The Rafto Prize is awarded each year by the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, to individuals or organisations who work to promote human rights. Amongst their 36 previous winners, four have gone on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
On this year’s prize, the foundation commented that:
"The Rafto Prize 2021 is awarded to the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) for their wide-reaching documentation of grave human rights abuses. By using statistics and data science, they uncover large-scale human rights violations that might otherwise go undetected.
“This novel approach has enabled courts to bring perpetrators to justice and given closure to affected victims and their families. HRDAG represents a new generation of human rights defenders that advances the enforcement of human rights globally."
Members of the group, including Maria, received the prize at a ceremony in Bergen, Norway on Sunday 14 November, which was followed by a torch-lit procession with the Bergen City Mayor, Rune Bakervik.
Executive Director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group Megan Price said on the day:
“It is often the already marginalized and vulnerable members of our communities whose stories are further silenced in the data we are able to collect about human rights violation. This is where statistics can be a powerful tool; it can fill in silences in data, it can build from what we are able to observe and record to estimate what we do not know.
"If we cannot tell every story, if we cannot name every victim, the least we can do is count them.”
Pictured (top): Members of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, including Nuffield MPhil student Maria Gargiulo third from the right receive the Rafto 2021 Prize and (below) take part in a candle-lit procession through Bergen, Norway. Photos courtesy of Ingvild Festervoll Melien / The Rafto Foundation.
For more information about the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, see their website.