Our Amnesty Winter 2016 magazine Issue 191 arrived. It contains some really interesting stories about campaigns, the human rights act and who it supports, and stories from people all over the world fighting for human rights.
Since our project is based solely on who Amnesty are and what they do as an organisation, it’s imperative that our research is deeply involved and consistent. Amnesty is so large and at times, it’s hard to keep up with their campaigns and stories of those whose rights have been demolished. Humanitarian crises are happening all over the world in many countries. To keep research current and somewhat organised, we have signed up to the organisation to receive a magazine every month.
There is an excerpt from the magazine called ‘Decoding Darfur’, which describes the armed conflict in Sudan’s Darfur province and the worldwide network of Amnesty supporters helping to build up the evidence. This was of particular interest to us as Alice Podd made reference to this case in an interview with her last week.
The Amnesty researchers cannot enter Darfur, however they are able to obtain satellite imagery. So, in October Amnesty set up the ‘Decode Darfur’ interactive platform, which enables people to use their phone, laptop or tablet to analyse areas of bombings or chemical weapons attacks. By comparing recent images with those from the past, it is obvious where homes, farms, schools and wells used to be – and what has happened to them since. The evidence collected is used to strengthen Amnesty’s case when lobbying the international community.
“On the first day of the project, 4,500 digital volunteers spent a total of 525 hours analysing over 33,000 square kilometres of imagery. By the end of the month, over 16,000 people had taken part” – Amnesty Winter 2016 Issue 191, page 4.
Reading this and having spoken to Podd, we again about Amnesty’s aims. They are not only out to gain sign-ups and awareness – this is a global standard in terms of all charities and organisations. Above all, Amnesty massively needs to obtain evidence in order to lobby campaigns. Lobbying, confirmed by Podd, is a massively drawn out process and it can take years for anything to happen. However, the stronger the evidence, the stronger the case.
Light bulb moment. Wouldn’t it be highly desirable for Amnesty if we designed some form of interactive technology that captures evidence to support a lobbying case? There are, of course, constraints involved.
Capturing evidence means entering the realm of legalities and potential danger. Decoding Darfur wasn’t dangerous though, as anyone from anywhere in the world connected to a device could look for evidence in the satellite images available to everyone. We could again meet with Podd to enquire about what evidence can legally be obtained by the public in order to help a particular case.
Either way, we’ve established that a major aim of Amnesty is their ability to connect to the network of Amnesty supporters to obtain evidence in support of a lobby.