Past Events







Tech Talk 3, Open Source Investigations: From Journalism to Human Rights – April 26

A discussion with Kim Bui on how open source investigations have contributed to breaking journalistic news stories and how these techniques are now being used in the human rights field to improve accountability for atrocities. This is the third tech event hosted by HRC on the innovative ways experts are using open source investigation methods for human rights.

Preventing Gun Violence: What Works and What Stands in the Way – April 24

In the culminating event in the Gun Violence in America series, Robin Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, spoke in conversation with Buzzfeed science writer and Berkeley J-School lecturer Peter Aldhous. Thomas and Aldhous explored the causes of gun violence as well as deep-seeded misunderstandings in the gun violence debate. They discussed statistics on the rise and fall of homicide and suicide rates, effective policies, and future legislation. Watch the event here

Screening of the film Finding Oscar – April 20

In a forgotten massacre during Guatemala’s decade-long civil war, a young boy was spared, only to be raised by one of the very soldiers who killed his family. Nearly 30 years after the tragedy, it will take a dedicated team to uncover the truth and bring justice to those responsible. This screening was followed by a Q&A with Ryan Suffern, Director of the film, Eric Stover, Faculty Director of the HRC, Roxanna Altholz, Associate Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic, and Josue Revolorio, a Guatemalan rights advocate. 

Tech Talk 2: Combating Hate Speech – April 19

A discussion with Brittan Heller, Director of Technology and Society at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), on how the ADL is using open source investigation methods to document incidents of hate speech in order to change tech policies and practice. 

Screening of the Film, Life After Life, a film by Tamara Perkins – March 20

The screening of this film was followed by a panel discussion, featuring Keith Wattley from UnCommon Law, Katherine Katcher from Root & Rebound, Endria Richardson from Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and Essie Justice, Harrison Seuga from Roots2Reentry and Asian Prisoners Support Committee, Dr. Patricia Hilden from UC Berkeley’s Ethnic Studies Department, and Tamara Perkins. 

Premiere Screening of Dead Reckoning – March 16

The premiere of the documentary Dead Reckoning, produced and directed by Jonathan Silvers and co-produced by the HRC’s Eric Stover. 

Police and Guns in the Age of Concealed Carry – March 15

Police officers have long been sought-after allies for gun control advocates, but a 2017 Pew
Report finds that police favor gun rights over gun control by a 3-1 margin. These poll data might lead many to wonder–wouldn’t permissive gun laws put police at a disadvantage? The University of Arizona’s Jennifer Carlson has conducted extensive interviews with both law enforcement officers and gun owners who practice concealed carry.  She breaks down how guns are not only part of the American legal framework, but also deeply embedded within the American character.

Tech Talk 1: Tech and the ICC – March 1

A discussion with an ICC investigator on the use of and potential for open source investigations—the combing of publicly accessible resources like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube—to get legal accountability for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Gunfight: Gun Laws Under the Trump Administration – February 9

UCLA Law Professor Adam Winkler discusses his acclaimed book Gunfight, which probes four centuries of America’s fixation on the right to bear arms. Winkler argues that guns―not abortion rights, race, or religion―are at the heart of America’s cultural divide. Probing the landmark Heller case, which invalidated a law banning handguns in the nation’s capital, he broke down the fight between gun-rights advocates and gun-control lobbyists. Winkler was introduced by UC Berkeley’s acclaimed gun expert Frank Zimring. Watch the event here

Assassination of a Saint, Book Launch with Author: Matt Eisenbrandt – January 31

Assassination of a Saint is the thrilling story of an international team of lawyers, investigators, and human-rights experts who fought to bring justice for the 1980 murder of El Salvador’s Archbishop Óscar Romero. Matt Eisenbrandt recounts how he and his colleagues searched for evidence against the killers as they worked towards the only verdict ever reached for the murder – two decades later in a U.S. courtroom. Matt Eisenbrandt is the Legal Director at the Canadian Centre for International Justice.



Urban Gun Violence: Realities and Solutions – November 28

Large mass shootings get massive media coverage, but urban communities of color consistently bear the brunt of the vast majority of gun violence with little public attention. According to the CDC, in 2010 African Americans were seven times as likely as whites to die from gun-related homicide. In response, cities like Oakland and Richmond are implementing innovative and controversial solutions. We heard from a frontline community organizer, policy expert, and city official about what’s wrong—and what’s working. Panelists included: Reverend Ben McBride, Director of Clergy Development, PICO California; Reygan Harmon, Ceasefire Project Manager, City of Oakland, and former Oakland Senior Policy Advisor on Public Safety Mike McLively, Staff Attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Leader, Healing Communities in Crisis initiative Moderated by Savala Trepczynski, Executive Director, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice, Berkeley Law. Watch the event here

HRC Fellowship Conference – November 4

Information about the 2016 Fellows can be found on the 2016 Human Rights Center Fellows page

