The Colombian armed conflict: Using statistical methods to unveil the truth


Location: C103, Hesburgh Center for International Studies and Live on Zoom

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Documenting human rights violations during armed conflict is difficult and can be dangerous, and the data that results is generally incomplete. Some records of violence are missing key information about the victim, the presumed perpetrator, or the context of the violence; some victims’ stories are undocumented altogether, leaving gaps in the data.

In this talk, Maria Gargiulo, a statistician with the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG), will discuss the joint project between the Colombian Truth Commission (CEV), the Special Jurisdiction of Peace (JEP), and the HRDAG. This collaboration--the largest human rights data project to date--uses statistical methods to examine patterns of homicide, enforced disappearance, kidnapping, forced displacement, and the recruitment of child soldiers during the armed conflict in Colombia. Gargiulo will introduce a statistical methodology that can be used to overcome data gaps while documenting human rights violations, and will discuss how this methodology can be replicated using Verdata, an R package created to aid researchers when designing their own analyses about the impacts of the conflict.

Following the presentation, Joséphine Lechartre, Kroc Institute PhD student, and Matthew Hauenstein, assistant research professor at the Lucy Institute, will offer their comments as discussants. Josefina Echavarría, professor of the practice at the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies, will offer opening remarks. Matthew Sisk, associate professor of the practice at the Lucy Institute, will moderate.

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A reception will follow this event in the Hesburgh Center Great Hall.

This event takes place within the framework of the Legacy Project at the University of Notre Dame, which seeks to preserve the digital archive of the Colombian Truth Commission, and provide unique sources of testimonies from over 30,000 victims, witnesses and offenders of the 52-year long armed conflict.

It is cosponsored by the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Clingen Family Center for the Study of Northern Ireland, and the Lucy Family Institute for Data and Society, with the support of Humanity United.

In addition to this lecture, The Legacy Project invites you to attend a workshop Unregistered Victims: Statistical Methods, Data, and the Findings of the Colombian Truth Commission hosted by the Lucy Institute in Jenkins Nanovic Halls room 1030 on December 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Interested attendees can register here.