Romesh Silva, who gained first class honours in statistics at UNSW in 2000, spoke to the class in MATH1000 Modelling Real World Phenomena on Oct 24 2006. He has had an exciting career in human rights statistics with Benetech's Human Rights Data Analysis Group. Most notably Romesh's statistical and demographic work for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor found that at least 102,800 (+/- 11,000) Timorese died as a result of human rights violations in Timor-Leste from 1974-1999.
Based on his considerable field experience in Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Colombia, Guatemala, Palestine and Chad, Romesh described the challenges of acquiring data in war-ravaged countries to ensure that scientifically-defensible evidence is integrated into truth and justice processes such as official truth commissions and international prosecutions. He also explained the application of capture-tag-recapture methods to make estimates of total conflict-related deaths from multiple data sources.
Romesh's talk was filmed by ABC TV for its series of short videos on careers. See the profile and video.
The report, FAQs and anonymized statistical data on his work in East Timor can be read here.
Contact: James Franklin
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