Battle Lines: Who is Framing the Gun Debate? – October 25

How do gun rights advocates, and gun violence prevention advocates frame their cases in the media or fail to do so? How  has this framing contribute to the partisan divide among voters and legislators that has prevented meaningful federal gun legislation from passing in the last 20 years? The event featured George Lakoff, linguist, cognitive scientist, and author of books including Don’t Think of an Elephant!; Makani Themba, Chief Strategist at Higher Ground Change Strategies and social justice innovator and pioneer in the field of change communications; Lawrence Wallack, former Dean of Portland State University’s School of Public Health and writer/researcher on issues including framing, handguns and violence. Watch the event here

Screening of the Film, Surviving International Boulevard, and Panel Discussion – October 17

This short documentary reveals the complex reality of domestic child sex trafficking through the real-life experiences of two local women from Oakland. By night, a mother combs the streets determined to rescue her 15-year-old daughter from a sex trafficker, “boyfriend.” By day, nonprofit advocate and survivor of sexual exploitation Sarai Smith-Mazariegos unveils her personal story while breaking down the raw truth about victims and traffickers as it unfolds on the street around her.  

A Film Screening and Discussion of Human Rights Abuses in the Ogaden (Somali) Region of Ethiopia and Swedish filmmaker Andreas Rocksen – October 10

Filmmaker Rocksen presented film footage smuggled out of the region that documents government human rights abuses including landgrabs, extrajudicial killing, torture, and sexual violence. Journalists, aid groups, and human rights organizations have been denied access to the region since 2007. 

A Landmark case on Maternal Mortality in Uganda – October 6 

A discussion with Noah Novogrodsky, Professor of Law and Director of International Human Rights Law at the University of Wyoming and Ndola Prata MD, MSc. 

Firearm Violence: Research and Action – September 21

Dr. Garen Wintemute,  Director of the Violence Prevention Research Program and Baker-Teret Chair in Violence Prevention at UC Davis, and Professor Magdalena Cerdá, Vice Chancellor’s Chair in Violence Prevention and Assoc. Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at UC Davis, discussed firearm violence as a health problem, highlighting successful interventions, and suggest possibilities for the future. Watch the event here.  

Beyond Clicktivism: Exposing human rights violation in the digital age – September 20 

This event explored how Amnesty International is using digital activism and technologies to boost organizational capacity and develop research. Panelists from Amnesty International included Milena Marin, Senior Innovations Campaigner, Sam Dubberley, Manager o the Digital Verification Corps, and Scott Edwards and Christoph Koettl, Senior Analysts on the Tactical Research and Analysis Team. The rapid expansion of digital connectivity and tools pose new challenges and opportunities for organizations like Amnesty International. Although researchers working to expose human rights violations have access to more information than ever before – 90 percent of humanity’s data has been created in the last few years – the organizational capacity to sift through mountains of information for evidence of human rights violations is limited. Fortunately, we have an immense opportunity to connect with thousands of tech savvy digital volunteers who have a genuine desire to support our cause and contribute in a meaningful way.

Keynote on Mass Incarceration with Ben Jealous, Former NAACP President – May 3

As the keynote presentation for “The [in]Justice System,” UC Berkeley welcomed Benjamin Todd Jealous, former president and CEO of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. Jealous is currently a Partner at Kapor Capital, where he invests in seed-stage startup companies that use technology to solve social problems.

Should and Will Guantanamo Close? – April 29

A panel discussion with Jess Bravin, a journalist from the Wall Street Journal, Alberto Mora, Senior Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, Ashika Singh, Professor of Law at Tulane University, Adam Thurschwell, General Counsel for the Military Commissions Defense Organization, and Sharon Weill, Lecturer and Researcher in Intel Law at Science Po Paris. 

Human Rights in the Digital Age: Using Tech to Data Investigate Human Rights Abuses – March 29 

What are the latest tools for investigating human rights abuses and prosecuting cases of genocide, crime against humanity, and war crimes? This event was a talk with Gavin Sheridan, founder of Vizlegal and Innovation Director at Storyful, Keith Hiatt, Director of the Human Rights and Technology Program at the Human Rights Center at Berkeley Law, and a guest from the International Criminal Court. It discussed Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), the use of FOIA, and open data. 

Incarceration, Education, and Reentry: Reversing the School-to-Prison Pipeline – February 8

The equation is simple: prison and post-prison education = lower recidivism. How and why are these programs working and why isn’t prison education a top priority? This second event in the series featured panelists: Simon Woodard, Program Coordinator of Prison University Project; Ron Moss, Executive Director of the Gamble Institute Street Scholars Peer-Mentoring Program; Violeta Alvarez, Board Member of Underground Scholars Initiative and Instructor in the Teach in Prison DeCal; Danny Murillo, Program Analyst of Vera Institute of Justice and NJ-STEP Mountainview Program at Rutgers University, and John Gardner Fellow at the Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley. The discussion was moderated by Professor Emerita Patricia Hilden, Department of Ethnic Studies, UC Berkeley.



