Lab Impact

Contributions to Open Source Investigations

Hate speech in Myanmar continues on Facebook—Lab contributes to Reuters report by award-winning journalist Steve Stecklow

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. Congratulations to our Tech & Human Rights Director Félim McMahon and students Anshu Gupta, John Ortilla, Aditi Pradhan, Jasmine Hahm, and many other Burma team members from past semesters for your work on this critical issue. 



The Human Rights Investigations Lab contributes open source research and verification to Amnesty International and other partners for public reports that are released internationally to impact human rights. What follows is a sampling of statements and reports related to this research.

Excessive force against protesters in Morocco

A student on Berkeley’s Digital Verification Corps team—Sang Min-Kim—conducted verification work that contributed to Amnesty International’s research about excessive force used against protesters in Jerada, Morocco, in March 2018. The Amnesty researchers sent this note of thanks for the student contributions:

“This little note to really thank you for your essential contribution to our research work on Morocco. Without you, we could not have felt confident enough to build on the central piece of evidence we had about the repression of the demonstrators in Jerada. The impact of our press release has been significant enough to prompt the Moroccan government spokesman to react and that’s partly thanks to you so again, merci and choukrane!!

—The Morocco/Western Sahara team


Syria: Hundreds of civilian lives at risk as Afrin offensive escalates

Chemical Strikes on Al-Lataminah Students in UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Investigations Lab used open sources to document the March 2017 chemical weapons strikes on Al-Lataminah, Syria—including a strike that appeared to have targeted a medical facility. The report—Chemical Strikes on Al-Lataminah—was issued on January 18. The Lab’s open source work—verifying photos and videos found on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter—was conducted in collaboration with the Syrian Archive, a nonprofit organization that curates visual documentation from the Syrian conflict for legal accountability. The report was led by Berkeley Law students and Human Rights Investigations Syria Team Manager Andrea Trewinnard


Video for Amnesty International


Students in UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Investigations Lab conducted work that directly or indirectly contributed to these reports: 

Myanmar: Crimes against humanity terrorize and drive Rohingya out

Forced displacement under Syria’s ‘reconciliation’ agreements 

Bahrain: On the brink of human rights crisis

Syria: Expert analysis shows US-led coalition use of white phosphorus may amount to war crime

Articles and reports by lab members

Digital Verification Corps Student Summit 

By Andrea Lampros, Haley Willis, and Alexa Koenig 

Eyes on Cameroon: Videos capture human rights violations by the security forces in the fight against Boko Haram

By Christoph Koettl and Haley Willis

Frontline journalism: the dangers—and importance—of human rights reporting

By Andrea Trewinnard

Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps (DVC)

By The Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria

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

By Andrea Lampros

Documenting hate against my Muslim community

By Ilaf Esuf

Lab in the news

Antidote to Fake News: The Investigations Lab Teaches Digital Skepticism

October 2017 – By Barbara Tannenbaum

Student Journalists Contribute To National Record Of Hate Crimes
September 21, 2017 – By Natalie Wilson

UC Berkeley students work to authenticate photos, videos from conflict zones 

July 13, 2017 – By Lyanne Melendez

World’s next generation of human rights investigators meets at Berkeley

June 28, 2017

As ‘fake news’ flies, UC Berkeley students verify and document

June 27, 2017 – By Emily Deruy

Groundbreaking lab trains students to gather evidence of human rights abuses

June 12, 2017

Berkeley program seeks to help prosecute war criminal

April 14, 2017 – By Filipa Ioannou

Podcast: How the Internet Can Help Stop Human Rights Abuse

March 28, 2017

A new generation of human rights investigators turns to high-tech methods

February 13, 2017

Human rights squad detects abuse in warzone social media images

November 11, 2016 – By Aviva Rutkin