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About This Organization

An international nonprofit organization that uses the power of video and storytelling to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses.

On the Lokashakti Network since:
Friday, 27 January 2012

Year founded: 1988


80 Hanson Place, 5th Floor
Brooklyn, New York 11217
United States

Phone: +1 718 783 2000

Fax: +1 718 783 1593

Witness on:

Type of network resource:
  • Activist Organization
  • Internet Resource
  • Media Production


WITNESS is an international nonprofit organization that uses the power of video and storytelling to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. It was co-founded in 1992 by musician and human rights advocate Peter Gabriel, Human Rights First and the Reebok Human Rights Foundation.

WITNESS empowers human rights defenders to use video to fight injustice, and to transform personal stories of abuse into powerful tools that can pressure those in power or with power to act. By bringing often unseen images and seldom heard stories to the attention of key decision makers, the media, and the public–WITNESS catalyzes grassroots activism, political engagement, and lasting change. We bridge the worlds of human rights, media and technology by incorporating cutting-edge innovations into traditional approaches to advocacy. WITNESS’ unique contribution to the human rights community is to serve as global authority on best practices in the use of video for human rights purposes and a frontline resource for training and expertise.

How We Create Change

When WITNESS was founded, the impetus for its creation was the Rodney King, Jr. incident – in which a bystander captured ­­­­­evidence of police brutality on his handheld video camera. Our initial focus was to “give cameras to human rights activists around the world.” Since then, WITNESS has developed a comprehensive training approach focused on video advocacy – the use of video as an integrated tool in human rights campaigns. Throughout much of the world a new generation is emerging – confident, connected, and open to possibility. A world with “cameras everywhere” now gives us millions of potential witnesses to the Rodney King incidents of our time.

WITNESS is expanding its reach by putting our unique video advocacy resources online and making them adoptable and accessible for ordinary citizens around the world. Read more about our activities in training, campaigning, preservation and our Cameras Everywhere initiative.

By The Numbers

WITNESS has partnered with more than 300 human rights groups in over 80 countries, trained over 3,000 human rights defenders, developed widely-used training materials and tools, created the first dedicated online platform for human rights media (the HUB), and supported the inclusion of video in over 100 campaigns, increasing their visibility and impact globally. WITNESS engages millions of ordinary citizens in the struggles for human rights taking place every day all over the world.

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WITNESS: See it. Film it. Change it. 06:36
Last updated: 2012-01-27 07:52:37
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