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[Cross-posted from the WITNESS Hub Blog.]

On the Hub, we’ve encountered a wide variety of visual media for human rights, including much powerful photojournalism – from Magnum In Motion, VII Photo, and Human Rights Watch, among others.  So when I watched this Monocle piece about the Prix Pictet on my way home from work, it reminded me that (to my delight, having worked with them closely in the past) Panos Pictures have joined the Hub.  It’s the perfect excuse to start a regular series highlighting photojournalism on the Hub – so, welcome to In Focus

Panos recently started creating multimedia narratives, and now Anna Stevens of Panos Pictures has contributed this piece, on the desperate situation faced by tens of thousands of asylum seekers whose applications for asylum are rejected in the UK:

This powerful narrative is part of a campaign led by major human rights organisations that are calling on the UK Government to:

–> End the threat and use of destitution as a tool of Government policy against refused asylum seekers
–> Continue financial support and accommodation to refused asylum seekers as provided during the asylum process and grant permission to work until such a time as they have left the UK or have been granted leave to remain
–> Continue to provide full access to health care and education throughout the same period

To learn more read this briefing (Word document) and to take action, visit the Still Here, Still Human campaign website.  If you’re in London, you still have till April 4th to see the photographer Abbie Trayler-Smith’s exhibition at the HOST Gallery near Old St (also home both to Panos and to the exceptionalFoto8 Magazine).

Panos Pictures has always championed underreported stories, high quality photojournalism, and editorial innovation, and we’re delighted to have them as part of the Hub community.

If you want to take a closer look at Panos’ photojournalism, here are some human rights-related examples that really stood out for me recently:

– Espen Rasmussen’s photographs of the Janjaweed in Darfur in April 2004
– George Georgiou’s series of photographs of the Serbia/Kosovo conflict
– the extraordinary story of Nic Dunlop’s quest to track down Comrade Duch, Chief Executioner for the Khmer Rouge (who recently went on trial in Cambodia)

[Originally published here on the WITNESS Hub Blog.]

I’m in a packed Budapest conference room, at the the Global Voices Citizen Media Summit.  Today’s sessions focus on practical tools and measures that networks of activists can take to counteract global censorship efforts.

Sami Ben Gharbia, the tireless Director of Advocacy for Global Voices, has just shown us a couple of examples of online video advocacy from North Africa.

First up, Tarsniper from Morocco, who filmed Moroccan traffic police taking bribes from drivers:
Sami says that these videos inspired many others to try the same tactics, and also that these videos resulted in the arrests of some officers, and the transfer of others.

His other example comes from Redeyef in Tunisia, where activists bypassed the block on video-sharing sites to upload videos showing recent protests in that city, protests that were met with violence and suppression from the government. The activists show the dead bodies of two protestors, and they show shells that they say prove the Tunisian authorities’ use of live ammunition:

More from the summit over the next hours…

[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.

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