Research Project

Using NLP to support the generation of Human Rights violations reports

Principal Investigators
Professor Massimo Poesio
Dr Chris Fox

An alternative use for social media

Social media is used around the world to document our daily lives. For those living in war zones and areas of conflict and violence, it can also be used to bear witness to atrocities committed against members of the community.

This Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) with Minority Rights Group used Natural Language Processing methods to collect, classify and filter reports of human rights violations reported via social media or SMS to support the reporting activities of MRG.

The tool that was developed from this project provided a secure and anonymous platform for people to report human rights violations in real time. Social media data mining, including video and photography, is combined with live mapping to show the location of the incident and the evidence.

Funding and Partners

This project was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and InnovateUK, and run in collaboration with the human rights organisation Minority Rights Group International.


Alhelbawy, A., Lattimer, M., Kruschwitz, U., Fox, C. and Poesio, M., (2020). An NLP-Powered Human Rights Monitoring Platform. Expert Systems with Applications. 153, 113365-113365.


Elderly Iraqi man
Our impact: Reporting wartime rights abuses

Researchers from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering have shown how harnessing social media can revolutionise the way we monitor human rights abuses.

Read more about our impact