In John Pilger’s 2007 documentary ‘The War On Democracy’ we find the Venezuelan Constitution printed on the back of local produce packets sold in government sponsored supermarkets. This is a significant and effective way to empower the people and spread the message that rights belong to everybody. After all, how can you begin to defend your rights if you don’t know what they are?
In the UK, as we face uncertainty over the future of our own Human Rights Act, we are a long way from inviting human rights into our homes and perusing them on cereal boxes over breakfast. Instead, we can download these brilliant apps and take our rights everywhere we go!
1. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
This is where it all started. Members of the UN pledged to follow these 30 articles to preserve the dignity of the human. The home screen features a photograph of Eleanor Roosevelt with the original declaration where you choose your language from 14 options. Each article is laid out separately, it’s easy to read and use. One step towards everyone knowing their rights. Download it right now! Available for iPhone/ iPad/ iPod.
2. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
Once you’ve downloaded the UDHR which forms the basis of human rights law, you can find out about humanitarian law (the law of armed conflict) through the Red Cross and Red Crescent missions. Regularly updated information, photographs and films via YouTube, plus full reports. There is a huge amount of information on this for a phone app, really impressive and a great resource. Available for iPhone/ Android/ iPad/ iPod.
3. Human Rights Watch.
Released in January 2011 and only available on the iPad at the moment, most likely due to the huge amount of content available. Catch up with weekly human rights news and Human Rights Watch’s excellent reports which allow you to take notes, bookmark and highlight text. Videos, photographs and podcasts. Would love to see this available for phones, if the ICRC can do it, HRW can!
4. Facts On The Ground
APN, (Americans For Peace Now) created this app in September 2010 to map Israeli settlements in the West Bank. APN claims to have “the most comprehensive, up-to-date and authoritative database on settlements in the world”. This app lets the user pinpoint individual settlements, access information on their size, population and year of establishment and see population trends. I’m not sure how often it is updated, but more detailed information is available on the web-based app. Available for iPhone/ iPad/ iPod.
5. Digital Democracy
An ambitious project from a small New York based NGO using app-creating software AppMker, DD have put their money where their mouth is and created this app to update users on their most recent projects helping grassroots organisations and marginalised communities become media literate. Easy to use featuring videos, photographs and articles, some of which are a bit on the long side for an app but still worth a read as DD is involved with some really fascinating projects. Available for iPhone, iPad, iPod.
These apps are all great sources of information and I’m excited to see developments in more interactive apps, which I’ll review at a later date. Amnesty International’s ‘AI Candle’ app is worth a mention as it gives information on current campaigns and ways to take action. However, it still suffers from glitches and is quite slow, I’ve had problems receiving data so can’t give it a full review. Lighting the virtual candle to show solidarity and support to end human rights abuses is fun to play around with but only for a few minutes. I did manage to ‘burn’ the side of my phone though!