On July 29, 2020, Access Accountability facilitated the session What Can Go Right? Positive Use Cases for Science and Technology in Human Rights Investigations at the online 2020 RightsCon.

The panel explored the applications of emerging technologies to human rights documentation, including the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to help identify sites, remote sensing tools, and data analysis advances. The panel was balanced with grassroots documenters and international experts.

The first half of our discussion focused on how mass grave identification was aided by machine learning in Mexico. The presentation showed how this complex technology, using data sets from victims families groups and civil society could help focus scarce resources on higher probability locations.

We then moved on to how remote sensing tools can help identify mass graves in Burma and support other transitional justice and accountability goals. This section served as more of an exploration from the perspective of grass roots documenters who face high hurdles to adopting these kinds of methodologies. The final presentation discussed data analysis technology advances and their applications by Yemeni documenters.

The last 10 minutes of the session were made available for questions and comments. Attendees were given the option to submit anonymously or voice their questions directly. They also had the option to submit their contact info for follow-up conversations.

In February 2021, we will publish an outcome report from the session exploring these themes in more depth, and evaluating potential directions for future use by human rights investigators.




Title and Affiliation

Dr. Megan Price

Executive Director, HRDAG

Raees Ahmed (Raïss Tinmaung)

Executive Director, Rohingya Human Rights Network

Dr. Arthur Green

Data Scientist, University of Guelph

Jorge Ruiz Reyes

Researcher in the human rights program of Iberoamerican University, Mexico City