Addresses ethical, legal and human rights issues related to the conduct and application of science and technology.
SRHRL Past Projects: Human Rights
Return to the past projects and activities archive page.
The goal of the Network is to build research capacity and strengthening communication and collaboration among academics and human rights organizations within Africa who are conducting empirical studies on the impacts of transitional justice mechanisms on societies.
 Traditional Ecological Knowledge Prior Art Database (TEK*PAD)
TEK*PAD is an index and search engine of existing Internet-based, public domain documentation concerning indigenous knowledge and plant species uses. TEK*PAD brings together and archives in a single location, various types of public domain data necessary to establish prior art. Data includes taxonomic and other species data, ethnobotanical uses, scientific and medical articles and abstracts, as well as patent applications themselves.
[2003-2004] Technical Assistance to the Sierra Leone Truth and Reconciliation Commission (SLTRC)
Following a brutal 11-year civil war, the Parliament of Sierra Leone called for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to create “an impartial, historical record of the conflict”, “address impunity; respond to the needs of victims; promote healing and reconciliation; and prevent a repetition of the violations and abuses suffered.” AAAS, assisted the Truth and Reconciliation Commission via a data analysis process for the thousands of statements which had been given to them in the course of their work. In collaboration with staff of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) of the Benetech Initiative, AAAS coauthored the Statistical Appendix to the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone. AAAS also worked with the Commission to incorporate the statistical findings into the main findings of the report.
Over the past three decades, statisticians have increasingly made an impact on the monitoring and attainment of human rights through the development and transition of statistical techniques to the human rights community. Over the past decade, the largest concrete effort to bring those statisticians and human rights practitioners together has been the Metagora project, a project which has resulted in strong contributions to statistical methodology for enhancing and attaining human rights in countries around the world. AAAS was involved in the implementation of a number of aspects of the project.
[2000-2004] Sri Lanka
AAAS provided technical assistance to the Human Rights Documentation Coalition (HRDC), a consortium of non-governmental organizations based in Sri Lanka. It focused on establishment of data collection, classification and processing tools and targeted training for the establishment of a common technical basis for quantifying the patterns and magnitude of gross human rights violations. This project established a massive, objective and undeniable statistical record of human rights violations in the past and present in Sri Lanka. The project aimed to augment the human rights monitoring and reporting enterprise in order to positively influencing the Sri Lankan peace process.
[2002 -2003] and [1996-1998] Assistance to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa (TRCSA)
AAAS was asked to assist the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of South Africa design an information management system that would be capable of receiving the statements of tens of thousands of people, keeping track of the statements according to the who-did-what-to-whom data model, and following the statements through the corroborations and findings process. AAAS was also asked to participate in their evaluation of human rights violations in the health care sector. AAAS assembled a consultative team of U.S. based non-governmental organizations active in health and human rights to help frame questions for TRC health sector hearings, make a submission to the hearings, and to produce recommendations on overcoming the legacy of apartheid-era human rights abuses.
[2002-2003] Human Rights Data Analysis Group
The Human Rights Data Analysis Group began as a project that originated within the Science and Human Rights Program in September of 2002. The project provided technical support to large-scale human rights data initiatives. On November 3, 2003, the staff and projects of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group moved to Benetech in Palo Alto, California, and in 2013 HRDAG became a San Francisco-based independent non-profit fiscally sponsored by Community Partners.
In May 2001, the President of Peru Alejandro Toledo called for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) to investigate human rights abuses committed in the past two decades during the democratically elected governments of Fernando Belaunde (1980-85), Alan Garcia (1985-90) and Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000). At the request of Javier Cuirlizza, Executive Secretary of the CVR, and on behalf of the International Center for Transitional Justice, Dr. Patrick Ball of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) visited Lima three times during 2003. His reports to the CVR and ICTJ provided evaluations of the CVR technical work and recommendations on the information management process and analytic strategies.
