We are a global human rights organization, a collective of passionate human rights activists with remote team members all over the world. WITNESS’ mission is to help people use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. We are a 50 person multi-disciplinary team with staff based across 5 continents. We are registered as a 501(c)3 non-profit in the U.S, but with staff members (as well as consultants, interns, fellows and a vast community of partners and collaborators) based around the world and reflect a group of activists with diverse skills and backgrounds.
WHAT WE DO
WITNESS pairs grassroots community support with advocacy at a systems level. Our team works holistically on a global scale to understand how communities are using and want to use video and technology for human rights. With a cellphone camera, anyone can become a human rights defender and expose injustice, making it harder for perpetrators to hide or for systems of oppression to remain invisible. But using video for community organizing, justice and accountability can be dangerous – videos can put defenders (or those they film) at risk, can be used against communities in court or deceitfully discredited by tired old power narratives. Filming is almost never enough – for videos to make a difference they need to work alongside strong advocacy or legal strategies; they also need to be created, preserved, and shared in ways that avoid creating more harm or trauma.
New threats to human rights are emerging at the intersection of artificial intelligence, misinformation and disinformation, and a global wave of rising authoritarianism. When it comes to systemic challenges we are on the watch for both existing problems – like how large amounts of critical human rights footage are lost because of the arbitrary decisions of platforms – but also emerging threats and opportunities, such as those posed by ‘deepfakes’, new ways to manipulate media to make it look like someone said or did something they never did.