Cyber Solidarity and the Power of Technology

Do you tweet?
I do. I tweet a lot.

My twitter profile ranges from human rights to hip hop, football to current affairs. At the end of last year, the UN Internet Summit was hosted in Turkey alongside the Turkish government’s prosecution of twitter users.

I feel like I have grown up alongside the progression of the internet and technology, my smartphone is almost an extension of myself, as I’m sure is true for more than just my generation. Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, #jesuischarlie was one of the most trended hashtags of all time. Nowadays people from across the world can take to the internet to demand justice for social disparities, and clarity on issues of human rights.

But how effective are we, as users of social media? Are you a sharer or a mobiliser? Do you repost articles on end about the world’s problems, but neglect to sign a petition or share campaigns to make a change?

Technology is something that Amnesty International has harnessed to tackle human rights abuses across the world. Coverage of the Boko Haram attacks last week was minimal until Amnesty released satellite images depicting the aftermath of the destruction in the two Nigerian towns. A death toll of approximately 2000 is so difficult to comprehend, 2000 is just a number until images of 620 buildings destroyed are available to the world.
Satellites also proved key to Amnesty’s North Korea campaign, as evidence of the extent of prison camps in the totalitarian state aided the pressure that led to the UN’s current investigation and action. Last year was the year of release for Amnesty’s ‘panic button’ app, providing an extra level of safety and communication between activists and supporters across the world.

Amnesty began with a pen and paper.But as I eagerly wait to watch ‘The Other Interview’ – Amnesty’s new film on North Korea – I know that my bond with Amnesty stems from its global online presence. Amnesty’s use of technology is embodied in all its work, not just research missions. Both Urgent Action and Pocket Protest networks give supporters the chance to take immediate action with the touch of a screen. On every level of human rights work and campaigning, technology can be used as an aid – something Amnesty still continues to prove.

Having said that, have you got the Amnesty app?
Were you one of the 1 million people that signed the petition to successfully free Meriam Ibrahim last summer?
The 1 million that took the few seconds to register and sign enabled one woman’s story to reach global headlines, and pressure the Sudanese government to grant her her freedom.

It’s down to us to use our lives of technological luxury to partake in campaigns that organisations like Amnesty have strived so much to create.

Cyber solidarity is more than just a hashtag.




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