The Human Rights Investigation Clinic was launched in 2017 with the support of Amnesty International and its innovative Digital Verification Corps (DVC).
The Clinic trains students to employ cutting edge fact-finding and investigation methods to gather and verify information related to human rights violations. The Clinic is also developing and supporting innovative legal protection through policy papers and modal law proposals based on open-source fact-finding, in partnership with local civil society organisations and lawyers throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The Clinic partners with Amnesty International and the Digital Verification Corps (“DVC”), which includes UC Berkeley, University of Essex, University of Pretoria, University of Toronto, and Cambridge University. Amnesty experts train Hong Kong University students in verification and discovery techniques, and then work with students to discover and verify content—sometimes in a matter of hours or days—for international analysis and reporting. Hong Kong hosted the first regional Digital Verification Corps training in September 2018, bringing together students from participating schools as well as leading open-source experts, for evaluation, training, and planning.
Hong Kong University co-hosted the 3rd annual Summit for the international consortium of DVC from 2 to 6 June 2019. DVC teams from the universities of UC, Berkeley, USA; Toronto, Canada; Essex, UK; Hong Kong; and Pretoria, South Africa, were invited to talk about their human rights investigation projects and to share their experiences with an aim to improve the initiative. Skill-sharing sessions were led by experts including:
Gian Miko L. Arabejo
Project Coordinator, Alternative Law Groups
Open Source Investigator, United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Yemen
DVC Manager, Evidence Lab, Crisis Response Programme, Amnesty International
Project Manager, The Mekong Club
Director of Crisis Response Programme, Amnesty International
Senior Adviser in Remote Sensing, Evidence Lab, Crisis Response Programme, Amnesty International
Senior Associate, Diginex
Executive Director of the Human Rights Center, UC Berkeley School of Law
Senior Adviser in Tactical Research and Analysis, Evidence Lab, Crisis Response Programme, Amnesty International
Senior Lecturer, University of Essex Human Rights Centre & School of Law
Regional Communications Manager, Amnesty International East Asia Regional Office
Program Manager, WITNESS
Highlights of the event:
HKU law students, Mathilda Kwong Yuan Shang, Yuki Lok Chi Yu, Flora Chan Wai Shan, and Areon Chan Yee Tak, created a video sharing their experience participating in the 2017-18 DVC Summit from 26 to 28 June 2018.
For a summary of the 2016-17 DVC Summit, please click here.
(Chinese) 戰地片「逐格睇」 港大生揪出戰爭罪行 國際特赦「數碼驗證隊」 蒐衝突事件影像核真偽 (MingPao Daily, 8 June 2019)
Amnesty International launches new global network of researchers to deploy digital verification for human rights, with HKU students involved
(South China Morning Post, 22 June 2019)