Hertie School Joins Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps

Berlin-based university Hertie School is the newest member of the Amnesty International Digital Verification Corps (DVC) – a network of universities that collaborate with Amnesty International in ground-breaking and rigorous human rights research.   

The Hertie School is the sixth member of the DVC globally, and the first one in the European Union. Other members of the DVC are the University of Berkeley (USA), the University of Cambridge and University of Essex (England), the University of Ibero (Mexico) and the University of Pretoria (South Africa).

“We are delighted to have the Hertie School joining the DVC, bringing their research expertise in fundamental rights, emerging technologies and data science to our cohort of universities. We look forward to empowering more German and international students to work on cutting-edge initiatives that use technology to advance human rights globally,” said Marija Ristic, manager of the Digital Verification Corps at Amnesty International.

Professors Başak Çalı from Hertie’s Centre for Fundamental Rights and Professor Anita Gohdes from the Centre for International Security are the faculty leads that will support the Student Initiative. 

“I am proud of this student initiative. Open source investigations of human rights violations and war crimes are urgently needed to fight impunity, and establish truth”, said Başak Çalı, Professor of International Law at Hertie.  

“Contemporary conflicts and crises require careful documentation, and being able to verify and investigate digital evidence lies at the core of fact-finding and accountability. I’m delighted to support our students in contributing towards this important work, and in building their skill-set” said Anita Gohdes, Professor of International and Cyber Security at the School. 

The first cohort of DVC students at Hertie School.

Pablo Maristany de las Casas, founder and coordinator of the Hertie School DVC added: “I’m proud to have established the Hertie School DVC with support from both my university and practice partner, Amnesty International. In a world where human rights defenders act in ever-shrinking spaces under increasingly authoritarian governments, digital investigations have never been more crucial. Hertie students are now able join the fight for human rights alongside a prestigious network of universities, led by Amnesty. They will gain invaluable skills and experience in a rapidly expanding field such as open-source investigations. I’m excited to coordinate this initiative and look forward to our accomplishments.”

The DVC was established in 2016 to help train the next generation of human rights researchers in the tools and skills needed to take advantage of the overwhelming amount of digital content that exists in the world today. In November 2019, the DVC won the Times Higher Education Award for International Collaboration of the Year. More than 100 students annually contribute to the human rights research of Amnesty International and its partners – from the reactive work on conflicts like Sudan or Ukraine, to long-term projects exposing police violence globally, airstrikes causalities in Syria and pushbacks at sea

Those interested hearing more about the Hertie Student Initiative, the work of Digital Verification Corps and main trends in human rights fact-finding, can register for the Digital Investigations Summit, taking place on September 15 at bUm, Berlin.