Research

Research Interests

My individual and collaborative research focuses on human rights in transitional societies. I am specifically interested in (1) the causes and consequences of different approaches to transitional justice; (2) the causes and consequences of citizens’ perceptions of and engagement with the judicial system following human rights violations; and (3) explaining and evaluating state responses to political violence.

My Research Collaborations:

Human Rights Accountability Index (2017 – ongoing), Predoctoral Fellow, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative 

The aim of the project is to create a single unified global score, the Human Rights Accountability (HRA) Index, that indicates how diligently each country strives to produce accountability for core human rights violations and permit global comparison of progress achieved by each state. NSF grant application under review.

Human Rights Initiative: Equal Rights and Unequal Remedies (2017 – ongoing), Graduate Researcher, University of Minnesota

This project examines how citizens develop opinions of judicial institutions, how these perceptions are affected by inequalities, and how such perceptions impact how willing citizens are to claim their rights within the judicial system. This initial research with focus groups in Chile and Colombia—two countries with robust judicial institutions and high degrees of inequality—will give researchers a clearer understanding of how citizens’ opinions and perceptions impact the ways in which justice is sought in cases of individual rights violations. The second phase of the project adds two field sites in New Jersey, USA, allowing the research team to make comparisons across Colombia, Chile and the United States. NSF grant application planned for 2019.

NSF Transitional Justice Research Collaborative Database (2012 – ongoing), Graduate Project Manager & Researcher, University of Minnesota

The TJRC is an international collaboration involving scholars and students from the United States and the United Kingdom, comprised of principal researchers from University of Oxford, University of Minnesota and Harvard University. Over the  last  three  years,  the  TJRC  has developed a large- N, cross-national  database  on transitional justice mechanisms.  The team  collected data on over 500 human  rights-related criminal  prosecutions,  45 truth commissions, and  62 amnesties–spanning 40 years  and  covering all regions of the  world.   The  research  has primarily  focused on the  86 countries  that  experienced  at least  one democratic  transition  since 1970.  Of those transitional countries,  69 adopted one or more transitional justice  mechanism  to  deal with  past  human  rights  abuse. The new publicly  available TJRC  database  allows researchers  to study  quantitatively or qualitatively the  effect of specific mechanisms, or combinations of mechanisms, on political outcomes such as rights protection, democratic  consolidation and conflict recurrence.  Awarded NSF grant in 2010 and 2012. TJRC project website.

Harvard Humanitarian Initiative – Carr Center for Human Rights Policy: Evaluation of Integral Reparations Measures in Colombia (2014 – 2015), Predoctoral Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy 

The evaluation focused on the efforts of Colombia’s Unit for Comprehensive Attention and Reparation of Victims (Unidad para la Atención y Reparación Integral a las Víctimas) to implement comprehensive reparations measures called for in Law 1448 of 2011: compensation, rehabilitation, restitution, satisfaction, and guarantees of non-repetition. This evaluation was requested by the Victims Unit (VU) and supported by USAID funding. The evaluation includes three components: 1) a global benchmarking study comparing the Colombian program to other reparation programs around the world; 2) an institutional analysis of the VU’s reparation and coordination functions; and 3) an examination of the implementation of reparation measures by the VU from the perspective of its beneficiaries, and more broadly, the general population. The evaluation of the reparations function of the Victims Unit seeks to better understand its implementation and highlight opportunities for improvement. USAID report about our study.