Posts Tagged ‘activists’

Podcasting in Human Rights: an underestimated tool

May 2, 2018

New Tactics is organizing podcast conversations on the potential of podcasting in human rights activism and the power of narrative storytelling. Hosted by Gianna Brassil. Podcasts are downloadable episodes of audio content, typically part of a series on a thematic topic. Over the past few years, podcasts have grown into a dynamic media form, with niche shows catering to listeners’ political, cultural, educational, musical, and technological audio palate. While podcasts are often produced by professional radio stations, they can also be created independent media creators. The freelance nature of podcasts makes them a unique tool for activists who want to broaden the audience of their message through a low-cost means.

New Tactics created its own podcast that explores issues of representation, the value of oral storytelling, and accessibility in creating independent media. The tension between a podcast’s entertainment value and the representation of human suffering is a topic that we grapple with in our podcast. We ask questions about how we can create stories that are honest and empathetic, meanwhile knowing that sometimes it is impossible to “create comprehensible stories out of the incomprehensible” (That the World May Know, James Dawes). Our podcast guests also discuss the uniqueness of voices and oral storytelling as tools to re-humanize conflicts and highlight the experiences of individual human lives. Finally, we discuss the accessibility of podcasts. With a microphone, simple audio editing software like Adobe Audition or Garageband, and an online platform such as Soundcloud to distribute episodes, activists can reach countless potential listeners. The power of becoming a media creator cannot be underestimated, and this episode seeks to demonstrate how media creators have the ability to reshape the landscape of representation, define for themselves what it means to be a human rights activist, and nuance an audience’s conception of how human rights stories can be told.

https://newtactics.us5.list-manage.com/track/click?u=acc46cd2cef604ae60bd5355b&id=181aceb2b1&e=0cf25f99e0

The Dictator Hunter works from home

February 21, 2017

This blog tries to stick as much as possible to the core issue of human rights defenders and leaves general activism (even when inspired by human rights concerns) to other blogs. Now I want to make an exception for a personal Call for Action issued on 12 February 2017 by my good friend and well-known human rights defender, Reed Brody [https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/reed-brody/], who has earned his nickname The Dictator Hunter:

He passionately feels that we should all do more to stop Trump (and his admirers in Europe). Here the full text:

A letter from America to my friends abroad

Many of you are watching events in the United States and asking what is going on – and what you can do. 

Yes, this is the most dangerous moment for the US and for the world in my lifetime. A US president with total disregard for the foundations of a constitutional democracy – checks and balances, the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press, the protection of minorities, reasoned debate – has near-complete control over the official levers of power: the executive branch (including the CIA, FBI, NSA), both houses of Congress, and perhaps soon the judiciary. 

On the other hand, I have never witnessed in my country the kind of mobilization we are seeing today. The nationwide Women’s Marches were the largest demonstrations in US history, but it was only the beginning. Each day brings new acts of resistance. When the “Muslim ban” was announced (a crude and cruel measure only designed to stoke fear and portray the president as the people’s protector), people spontaneously flooded the airports around the country, New York taxi drivers went on strike. When Uber tried to profit from the strike, 200,000 customers deleted their Uber accounts. Bodegas in New York closed to protest the ban. All around the country, citizens are packing elected officials’ town hall meetings, flooding Congress with petitions, postcards, and phone calls. The premier legal organization challenging Trump’s actions, the American Civil Liberties Union, raised $24 million in the days following the Ban. This week, 1,200 people crowded into my neighborhood synagogue to organize the next stages of the resistance in Brooklyn, and the same thing is happening all over the country. Everything is political. Sports. Oscars. Consumer choices. Companies are being forced to take stands, and many of them, particularly in high-tech and globalized industries, are opposing the president. 

It’s important to remember that WE are the majority. We are also the large majority in the places that matter most to the economy – New York, California, Washington DC, in almost all the nation’s cities.

This epic battle for the soul of my country is just beginning. The outcome is uncertain. The next terrorist attack, and the one after, will surely test us even more.

Ultimately it will be Americans who decide the fate of the US but there are many ways you can help.

-Protest, protest protest! People marched around the world marched with us on January 21, but it can’t stop there. The more organized protests at US embassies and symbols of US power the better. 

– Don’t give Trump the respect he doesn’t deserve. This week, the speaker of the House of Commons said that he would oppose having Trump address Parliament. Over 1.8 million Brits have signed a petition against any Trump visit. When Trump visits the UK, or anywhere, let him know how the people of the world feel. 

-Demand that your leaders stand up to Trump. Angela Merkel reminded Trump of the US’s obligations under the Refugee Convention. François Hollande has been outspoken. (Unlike Spain’s Rajoy who offered to be an “intermediary” for Trump in Europe and Latin America). 

-Like Canada’s Justin Trudeau, leaders should publicly welcome all people from all countries and specifically assure nationals of the 7 “banned” countries that they will be allowed in.

-Ask your country to rebuke Trump’s measures which violate international law such as the Muslim ban in international fora such as the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly. The ACLU and other groups are already challenging these actions before the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights.

