Regional Program: Africa
The Africa team at WITNESS supports activists, movements, communities, lawyers and journalists to harness the power of video in the fight for justice and
Our work covers a range of issues including using video to expose cases of police brutality and war crimes so that perpetrators can be held to account; using video evidence to prove violations against mining host communities in order to remedy the injustice they have suffered; empowering individuals and groups with relevant skills to combat the spread of mis/disinformation; amongst others.
As more people continue to use their phones to expose violations of human rights, we have created this video resource to provide helpful guidance and tips on how you can effectively film human rights abuses so that justice and accountability can be achieved.
Activists, journalists and other voices across Africa speak to Nkem Agunwa on their lived experiences while exercising the right to record, how it helped expose human rights abuse and led to justice and accountability.
We focus on how internet shutdowns in Africa violate several human rights and foster impunity. We also offer some tips for how activists can document human rights abuses during an internet shutdown.
From Mexico to Nigeria, Syria to the United States, citizen journalists have bravely and strategically used video to expose human rights abuses and create change. In this episode, we go over some case studies and share tactics for documenting more trustworthy video evidence.
On this episode, we speak with Treasure Nduka, a Nigerian woman who was arrested for filming during the 2020 #EndSARS protests in Nigeria. Her arrest was caught on camera by a witness and that video was later used to secure Treasure’s release from police detention. Treasure’s story demonstrates the power of video evidence in achieving justice and the importance of civic engagement in the pursuit of accountability.
ENGAGEMENTS & PARTNERSHIPS
WITNESS HOSTS AFRICA CONVENING ON FORTIFYING COMMUNITY TRUTH IN THE AGE OF GENERATIVE AI AND SYNTHETIC MEDIA
Amidst the panic caused by synthetic media and generative AI, WITNESS has taken a proactive approach with our “Prepare, don’t panic” campaign. In March 2023, we convened a workshop in Nairobi on “Fortifying Community Truth in the Age of Synthetic Media” with over twenty five stakeholders from Africa to discuss the opportunities and threats of generative AI and explore pragmatic ways communities can fortify the truth. The workshop included community activists, journalists, creators, and fact-checkers. For more insights from the workshop, check out the workshop report here.
WITNESS RELEASES REPORT ADVOCATING FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AFRICAN COMMISSION’S ENDOROIS DECISION
WITNESS together with a coalition of NGOs advocating for the full implementation of the Endorois decision by the African Commission on Human and People’s rights issued a report on April 4 2022 on the non-implementation of the decision twelve years after. The coalition which includes Center for Minorities Right Development (CEMIRIDE), Endorois Welfare Council (EWC) and Minority Rights Group International (MRG) released the report which documents how the loss of the Endorois ancestral land has led to a vicious cycle of impoverishment and underdevelopment of the community. Read report here.
WITNESS CO-HOSTS THE VOICES AT RISK WORKSHOP
In partnership with High Commission of Canada to Nigeria we hosted the Voices At Risk workshop that brought together HRDs, community-based activists and journalists to develop effective strategies for how to stay safe (online and offline) while in the pursuit of justice, accountability and good governance. Click here to read the workshop report.
WITNESS HOSTS #ENDSARS MEMORIAL
In charting the path towards justice and accountability for victims of the 2020 #EndSARS protests, we organized a 1-year memorial event in Abuja tagged: From Capture to Justice on October 18 2021. The event featured a photo exhibition of images from the #EndSARS protests, captured by Benson Ibeabuchi – a photographer based in Lagos.
Considering that trustworthy video evidence will be integral to the pursuit of justice now and in the future, we launched the Bear Witness Kit which consists of a face cap and an accessories belt. Embedded in the face cap is a QR code which when scanned, will take the user to free resources that offer guidance on how to effectively use video to bear witness and expose injustice.
WITNESS HOSTS WEST AFRICAN CONVENING ON MIS/DISINFORMATION
From the 13-15th September 2021 we held a West African convening on mis/disinformation in Abuja, Nigeria. With the invaluable contributions of various stakeholders, we were able to successfully identify some specific solutions that would help combat the spread of mis/disinformation within our context.
Some of the key findings from the convening are the need to prioritise non-technological solutions; also, the need to build synergy between activists at the frontlines and media organisations with shared values. Furthermore, the need to implement targeted and coordinated media literacy campaigns that would prioritise grassroots communities was emphasised. Click here to read the convening report.