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Saturday, June 16, 2007

On Human Rights and Citizen Journalism: Peter Gabriel

Peter Gabriel's WITNESS
Organization Turns the Eyes of the World to Human Rights Violations

Published Apr 26, 2006

Co-founded in 1992 by musician and human rights activist Peter Gabriel and the Reebok Foundation for Human Rights, WITNESS is an organization that uses the power of modern technology to expose violations of human rights all over the world.

By providing video cameras to crusaders and organizations that fight personal and political abuse, WITNESS has been effective in bringing to light injustice and exploitation that might otherwise have continued unfettered.

WITNESS’ Mission
WITNESS uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. By partnering with local organizations around the globe, WITNESS empowers human rights defenders to use video to shine a light on those most affected by human rights violations, and to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools of justice. Over the past decade, WITNESS has partnered with groups in more than 60 countries, bringing often unseen images, untold stories and seldom heard voices to the attention of key decision makers, the media, and the general public - catalyzing grassroots activism, political engagement, and lasting change ( Default/About_WITNESS/).

Although the funding and providing of the necessary equipment is an important part of WITNESS’ mission, it is still only a small part of the work they do. Working with various associations throughout the world, including grassroots organizations, individuals, corporations, political groups, and human rights organizations, WITNESS also educates and trains their partners to capture and document violations in action and to record the stories of victims and witnesses in a manner that will provide the most compelling evidence of the abuse suffered by the violated at the hands of those who would hold power over them.

What Can You Do?
Membership to WITNESS is open to any and all who would join them in their fight against human rights violations. You can become a member by visiting There is an online membership form that will enroll you instantly, and membership is free. Members receive periodic updates about the most recent work WITNESS is doing, what successes they have had since their last update, and what help they currently need in their fight against abuse.

If you prefer to donate to Witness, there is also an online form which can be used to make a donation by credit card. If you prefer, checks can be sent to WITNESS, Attn: Sara Federlein, Development and Special Projects Manager, 80 Hanson Place, 5th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11217, USA.

The donation page of the website includes a list of the supplies and training resources that can be funded by your donation amount. If you would like your money to go toward a particular resource, you can specify where your donation should go.

WITNESS also accepts volunteers. Volunteers can work in their home office in Brooklyn, New York, abroad, or in their home communities. They also offer various internships to individuals interested in joining in the fight against human rights abuse.

In order to get a good idea of the kinds of work WITNESS is doing, and the injustices that the organization is exposing, check out some of the videos on their website. The videos are excellent examples of the work they are doing.


Peter Gabriel on human rights and citizen journalism

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