I recently became aware of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, an organization that does important work related to scientific analysis of human rights violations around the world. I’ve skimmed through some of their book Counting Civilian Casualties which covers a lot of ground related to measuring the civilian toll of violent conflict.
One report initially published last January and updated this summer compares different databases of conflict-related violent deaths in Syria’s ongoing conflict. The documentation of killings is a difficult subject. No one wants to ignore the human toll of war by reducing horrific levels of violence to mere numbers. But quantifying the killing is an important supplement to the personal stories, pictures, videos that are compiled into narratives of conflict, helping us to better understand conflict processes and how to prevent them or mitigate their effects.
The report is embedded below.