-Remind non-US companies that they also have obligations, as US law professors did when they wrote to European air carriers https://www-cdn.law.stanford.edu/…/Stanford-Law-Professors-… to ensure the rights of travelers. 

-Academics, experts, companies and even countries can join litigation in the US with “amicus curaie,” or “friends of the court” briefs. The legal attack on the Muslim ban has been joined https://lawfareblog.com/litigation-documents-resources-rela… by hundreds of technology companies, professors, cities and states, but it would be important for foreign voices to be heard on this and (probably) forthcoming cases.

-Boycott Trump products. Like a third-word kleptocratic dictator (and I know a thing or two) Trump is openly mixing the public and the private. Hit him where it hurts – his brand, his ego and his pocketbook. Phone numbers of his hotels are here  https://twitter.com/billmckibb…/…/829412430157602816/photo/1 A list with retailers that do business with the Trump family and whose boycott is sought by #GrabYourWallet ( as in Grab her Pussy) here
https://grabyourwallet.org/Boycott%20These%20Companies.html

-Join the over 5 million people who have signed Avaaz’s Global Open Letter to Donald Trump. https://secure.avaaz.org/cam…/…/president_trump_letter_loc/…

-Watch the daily TV show Democracy Now on the internet – it’s where progressives in the US get their news and connect to all the struggles here and abroad. https://www.democracynow.org/

Even if you live abroad, you can join and give your support to the groups that are defending our liberties like the Center for Constitutional Rights, Planned Parenthood, Democracy Now, the ACLU. The Nation’s Katha Politt lists some groups here https://www.thenation.com/…/you-might-not-be-in-the-mood-t…/ Here is a longer list http://www.advocate.com/…/24-trump-fighting-charities-need-… – 

-If the travel ban, or some version of it, is reinstated, we will need volunteers and volunteer lawyers at airports around the world to help stranded travelers and to communicate with volunteers at US airports .

Trump (“Only America first”) doesn’t care about what the rest of the world thinks, but the US political and economic establishment on whose acquiescence he depends does care. Make clear that a racist islamophobic US government will not enjoy the same status and goodwill. 

Most important, don’t let what happened in the US happen in your country!! Trump “won” the US election (just as Brexit prevailed) by building the fear of foreigners and because too many people (white working class) did not see the political system as working for them. The Democratic Party essentially imposed a candidate who many saw as the embodiment of an out-of-touch elite. The same thing now threatens to happen in France, the Netherlands and elsewhere. Please don’t let it. We need you to make a better world together.

In Solidarity

Reed Brody
reedbrody@gmail.com
twitter @reedbrody

 

Nigeria: “Human rights activists of today are cowards, they are afraid to die for the course they are pursuing”

February 20, 2017

This rather shocking statement comes from Nigeria. Two newspapers sources (Vanguard.com and The Anchor on Line) report on events held to mark ’50 years activism’ by the Agbaakin Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oloye Rasheed Olalekan Alabi, where such hyperbolic language was employed. One was held on 21 January 2017 at the Nigeria Union of Journalists’ Press Centre, Ibadan. The other on 20 February in the Excellence Hotel, Lagos State. Other strong language was used there to make Nigerian youth more aware and committed…read of yourself…:

Agbaakin Olubadan, Oloye ‘Lekan Alabi Marks 50 Years of Human Rights Activism

Read the rest of this entry »

Democracy activist Nurul Izzah Anwar talks about Malaysia

May 31, 2015

On 26 May 2015, Nurul Izzah Anwar, Malaysian MP and daughter of imprisoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, spoke at the Oslo Freedom Forum. In this video he describes how she was drawn into the opposition movement in Malaysia. She tells us about rampant government corruption, the country’s defunct judicial system, and how the government targets dissidents and attempts to limit change. Anwar explains how the lack of genuine parliamentary immunity prevents Malaysian politicians from speaking against the government. She reminds us that “Malaysia’s most wanted” are the activists that challenge the government, and expresses the hope that Malaysia’s future belongs to those seeking a more democratic and fair country.

Defending Human Rights – Online Programme by York University

November 26, 2014

Defending Human Rights” is a part-time distance learning programme delivered wholly online in a fully supported environment by the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the
University of York in the UK. The programme was piloted successfully last year, with the support of the Sigrid Rausing Trust and Open Society Foundation. Students can take one, two or three modules as a continuing professional development student, without academic credit, or complete all three modules as a postgraduate student, with academic credit. Postgraduate students who complete all three credit-bearing modules are awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Defending Human Rights.

  • Scholarships available to cover 50% of fees (especially several people sign up from one organisation).
  • Online teaching by tutors and guest lecturers with practical field experience
  • Modules in International Human Rights Law and Advocacy, Working Safely: Managing Risk and Strengthening Protection, and Leading and Managing Effective Human Rights Organisations.

