DatNav: How to Navigate Digital Data in Human Rights Research


From online videos of war crimes, to satellite images of rights violations in areas as reclusive as North Korea, to eyewitness accounts disseminated on social media, we have access to more relevant data today than ever before.

These new data streams open up new opportunities for human rights documentation, and have a profound impact on how we conduct research at Amnesty International. For example, we recently used cell-phone video footage and satellite images to uncover a likely mass grave in Burundi. Due to lack of physical access, our work on Syria also relies heavily on content shared through social media and satellite image analysis. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST

Burundi in Crisis: Government Pursues Campaign of Intimidation

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza talks during an interview at the Westin hotel in Paris on June 4, 2014. (Photo credit: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images)

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza talks during an interview at the Westin hotel in Paris on June 4, 2014 (Photo credit: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images).

This blog posting is part of a series Amnesty USA is publishing to coincide with the U.S.-Africa Summitoccurring August 4-6, 2014. We are utilizing the series to highlight human rights concerns on the continent we feel critically need to be addressed during the summit discussions.

Contributed by Kenneth Harrow, Country Specialist on Burundi for Amnesty International USA

Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, a Burundian human rights defender, is one of the vital civil society members working for positive change in Africa. Sadly, his voice is currently silenced by the Burundi government.


Burundi: A Question of Justice?

An Amnesty International research team is currently in Burundi, where elections will be taking place in just two weeks. The team will be looking at the human rights situation during the elections. Tom Gibson, Amnesty’s campaigner on Burundi, is reporting. You can follow his blog here.

Today in Bujumbura, we attended the first session of the hearing into the death of Ernest Manirumva, a human rights defender killed on 9 April 2009. Manirumva was vice president of the Burundian civil society organization Anti-corruption and Economic Malpractice Observatory (OLUCOME), an organization that works on corruption.

We arrived at the courtroom just after nine. The proceedings started around half past ten. The trial has generated a lot of interest. The courtroom was packed with people. There seemed to be people of all ages and professions, human rights defenders, journalists, families of those concerned, mothers with children…. It seemed hotter in the courtroom than outside.

The judicial system in Burundi is massively under-resourced. The government just does not have the resources. The courtroom was in poor condition. The walls had seemingly not been painted for years. There were cobwebs hanging from the roof.

It was vital for Amnesty International to attend. This case is so important to civil society in Burundi. To see justice done – and done well – could spell an end to impunity for attacks on civil society.