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Centre of Governance & Human Rights (CGHR)


Human Rights in the Digital Age: CGHR Practitioner Paper #4 

The Human Rights Investigations Lab: Reflections from our Pilot Year 

Alexa Koenig and Andrea Lampros (Human Rights Center, University of Berkeley) 

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The Human Rights Center at the UC Berkeley School of Law launched its Human Rights Investigations Lab in Fall 2016 as a pilot project. The first university-based effort of its kind, the Lab trained a diverse cohort of undergraduate and graduate students in open source investigations. Students were trained to comb, collate, and verify digital information publicly available on the internet. Students gathered evidence of potential war crimes and human rights abuses for use by journalists, human rights organizations, and courts. In this report, we outline the Lab’s structure, articulate the opportunities and challenges we faced during the pilot period, and share insights to support dissemination of this model to other universities.