Human Rights Fellowship Conference 2015 – November 9

Information about the 2015 Fellows can be found on the 2015 Human Rights Center Fellows page

Landmines as Punishment: New Frontiers of Khmer Rouge Power in Pailin, Cambodia – November 5

Based on her ethnographic fieldwork in 2006 and 2015, Dr. Krisna Uk and Human Rights Watch’s Brad Adams discussed power, landmines, and economic influence in Pailin province on Thai-Cambodian border, a last bastion of Cambodia’s notorious Khmer Rouge. The province remains a fiefdom where former Khmer Rouge leaders hold significant influence over the political and social life of the area and land mines are used as social tools to discipline and punish. Opportunistic Khmer Rouge landowners are engaging in lucrative agro-business ventures in anticipation of the opening of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) borders. Dr. Krisna Uk is Executive Director of the Center for Khmer Studies at the Institut de Recherche et de Développement (IRD), Université Paris Panthéon-Sorbonne. Brad Adams is Executive Director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division.


Our first event in The [in]Justice System series—The Life Cycle of the Problem—featured Jonathan Simon, UC Berkeley Professor of Law, and author of Mass Incarceration on Trial; Keramet Reiter, UC Irvine Professor of Law and Society and co-editor of Extreme Punishment; Hernán Reyes, former Medical Coordinator of Health in Detention at International Committee of the Red Cross; and Azadeh Zohrabi, National Campaigner for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Panelists discussed the school-to-prison pipeline, race and poverty, mental health, health care, solitary confinement, and more. 

Do You Have a Plan for Saving the World? Ben Ferencz Does – October 13

What if your first criminal trial was at Nuremberg? At the age of 27, Benjamin Ferencz became Chief Prosecutor for the United States in The Einsatzgruppen Case. Now 96, he is the sole surviving Nuremberg war crimes prosecutor. He has spent his entire career working to create an effective legal response to the illegal use of armed force. He was one of the leading figures in the creation of the International Criminal Court in 1998, and continues to advocate for justice and accountability.

Global Health Seminar: Dr. Jamie Eliades, Malaria Cares, PATH – October 12

Dr. Eliades is an emergency medicine physician, epidemiologist, and assistant professor at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health where he focuses on child survival. He completed his Master of Public Health at Johns Hopkins with a focus on refugee health and health systems development in conflict/post-conflict settings, working with several INGOs and UN agencies. 

War, Disaster, and Data – October 5

The humanitarian response landscape is changing rapidly. Many active conflict zones are now in middle-income countries and these conflicts are spilling over to neighboring regions. In order to target diminishing resources and facilitate humanitarian responder coordination it is imperative that innovative approaches are used. The integration of technology and humanitarian aid is in its infancy but represents a potential paradigm to a data-driven response model from the old, anecdotal one. 

Nation Behind Bars: U.S. Prisons and Human Rights – October 8

A report on the human rights crisis facing U.S. prisons today by Human Rights Watch’s Jamie Fellner and Alison Parker. “The ‘land of the free’ has become a country of prisons,” writes Jamie Fellner. “Too many men and women are serving harsh prison sentences for nonviolent and often minor crimes. How can a country committed to liberty send minor dealers to die in prison for selling small amounts of illegal drugs to adults?.” As momentum to reduce mass incarceration grows, core principles of human rights, fair punishment, and equal protection offer a path forward. Join Human Rights Watch’s Jamie Fellner and Alison Parker for a talk about the prison crisis.

Missing Peace Practitioners’ Workshop on Accountability for Sexual Violence – August 26 to 28

Kampala, Uganda—As part of a global movement to end wartime sexual violence, more than 80 legal, health, and law enforcement leaders from six African countries met in Kampala, Uganda, in late August 2015 for the Missing Peace Practitioners’ Workshop. Visit the Missing Peace page for more information. 



20th Anniversary Party at The Battery, San Francisco – October 23, 2014


Opening of Envisioning Human Rights, Berkeley Law – August 28, 2014


UC Human Rights Fellowship Conference: Lessons from the Frontlines – November 8, 2013


Analyzing Police Encounters with the Public: Some Methods for Reducing the Use of Force. A talk with UC Santa Barbara Professor Geoffrey Raymond – November 6, 2013


Advancing the New Machine – April 26-27, 2011


Sexual Offences Act Implementation Workshop, Naivasha, Kenya – May 25-27, 2011

When conducting preliminary interviews regarding sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Kenya in the summer of 2010, HRC researchers heard one recurring theme from local stakeholders: accountability for this violence in Kenya suffers from a lack of cross-sectoral coordination. Government and civil society leaders tasked with responding to SGBV from all sectors expressed the need to come to the table together to better implement Kenya’s 2006 Sexual Offences Act. For this reason, the Sexual Violence and Accountability Project agreed to gather a local steering committee and convene a cross-sectoral meeting in May, 2011. For more information, visit the Sexual Offences Act Implementation Workshop page.


Multidisciplinary Approaches to Human Rights Workshop – September 7, October 5, November 2, and December 7, 2010