The Centre is now accepting applications for the Post Graduate Certificate, commencing in January 2015.  For more details, see http://www.york.ac.uk/cahr/studying/online/#tab-1

Six Members of Blogging Collective “Zone 9” Arrested in Ethiopia

April 29, 2014

zonenine

On April 25, six members of the Zone Nine blogging collective were arrested in Ethiopia. They are now reported to being held at Maekelawi, a detention center in Addis Ababa. News of the arrests first broke on Twitter, where fellow bloggers and social media users voiced support for those arrested and expressed their own fears about what may be to come. Writer Bisrat Teshome, who lives in Addis Ababa, tweeted: “Terrified with the rant of EPRDF on journalists & bloggers. I almost fainted when my door was knocked at about 7pm. #Ethiopia — Bisrat Teshome (@_Bisre)“. As of this evening, no charges had been issued to the members of our group.

[Formed in 2012, the Zone Nine group has leveraged significant critiques of ruling government policy and practice through online campaigns in an effort to raise awareness about political repression in the country. Translating international news for local audiences — through partnership with Global Voices, launched Global Voices in Amharic two years ago. Have been a surveillance target of the Ethiopian government.]

[Kality prison is divided into eight different zones, the last of which — Zone Eight — is dedicated to journalists, human right activists and dissidents. Thus the name of the blog for the proverbial prison in which all Ethiopians live: Zone Nine]

via Six Members of Blogging Collective Arrested in Ethiopia – Global Voices Advocacy.

Archiving video should not be a dirty word for Human Rights Defenders

January 22, 2014

This blog has often referred to the growing role of images in the protection of human rights. The Activists Guide to Archiving Video produced by the NGO Witness is one tool that can greatly help those who want to be part of this development. The term “archive” may turn off many human rights defenders as something boring or at least not deserving priority but to neglect it would be a big error. As the Witness guide explains very clearly:

  • Do you want your videos to be available in the future?
  • Do you want your videos to serve as evidence of crimes or human rights abuses?
  • Do you want your videos to raise awareness and educate future generations?

The risks of not archiving are big:

  1. Your videos may exist somewhere, but no one can find them.
  2. Someone may find your videos, but cannot understand what they are about.
  3. Your videos cannot be sufficiently authenticated or corroborated as evidence.
  4. Your videos’ quality may become so degraded that no one can use them.
  5. Your videos may be in a format that eventually no one can play.
  6. Your videos may be accidentally or deliberately deleted and lost forever.

In further sections the Guide help to understand how videos can be made accessible (shared) and brings clarity to tricky issues such as the different formats and copyright.

Worth a visit!!

Activists Guide to Archiving Video | archiveguide.witness.org.

Mexican Rocío Mesino, an emblematic human rights defender, murdered like so many others

October 26, 2013

logo completo

On Saturday, the 19th of  October  2013 , around 1:00 pm, Rocío Mesino Mesino, leader of the Peasant Organization of the Southern Sierra (OCSS ), was killed in the town of Mexcaltepec, municipality of Atoyac de Alvarez, in the state of Guerrero, Mexcio. Read the rest of this entry »

Criminalization of rights defenders and impunity for police in Burma

May 20, 2013

English: Map showing Sagaing Region in Burma

Sagaing Region in Burma (credit: Wikipedia)

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) condemns in the strongest terms the announcement of the commander of the Sagaing Region Police Force, Myanmar, that the police will arrest and charge eight human rights defenders whom it blames for inciting protests against the army-backed copper mine project in Monywa. The Commission also condemns the latest round of needless police violence against demonstrators there. According to an undated announcement just issued by the regional commander of the Myanmar Police Force, a copy of which the AHRC has obtained, the police will lodge charges against eight persons for allegedly provoking demonstrations and other supposedly illegal actions. The persons named include six members of the Yangon Peoples Support Network. The other two persons are Han Win Aung of the Political Prisoners Families Beneficial Network and Thaung Taik Oo of the Yangon Institute of Technology Students Union (18 charges!). The announcement goes on to warn that failure to provide information leading to the apprehension of these persons or harbouring of them constitute criminal offenses. Read the rest of this entry »

How to turn a mobile phone into an alert system for human rights defenders: AI’s Panic Button

April 17, 2013

image of mobile phone

Last week I reported on the Natalia bracelet and yesterday my eye fell on a lengthy piece posted on Amnesty International‘s Livewire by Technology and Human Rights Project Officer Tanya O’Carroll. It describes how emerging digital tools will help activists and human rights defenders. http://livewire.amnesty.org/2013/04/15/how-to-turn-a-mobile-phone-into-an-alert-system-for-activists/.

As a student activist speaking out against the government, Hassan is at constant threat of being arrested. The Sudanese government tracks and harasses members of the student movement he belongs to. Reports of his friends and contacts being detained, tortured and even killed by the authorities are frighteningly regular. But Hassan’s network is also well organized. His phone is always on him and he uses it to help organize demonstrations, to record and disseminate video of violent crackdowns against the students and to keep his network updated every minute – a network that stretches from Khartoum to the rest of the globe in the time it takes to send a tweet. If he is able to get word out that he’s been arrested, Hassan knows that his network’s response will be swift and structured. The problem is that he knows the first thing the authorities will seize is his mobile phone. And here’s the double danger of not getting word out: the authorities will use the phone book, call log, messages and any open apps – such as G-Mail or Facebook – to identify and track others. Without knowledge of the arrest, the whole network will be easily compromised. Read the rest of this entry »