February/March 2020
Dear Friends:

The new decade has begun with an intensification of the Syrian crisis, which has caused almost one million more people to flee; raging fires fueled by climate change; threats of disinformation to suppress voting in US elections; and the possibility of a pandemic that will disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in our communities and around the world.

With this uncertainty and suffering as context, I want to share the hope I see at the Human Rights Center: students spending hours on end bearing witness to the violence in Syria, Chile, Hong Kong, Cameroon, and Sudan in efforts to strengthen fact-finding for journalistic stories that may come out tomorrow or legal cases that may unfold in a decade—in both instances advancing the likelihood of accountability; researchers returning from Uganda after consulting with young women about what gives rise to child marriage and how to stop it; and dynamic discussions about the future of human rights and how we stay resilient.

The Human Rights Center house is full of hard work and hope. Thank you for making it possible.

Alexa Koenig
Executive Director  

P.S.: Please consider making your  2020 tax-deductible gift to the Human Rights Center today or during Berkeley's upcoming Big Give on March 12. And follow us on social media!
Digital Witness: talk in UK Parliament kicks off launch
HRC's Alexa Koenig and colleagues Sam Dubberley and Daragh Murray launched Digital Witness in the UK this month, a book that former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Raad al Hussein called "...a volume that will fast become the standard text for anyone interested in human rights, the collection of evidence in the digital age, and the prosecution of those who perpetrate gross human rights violations." The editors and several writers—including HRC's Lindsay Freemangave talks at UK Parliament and held launch parties in London and Cambridge in February. With special thanks to the following who made the book and this work possible: Sigrid Rausing Trust, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Rockefeller Foundation/Bellagio Center, and Humanity United. The book is #1 for criminal justice and tech new releases on Amazon and thus is temporarily sold out.
South Sudanese girls use art to express ideas on child marriage
Our Health and Human Rights Program Director Julie Freccero and Research Manager Audrey Taylor recently conducted fieldwork in South Sudanese refugee settlements in Uganda to understand what drives child marriage in humanitarian settings. Freccero, Taylor, and their Uganda-based research team used youth-centered participatory research activities involving drawing, collages, music, and discussion groups with adolescent girls to explore how child marriage decisions are made, what contributes to vulnerability to child marriage, and local solutions. Freccero and Taylor will now dive into the data that will be used by Save the Children and Plan International to inform new programming to prevent child marriage in humanitarian settings globally.
Welcome! Sarah Craggs joins HRC as Research Fellow
The Human Rights Center welcomes Sarah Craggs as our newest HRC Research Fellow. Sarah has been working with the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) for more than 15 years, with a specialization on protecting mobile and displaced populations and preventing their exploitation. Most recently, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission, IOM Afghanistan, where she was based in Kabul for more than three years. Currently on sabbatical, her research will focus on how to create pathways to peace that ensure justice and provide protective, human rights-centered safeguards for victims of contemporary forms of slavery. Sarah will also be an affiliate research fellow at the Stanford Center for Human Rights and International Justice. Read more.
Donor spotlight: Thanks to Liz and Greg Lutz
Liz and Greg Lutz have supported Berkeley Law’s commitment to human rights for some 20 years through generous gifts to the Human Rights Center and International Human Rights Law Clinic. Liz, who graduated with a degree in Slavic languages from Berkeley in 1964, has also served on HRC's Advisory Board for more than a decade. She said her involvement was originally spurred by her opposition to the death penalty as well as her daughter’s longstanding work in the field of international human rights. “I think you have dynamic leadership, and the work that you do is amazing and important,” Liz said. “ It's been inspiring to watch as HRC continues to grow, and we look forward to seeing what you all come up with in the future." HRC’s staff and faculty extend a warm appreciation to Liz and Greg for their support and partnership that enables us to make an impact.
HRC Lab in focus: NHK World captures our work
