozen countries, including the United States, Iraq, Rwanda, Uganda, Burma, and the former Yugoslavia. HRC has used DNA analysis to reunite families divided by war and conducted population-based studies to ensure that the voices of victims are heard by policymakers. HRC’s research has been provided to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Court. The Center has provided more than 300 fellowships to graduate students, and its alumni have taken leadership positions with universities, nongovernmental organizations, and activist groups worldwide. HRC faculty and staff have also collaborated with leading human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Center for Transitional Justice, and UNICEF, among others, to promote justice and postwar reconstruction in war-torn countries. The Human Rights Center is part of the UC Berkeley School of Law.