Documenting Human Rights Violations in Challenging Environments

Once you have done your background research and collected your information through interviews, video, and/or audio recording, it is time to decide how you will share it!

Your information can be disseminated through a number of distribution channels. You can use social media sites, blogs, YouTube or Vimeo, and websites, such as Nabz-Iran. In this section we will focus on how you can use some of these existing Internet tools to send out your message to the world.


Nabz Iran is based on crowd sourcing similar to Ushahidi. Reports of human rights violations are displayed on a map of Iran, indicating the location where the violations took place.

Nabz-Iran provides you with the option to report and share your collected information anonymously through the website. Just go to the website and click on “submit a report.” The report form will guide you through the process of submitting your information. If you have video or audio, you can add that as well.

As you choose a title and write-up the description for your report remember what you have learned. Choose a title that summarizes the issue you documented. For example, if you collected information about the arbitrary detention of a Christian cleric, you might want to include that in your title.

Answer the 5Ws in the description. This way you guarantee that you cover the basic facts and let people know what you found out.


Launched in January 2008 in response to the post-election violence in Kenya, Ushahidi allows users with mobile phones to send SMS text message reports to a local Ushahidi number. The message is then passed through an SMS gateway (in this case, the open source FrontlineSMS) to the Ushahidi software installed on an Internet server. The Ushahidi web interface maps the reported incidents of violence through a Google Map application.