Our Human Rights Center Investigations Lab was the focus of an NHK World film crew this month. The documentary team, based in Japan and New York, is covering open source investigations around the world and will feature the lab and our graduates. The crew filmed students in our Digital Verification Corps team as they verified material for Amnesty International investigations. They interviewed HRC Executive Director Alexa Koenig and deep fakes expert and HRC Advisory Board member Prof. Hany Farid (pictured right). The story is due out in April.
Celebrate our 25th anniversary: share a photo!
Contreras black and white
The Human Rights Center is seeking your best photographs to share in a limited-edition series of postcards. Send us your submission, along with a brief description of the photo and human rights context. Please also send a brief bio for crediting. We will then print and post this series of images that celebrate hope, humanity, and resistance in the midst of conflict. Email us here.
Ethics in a new era of human rights investigations
The Human Rights Center hosted a dynamic daylong ethics workshop in January with the University of Essex's Human Rights, Big Data, and Technology Project. More than 20 human rights practitioners, lawyers, students, and academics came together to develop a set of guidelines for open source investigators acting to strengthen journalism, advocacy, or legal accountability. The workshop, led by Human Rights Watch's Gabi Ivens , Amnesty International's Sam Dubberley , HRC's Alexa Koenig, and the University of Essex's Lorna McGregor , grappled with issues of privacy, security, transparency, resiliency, and more. A follow up session will likely be held at RightsCon in Costa Rica in June.
Eminent Monsters : documentary screening and panel on torture
March 17 | 5:30pm reception/6pm screening | Berkeley Law 140 | RSVP
In the 1950s, the CIA and the Canadian government covertly funded Scottish-born psychiatrist Dr. Ewen Cameron to embark on the darkest program of psychological experimentation in modern history. Subjecting his "patients" to sensory deprivation, sensory overload, LSD, and terrifying mind control techniques, Cameron's methods have since been used by torturers in 27 countries including the US. HRC's Senior Research Fellow  Harvey Weinstein , who has written extensively on this program, will speak on a panel with Stephen Bennett, film director; Smadar Ben-Natan, Berkeley's Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Laurel Fletcher , Berkeley Law; and moderator  Eric Stove r, HRC Faculty Director, following the screening of the documentary,  Eminent Monsters: A Manuel for Modern Torture.  More info.
Silicon Valley’s Online Slave Market + UN Special Rapporteur 
March 19 | 12:50-2pm | Berkeley Law 140
The Human Rights Center will host the United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Urmila Bhoola , and screen the BBC documentary Silicon Valley’s Online Slave Market on Thursday, March 19. The lunchtime screening and talk will also feature journalist Owen Pinnell . More information to come at
UC Berkeley's Big Give: March 12
Thanks to your support, we are able to train students to bring truth to light for critical research, investigations, and the global movement for human rights. We're filling gaps in research on health and human rights and examining the ways tech affects workers and work. The Human Rights Center seeks to make an impact on this campus and far beyond. During Cal's Big Give on March 12, we hope you will support the Human Rights Center. #BigGive #HumanRights
The Future of Work(ers): 2020 Annual Conference
March 31 | Haas School of Business | RSVP
The 2020 Annual Conference on Business, Technology, and Human Rights will bring together students, practitioners, academics, and leaders from business, labor, technology, and policy to explore the role that companies and technology innovation can play in empowering workers in the digital age. Join us!

Workshop: learn the tools of open source investigations
June 22-26 | UC Berkeley | Learn more.
Following a successful workshop in January, the Human Rights Center and Berkeley Advanced Media Institute host a second workshop on open source investigations at the UC Berkeley J-School in June. The workshop trains journalists, advocates, lawyers, and others who need tools for today's human rights investigations. Learn more and apply here .

HRC In the News
The Human Rights Investigations Lab: Reflections from Our Pilot Year, by Alexa Koenig and Andrea Lampros in Centre for Governance and Human Rights, University of Cambridge

Digital Witness—Using Open Source Info for Rights Investigations , featuring HRC's Alexa Koenig on the University of Essex's RightsCast

Who Makes Money from Tear Gas? , featuring HRC Research Fellow Dr. Rohini Haar, on CNBC

' The world has not forgotten us': a Rohingya Activist Speaks as Myanmar Faces Genocide Case , in Time Magazine, by former HRC Visiting Scholar Wai Wai Nu

Human Rights Center , 2224 Piedmont Avenue, UC Berkeley, 94720