Regional Programs
WITNESS has team members based in Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Senegal, Turkey, and the United States. We create local impact in collaboration with grassroots activists, journalists, lawyers, NGOs, and media makers then, we apply what we learn at a local level to the wider landscape of human rights video.
AFRICA – SUB SAHARAN REGION

We’re supporting groups across Africa using video for evidence to prosecute war crimes, election monitoring, combating gender-based violence and discrimination against LGBTQ communities, and documenting abuse by extractive industries.  

Projects and partners include:

  • Using video to prosecute international crimes

We are partnering with TRIAL International to train lawyers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the challenges and processes of using video as evidence.

  • Documenting gender-based violence

Our Interviewing Survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence guide is used in trainings across the continent in seven regional languages including French, Shona, Swahili, Xhosa and Zulu.

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

The Asia & Pacific team combats religious fundamentalism and ethnic cleansing, and supports post-war rebuilding through trainings and the distribution of resources.

Projects and partners include:

  • Training activists across southeast Asia

WITNESS partners with EngageMedia to hold our Annual Video Camp which covers the basics of video, organizing, and using video for advocacy.

  • Increasing reach of free resources

Working with an international network, WITNESS has translated our free resources, including those on archiving video, documenting forced evictions, filming acts of hate, and filming with a mobile phone into Khmer, Burmese, Thai, Hindi and Vietnamese, with more translations in development.

  • Mobilizing the public in documenting elections + protests

We adapted our Top Ten Filming Tips to support the Bersih 5 protests in Malaysia; the protests drew thousands rallying for election reform to Kuala Lumpur.

Follow our work across Asia & The Pacific via our regional email newsletter, Facebook and Twitter.

LATIN AMERICA & CARIBBEAN

We currently have regional teams based in Mexico City, Mexico and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil supporting local activists in their fight against extractive industries, police violence, and for indigenous rights.   

Projects and partners include:

  • Exposing police violence in Rio’s favelas

We are working closely with communities to use video and demand accountability for police violence in Rio’s favelas. Recently, we helped the public prosecutor use social media video as evidence in court against a staged murder of a young boy and are amplifying the call to stop the killings of black youth in the favelas.

  • Securing land rights in Mexico

WITNESS resources and training helped the the indigenous Juba Wajiin community stop illegal mining operations on their lands.

  • Fighting Deforestation for Indigenous Communities

WITNESS is working on All Eyes on the Amazon with an international coalition that includes HIVOS and Greenpeace; our support and training enables communities to hold parties responsible by collecting evidence for advocacy and evidence at national and international venues and courts. This coalition will use drones, phones and satellite imagery to collect evidence of environmental and human rights crimes. In turn, this evidence will be used for advocacy and accountability in front of international venues and courts.

Follow our work across Latin America and the Caribbean via our regional email newsletter, Facebook and Twitter.

MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA

The 2011 Arab Spring created an online, interconnected revolution that heavily utilized mobile filming. WITNESS builds on this evolving network by training activists on filming, advocacy, and security in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region.

Projects and partners include:

  • Building a database of war crimes

We have been supporting the independent organization, Syrian Archive, to create a database of verified, contextualized videos from Syria’s ongoing war. Their database and reports have become critical resources for lawyers, journalists, and researchers investigating human rights crimes committed during the conflict.

  • Investigating perpetrator video

News reports from the last 5+ years have shown increasing amount of perpetrator-shot video of human rights abuses. The videos serve as propaganda and intimidation tactics, but are also shaping the practice of extraterritorial jurisdiction. We are reviewing hundreds of hours of perpetrator video—filmed mostly in Syria—in order to study patterns of use and sharing, build case studies on verification, and enhance our ethical guidelines. Drawing upon our knowledge and guidance on perpetrator-sourced media, we aim to share our learnings for use by the wider activist, legal and media communities.

  • Documenting abuse in closed societies

Western Sahara is one of the world’s last remaining colonies—human rights violations are routinely committed by the occupying country, Morocco, against its indigenous Sahrawi population. Yet very rarely do reports, footage, testimony or other evidence of abuse emerge and come  to the attention of the international community due to severe restrictions on media. Watching Western Sahara provides curated and contextualized eyewitness videos so that reporters and human rights monitors can better understand and document the human rights issues that Sahrawis face today. Learnings from this and other innovative documentation projects are featured in our Curate For Justice blog series.

  • Establishing networks and distributing resources

Our team builds online tools, supports independent journalists, and develops media literacy training resources that aim to improve citizen journalism and limit the spread of rumors and misinformation.

Follow our work across MENA via our regional email newsletter, Facebook and Twitter.

UNITED STATES

Our Brooklyn-based U.S. team focuses on the nationwide issues of police accountability, immigrant rights, indigenous rights, and LGBTQ rights.

Projects and partners include:

  • Caught on Camera: Police Violence in the U.S.

Our review of police violence cases explores the role of video in attaining accountability and points to ways that filmers, advocates, journalists, and the justice system can use video effectively.

  • Video as Evidence: Documenting Standing Rock  

We worked with groups defending Sioux lands from the Dakota Access pipeline construction, tailoring our Video as Evidence field guide to support the documentation of environmental destruction and of police abuse at Standing Rock. The WITNESS Media Lab also released a groundbreaking report, “Eyes in the Sky: Drones at Standing Rock and the Next Frontier of Human Rights Video.”

  • Eyes On ICE

We are responding to recent spikes in arrests and deportations of undocumented immigrants with new resources like our Filming ICE tip sheet and a webinar series with the Immigrant Defense Project. The webinars address the specific legal issues faced by undocumented immigrants and the rights of activists fighting for immigrant rights.  

  • Capturing Hate

A WITNESS Media Lab report that explores how eyewitness videos provide new sources of data on the prevalence of transphobic violence.

  • Check out all of the resources we’ve tailored for activists in the U.S.

 

Follow our work in the United States via our email newsletter, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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