The Security Force Monitor promotes accountability for abuses by security and defense forces by investigating their command structures and operations. Our research enables advocates, lawyers, and journalists to determine which forces are responsible for human rights violations and then hold them accountable.

Human rights researchers, journalists, advocates, lawyers, and rightsholders working to hold security forces accountable for human rights abuses face a common challenge: there is no clear, detailed information on these forces. It can be difficult to find answers to simple questions, such as:

  • Who is in charge of the specialized anti-riot police unit?

  • What army unit has jurisdiction over what areas?

  • Where did this commander previously serve?

  • When was a particular police unit based in a specific city?

This basic information is essential when determining which security force members or units are responsible for specific violations. Public information on security forces is unstructured and scattered, and as a result it is prohibitively costly to research the security forces of a particular country. The Security Force Monitor analyzes thousands of records to create a searchable database and aid human rights researchers, litigators, and investigative journalists working to hold police, military, and other security forces accountable.

All our data is published on, the largest free online platform anyone can use to find details on the structure and activities of security and defense units. The Monitor has additional resources to foster accountability, including a database of two decades of United States foreign military training. We also innovate human rights research through our technical program, which analyzes the value and sustainability of emerging technologies, like Natural Language Processing.

Our partner-driven investigations have advanced accountability for large-scale human rights abuses and contributed to prosecutions and cutting-edge reporting, including: