Quantitative Analysis of Deaths and Disappearances

Over the years, PRIMA’s members have partnered with organizations in Colombia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and Punjab, India, that have sought to quantify the extent of forced disappearances and killings. A critical component of this work has been based on triangulation from multiple data sources, such as testimony, cemetery records, and household surveys, and use of multiple complementary measurement approaches such as multiple systems estimation and survey-based estimations. Such analyses, developed in partnership with local human rights institutions, have been used to counter denials that large-scale lethal violence took place. They have also provided population-level descriptions of the demographic profile of the victims of such violence. In Timor-Leste, the analysis showed that more civilians died due to famine, whereas deaths of members of the armed resistance and of political parties were more likely to result from killings and disappearances. In Colombia, Tamy Guberek and Daniel Guzman worked on several projects using statistical estimations to determine that lethal violence was significantly under-registered, and therefore, undercounted. In India, Romesh used adaptive survey-design methods to tap into the social networks of the families of the disappeared to generate more comprehensive enumeration of victims of lethal violence during Punjab’s counterinsurgency period (1984–1995).


Unobserved Union Violence: Statistical Estimates of the Total Number of Trade Unionists Killed in Colombia,1999-2008

In Spanish: Estimación del total de homicidios contra sindicalistas en Colombia, 1999-2008

By Daniel Guzmán, Tamy Guberek, and Megan Price
April 2012
A report by the Benetech Human Rights Program in collaboration with the Colombian Commission of Jurists

To Count the Uncounted: An Estimation of Lethal Violence in Casanare

In Spanish: Los que faltan por contar: Una estimación de la violencia letal en Casanare, Colombia

By Tamy Guberek, Daniel Guzmán, Megan Price, Kristian Lum and Patrick Ball
February 2010
A Report by the Benetech Human Rights Program

Measuring lethal counterinsurgency violence in Amritsar District, India using a referral-based sampling technique.

By Romesh Silva, Jeff Klingner, and Scott Weikart
Article in JSM Proceedings, Social Statistics Section, Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association

Violent Deaths and Enforced Disappearances During the Counterinsurgency in Punjab, India: A Preliminary Quantitative Analysis

By Romesh Silva, Jasmine Marwaha and Jeff Klingner
A Joint Report by Benetech’s Human Rights Data Analysis Group & Ensaaf, Inc. January, 2009

Missing People in Casanare.

In Spanish: Los desaparecidos de Casanare

By Daniel Guzmán, Tamy Guberek, Amelia Hoover, and Patrick Ball
A report by the Benetech Human Rights Program

Assessing Claims of Declining Lethal Violence in Colombia.

In Spanish: Para Evaluar Afirmaciones Sobre la Reducción de la Violencia Letal en Colombia.

By Patrick Ball, Tamy Guberek, Daniel Guzmán, Amelia Hoover, and Meghan Lynch
A report by the Benetech Human Rights Program

The Demography of Conflict-Related Mortality in Timor-Leste (1974-1999): Empirical Quantitative Measurement of Civilian Killings, Disappearances & Famine-Related Deaths

By Romesh Silva and Patrick Ball
Chapter in Statistical Methods for Human Rights, J. Asher, D. Banks and F. Scheuren, eds., Springer (New York)

Clarifying the Past and Commemorating Sri Lanka’s Disappeared: a Descriptive Analysis of Enforced Disappearances Documented by Families of the Disappeared.

By Romesh Silva, Britto Fernando, and Vasuki Nesiah
A report by Benetech & the Families of the Disappeared