From Aleppo to Alabama, human rights are under escalating attack. And with the majority of the world’s population with a camera in their pocket, people everywhere are turning to video to document and share abuse. But all too often, they are not filming safely or effectively, and their videos don’t make a difference.
At this key moment of both crisis and hopeful resistance, WITNESS is marking our 25th anniversary. For 25 years, our mission has been to make it possible for anyone, anywhere to harness the power of video and technology to protect human rights. In that time, WITNESS has trained more than 7000 people from over 100 countries, produced training materials in 23 languages, and reached more than one million online with our resources.
Using our techniques, ordinary citizens have documented evidence of war crimes, overturned discriminatory laws, secured justice for survivors of gender-based violence and safeguarded indigenous lands against extractive industries. We believe that equipped with the right tools and guidance, many more people could use video to win justice and dignity for their communities.
In 2017, the struggle for human rights is at a critical juncture, as are rapid innovations in video and technology. WITNESS’ experience at the nexus of these worlds situates us to build upon a quarter century of impact in this urgent moment — but we need your support to do it.
That is why we are launching the Million Witnesses Campaign, an ambitious initiative to raise $1 million to grow our work equipping communities around the U.S. and the world to effectively, ethically and safely utilize video and technology for human rights change.
- Collaborate with communities on the frontlines of abuse to expand literacy in the use of video and technology;
In the days after the U.S. presidential election, when nearly 900 hate incidents were reported across the country, we quickly produced and distributed our “Filming Hate” tip sheet, which was accessed more than 10,000 times.
- Innovate to harness the constantly evolving technology landscape;
With partners in Syria and beyond, we created the first-ever comprehensive Video as Evidence guide; this year our Syrian partners will bring their footage, curated with our guidance, before the International Criminal Court.
- Advocate to technology companies to catalyze change on the systems level.
After years of WITNESS advocacy, YouTube released its Custom Blur Tool enabling users to blur faces and other sensitive content in a video before uploading, allowing citizens sharing testimony of human rights violations to safeguard details that could lead to people being targeted.
Our vision was always about more than cameras and more than visibility. We envision a world where anyone, anywhere has the power to stand up for justice, dignity and equality. Where more video can lead to more rights.
We are poised to build on our more than two decades of experience and expertise. We are partnering with leading activists and community leaders, who we refer to as “influencers” because they create a powerful multiplier effect. By supporting these leaders to use video safely and effectively and to pass those skills onto their communities, we can achieve unprecedented scale.
But we can’t do it without you!
By supporting the Million Witnesses Campaign you make it possible for millions more to harness the power of video and technology in the pursuit of justice.