Tech & Human Rights Blog Series: After Ushahidi – Using New Technologies to Prevent Mass Atrocities

Tech & Human Rights Blog Series: After Ushahidi – Using New Technologies to Prevent Mass Atrocities 

On December 30, 2007, when Mwai Kibaki announced his reelection as president of Kenya, the country erupted in fierce demonstrations that devolved into three months of brutal, widespread, inter-ethnic clashes. Kenya’s post-election violence was particularly remarkable given that it was witnessed and documented to an unprecedented degree by the country’s residents. This was thanks to the advent of Ushahidi (Swahili for “testimony” or “witness”), a crowdsourced website created in response to the post-election violence, through which people were able to submit eyewitness reports of the turmoil via mobile phones, text messages, and emails. The site became a critical tool used in real time by Kenyans and global actors, including international media, to monitor the political unrest. Data amassed by Ushahidi provided critical information for the report published by the Commission of Inquiry into Post-Election Violence in 2008, and also informed subsequent investigations and prosecutions of Kenyan political leaders at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Camilla Wood

UK based Legal Aid Lawyer

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