[2000-2003] Environment and Human Rights Project
The project was built on the premise that, despite some differences, the human rights and environmental movements share many of the same goals and concerns. Understanding of their common ground and of the knowledge, methods and resources that each group brings to its work would improve the ability of both to realize their shared goal of a world that sustainably shelters and nurtures human and non-human life. In December 2000, the AAAS received a grant from the Richard & Rhoda Goldman Fund to explore and develop the intrinsic connections between environmental protection and the realization of many of the economic, social and cultural rights enumerated in major international human rights instruments.
[1998-2002] Cuba: The Right to Travel
Since 1998, AAAS has been involved in researching and advocating for scientists’ right to travel between Cuba and the United States. In 2000, AAAS, in cooperation with the Latin American and Caribbean Program, established an online resource, The Clearinghouse of Information on Scientific and Academic Travel between Cuba and the US. The goal of this website was to provide the scientific community with clear and useful information on scientific and academic travel between Cuba and the US.
[1998-2000] Assistance to the Guatemalan Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH)
Following the conclusion of the thirty-six year Guatemalan armed conflict, the United Nations organized a Commission of Historical Clarification (known as the CEH by its Spanish acronym), similar to what in other countries has been called a truth commission. The Commissioners invited the AAAS to advise them on the development and implementation of an information management system. A copy of the report is available in both spanish and english. In 1998, the National Coordination for Human Rights in Guatemala asked AAAS to host data on human rights violations in Guatemala (1960-1996) for the International Center for Human Rights Research (CIIDH). A report on State Violence in Guatemala, 1960-96 is available in both english and spanish.
[1995-2000] Honduras: Information Resource Development
AAAS assisted the Honduran National Human Rights Commission in the development of information management systems and data analysis capabilities. The Program helped to develop a variety of information resources, including a full text-based documentation system and a human rights violations casework and analysis system. The Program also developed a monitoring system, including a catalogue of economic, social, and cultural rights to be used and updated by the ombudsmen’s offices; standard formats for documenting violations; and an Internet-based communication system to record and share information.
 Refugee Flow Patterns in Kosovo
Much of the debate about the March – June 1999 war between NATO and Yugoslavia turned on how many people left their homes in particular places and at certain times. Solid information about the flow of refugees out of Kosovo has helped investigators to link patterns in the flow to patterns of NATO bombing, Yugoslav strategic plans for “cleansing” Kosovo, and Yugoslav and irregular troop deployments. At its heart, the debate was about whether refugees left their homes fleeing NATO attacks and fighting between the KLA and Yugoslav forces, or whether they left their homes after being threatened, assaulted, and robbed by Yugoslav police, army, and irregular units. Read the AAAS report that was submitted to the International Criminal Tribunal of Yugoslavia and view a video archive of Patrick Ball’s testimony. AAAS also published a report Policy or Panic? The Flight of Ethnic Albanians from Kosovo.
[1996-1999] Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights Violations Project
In 1996, AAAS and Human Rights Information and Documentation Systems, International (HURIDOCS) began an innovative project to develop a “violations approach” to monitoring economic, social and cultural rights, based on the rights enumerated in the ICESCR. The purpose of the project was to make implementation more effective by monitoring serious violations of these rights, rather than focusing on their progressive implementation. There are two publications related to this project: the Thesaurus of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights: Terminology and Potential Violations and Promoting and Defending Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
[1995-1996] Canada-US Human Rights Information and Documentation Network
CUSHRID Net was developed to facilitate the exchange of ideas and information between human rights organizations; establishment of uniform standards for human rights documentation, information management and exchange; development of co-operative projects in the areas of documentation and information management to avoid duplication; training in various aspects of documentation and information management; and contacts and exchanges with information and documentation networks in other parts of the world.
[1995-1996] Assistance to the Haitian National Commission for Truth and Justice (CNVJ)
AAAS was invited by Francoise Bouchard, President of the Haitian National Commission for Truth and Justice, to advise the commission on how to develop a large-scale interviewing project to take the testimonies of a several thousand witnesses of human rights violations. The AAAS team met with the CNVJ commissioners and planned a project to include 40 interviewer teams, ten data processors, and five data entry specialists. The CNVJ team took 5,453 interviews. In all, they identified 8,667 victims who suffered 18,629 violations.