Every year, millions of government-supported human rights violations — torture, political arrests, disappearances, censorship, harassment, aggressive protest policing — go unreported, making it impossible to understand fully or address state repression around the world. Victims and those close to them often are voiceless, having no way to document safely what they have experienced or seen. Perpetrators themselves are unlikely to provide information, so scholars and human rights advocates have little to go on except partial or sometimes biased second-hand accounts.
A new Web-based database and research tool, developed by Christian Davenport, professor of peace studies, political science, and sociology at the University of Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, will expand dramatically what academic researchers, international human rights advocates, journalists, students and the public know about government repression. The Illustrative Information Interface (iii) will allow anyone with Internet access to register his or her view of the scope and severity of government abuse for a particular geographic area from 1900 to the present.