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WITNESS uses the power of video to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. By partnering with local organizations around the globe, WITNESS empowers human rights defenders to use video as a tool to shine a light on those most affected by human rights violations, and to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools of justice. Since its founding in 1992, WITNESS has partnered with groups in more than 80 countries, bringing often unseen images, untold stories and seldom heard voices to the attention of key decision makers, the media, and the general public – prompting grassroots activism, political engagement, and lasting change.
WITNESS partners fight for the rights of indigenous people, for an end to systemic gender violence and the use of children as soldiers, and for environmental protection where human communities are at stake. We work with diverse groups from all over the world, carefully selecting our partners based on the strength of their human rights work, the clarity of their mission, and the ability of video to enhance their campaigns. We make sure their voices are heard. Even more important, we help empower them by mobilizing a response to right the wrongs they document.
WITNESS is much more than a provider of technology. We know that images are important, but footage alone is not enough to stop human rights violations. WITNESS makes a difference because we train our partners to turn compelling testimony and images into powerful human stories and strategic advocacy campaigns that make a difference.
WITNESS videos have been used: • to promote grassroots education and mobilization • to corroborate allegations of human rights violations • as a resource for news broadcasts • to catalyze human rights advocacy via the worldwide web • as evidence in court and quasi-judicial hearings • to complement official written reports of human rights abuses • as a deterrent to further abuse
WITNESS partner footage has appeared on major networks around the world, including CNN, ABC, CBS, PBS, and BBC. It is carried by satellite networks and film distribution companies and is frequently featured in film festivals worldwide. WITNESS also organizes like-minded coalitions to create powerful, wide-reaching campaigns. This approach enables many of WITNESS' videos to have an impact far beyond the modest resources we can provide.
WITNESS works with human rights groups through two initiatives: Core Partnerships, which are intensive 2-3 year collaborations built around specific issues, and the broader Seeding Video Advocacy initiative which consists of shorter term trainings conducted worldwide.