New Technologies and Human Rights

Background and Introduction

The advent of the Arab Spring in 2011 showed the increasing and dramatic role for the impact of new technologies on reporting daily events relating to human rights. In particular social media and smart phones have been instrumental in documenting human rights developments in the region and elsewhere in the world.

Indeed, the world learned more about the political developments during the Iranian elections in 2009 through Twitter than through more traditional newswire sources, while the governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria sought to curb access to and functionality of the internet and mobile communications in an effort to quell popular mobilisation.

Throughout the last decade social networking technology and Web 2.0 developments have changed the ways in which human communities interact and develop. Technologies for data capture and data analysis have developed considerably across a range of applications for work on human rights. In the UK, the developments at the Dale Farm site in Essex have been documented through an ongoing blog and website, while SMS systems have been established for legal observation of the proposed eviction.

Purpose of the Seminar

This free seminar seeks to explore the different ways new technologies can be used to monitor, map and document human rights developments at the local, national and international level. It brings together experts from the University of Essex and partner organisations who are using new technologies for human rights awareness, analysis, and advocacy.

Key Questions

  • In what ways have the new technologies assisted in human rights work? 
  • In what ways have the new technologies assisted in building mobilisation networks for human rights? 
  • How do social networks and new communications technologies change the ways groups articulate and aggregate demands for change? 
  • In what way have new technologies compromised efforts at bringing about progressive social change? 
  • In what ways have new technologies created new problems for human rights work?

The seminar will include demonstrations of software solutions being developed for human rights work.

Chaired by Professor Todd Landman, Director of the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (IDCR) at the University of Essex, speakers will include:


Date: 15 December 2011
Time: 09:30 to 13:00
Location: City Presentation Centre, 4 Chiswell Street, London, EC1Y 4UP

To register, click here

Places are limited so please book to avoid disappointment.


Further Information: 

Owner: University of Essex Seminar Series in association with the Institute for Democracy and Conflict Resolutionpdf:


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