Crowdsourcing Human Rights

Faisal Al Mutar at The World Post: “The Internet has also allowed activists to access information as never before. I recently joined the team, a part of the New York-based organization, Advancing Human Rights. This new platform allows activists from closed societies to connect directly with people around the world with skills to help them. In the first month of its launch, thousands of activists from 92 countries have come to to defend human rights. is a promising example of how technology can be utilized by activists to change the world. Dissidents from some of the most repressive dictatorships — Russia, Iran, Syria and China — are connecting with individuals from around the globe who have unique skills to aid them.

Here are just a few of the recent success stories:

  • A leading Saudi expert on combatting state-sponsored incitement in textbooks posted a request to speak with members of the German government due to their strict anti-hate-speech laws. A former foundation executive connected him with senior German officials.
  • A secular Syrian group posted a request for PR aid to explain to Americans that the opposition is not comprised solely of radical elements. The founder of a strategic communication firm based in Los Angeles responded and offered help.
  • A Yemeni dissident asked for help creating a radio station focused on youth empowerment. He was contacted by a Syrian dissident who set up Syrian radio programs to offer advice.
  • Journalists from leading newspapers offered to tell human rights stories and connected with activists from dictatorships.
  • A request was created for a song to commemorate the life of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russia tax lawyer who died in prisoner. A NYC-based song-writer created a beautiful song and activists from Russia (including a member of Pussy Riot) filmed a music video of it.
  • North Korean defectors posted requests to get information in and out of their country and technologists posted offers to help with radio and satellite communication systems.
  • A former Iranian political prisoner posted a request to help sustain his radio station which broadcasts into Iran and helps keep information flowing to Iranians.

There are more and more cases everyday….(More)