[Originally published here as part of WITNESS’s collaboration with Global Voices Online]
You’d be forgiven for thinking it’s been Saddam, Saddam, Saddam, in recent weeks, but GV has covered other human rights videos that deserve a bit of limelight – so, in this regular new feature, I’m going to round up the best of those recent stories.
Something for WITNESS’s Amazon Wishlist [via Veronica]
First to Pawlina, host of a Ukrainian radio show in Vancouver, Canada, who blogs about human trafficking at The Natashas. After her post in late December commending Ukrainian pop star Ruslana for releasing a video condemning human trafficking, Pawlina praises another musician, Peter Gabriel, for founding WITNESS, but, under the title “Some human rights abuses harder to expose than others”, offers some advice:
It’s very commendable of rock stars to help expose human rights abuses around the world.
British rock legend Peter Gabriel has formd an organization called Witness that provides video equipment to human rights activists to record such abuses.
I suspect he may not be aware of the horrific abuses suffered by hundreds of thousands of young women and even children, at the hands of human traffickers pandering to men seeking instant, no-strings-attached sexual gratification.
In which case, someone should send him a copy of The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade.
Then again, no doubt it would be extremely difficult to film what goes on behind the closed doors and barred windows of brothels and “breaking grounds”, much less expose it to public view.
In fact WITNESS did produce a documentary about trafficking in 1997, Bought And Sold, but Pawlina’s right – it’s proving quite difficult to find footage from behind those “closed doors and barred windows” – so if you have seen, or even filmed footage of that kind, please email me (email address at the end of the article) to let me know.
Knocking on doors and making things happen [via Neha]
Opening doors and unbarring windows, India’s Drishti collective have set in motion some pretty impressive video magazines made by their seven Community Video Units. The magazines often make for uncomfortable viewing for local officials, as this post from Reflections in a Window Pane shows. One of the CVUs is hosted by Navsarjan in Gujarat. When one Dalit community in Saurashtra, northern Gujarat, complained that a water-processing plant designed to lower the levels of fluoride in their water had not been used for three years, they met official stonewalling. The Navsarjan CVU’s video magazine asked why, and after the magazine was screened to the whole community, including the relevant officials, the water-processing plant was turned back on.
Drishti works with Video Volunteers and you can see a presentation by Gavin White, of Video Volunteers here. I hope to feature some of Drishti’s video soon.
Do videos show Nepali police joining in ethnic riots? [also via Neha]
In neighbouring Nepal, youths from the Pahadi community clashed with people from the Madhesi community, and businesses and houses burned in the western Nepali city of Nepalgunj in late December. Paramendra Bhagat at Democracy for Nepal presents three video extracts of the aftermath, claiming that the clashes were in fact a “hate crime” by the Pahadis against the Madhesis. Now the Nepali Times is reporting that the local police were seen attacking Madhesis too. All this is leading some commentators to fear that, with the entry of the Maoists into politics, ethnic rivalries may enter Nepal’s politics.
Were the 2006 Fiji elections rigged? [via Preetam]
Fiji’s military, which took power in a coup d’etat in 2006, released a video that purports to show senior members of the former ruling party, the SDL, admitting vote-rigging and interfering with ballot boxes. FijiBuzz uploads the video, but meets sceptical responses from commenters on two counts: first, that the man who shot the video, Peter Foster, is said to be a conman who can’t be trusted, and second, commenters think that the video fits too neatly with the military’s need for some kind of evidence justifying the coup.
Forced evictions ‘rampant’ in Cambodia [also via Preetam]
Forced evictions in Cambodia are rampant, said the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions in 2006. In the absence of citizen-filmed footage of evictions, blogger Mongkol linked to a TV documentary showing the extent of forced evictions in Cambodia.
To find out more, visit the Cambodian Center for Human Rights, the Asian Coalition on Housing Rights, and COHRE’s Cambodia page.
I’ll be featuring more stories on forced evictions soon, so if you have access to relevant footage from anywhere around the world, I’d be very interested to hear from you by email or through the comments box below.
The ethics of filming the poor [back to Veronica]
Finally, Minsztrel at Pestcentric takes issue with a cameraman filming poor Hungarians at a soup kitchen outside the District VII Mayor’s office in Budapest. A question for you: how are vloggers dealing with the issue of consent, and what guidelines do they need to follow?
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