- Ross Burley
The launch of Myanmar Witness
Updated: Jul 30, 2021
The world has watched with horror at the growing number of apparent human rights incidents in Myanmar. The sheer scale of incidents can be overwhelming and difficult to track, especially when Myanmar has a challenging information environment. Reliable, verifiable information coming out of the country is difficult to come by. That’s why we we’ve partnered with civil society actors and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office to launch the Myanmar Witness project.
At its heart, Myanmar Witness is about justice and accountability. Our analysts and researchers will work to independently investigate, verify and preserve alleged human rights violations of people across the country. We’ll be working closely with international bodies, NGOs and the media to ensure there is a clear, verified record of alleged incidents. Crucially, we’ll be sharing our findings with the UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), to ensure evidence for future accountability for human rights violations is verified and preserved. Our work today will hopefully go some way to ensure accountability tomorrow.
Myanmar Witness will encourage civilians to safely submit digital content including photos, videos, social media posts and other data via a submission form. This collection and processing of evidence will be in line with international accountability standards. The project team will also independently verify incidents on open-source social media channels. All the data will be independently verified, hashed, and kept safely and securely, in line with international best practices and to preserve evidence for any possible future judicial processes. Safeguarding the identity of witnesses and those providing data will be of utmost importance.
Already, Myanmar Witness has uncovered and verified:
- Evidence of reprisal attacks by the Myanmar Army
- Evidence of shelling of civilian areas and religious buildings
- Widespread indications of intention to harm, if not kill, demonstrators
- Evidence of mass arrests
- Violence against medical workers
As well as a resource to preserve evidence for future judicial processes, the Myanmar Witness team will be freely available to journalists seeking to investigate possible human rights interferences. We welcome submissions or inquiries from journalists and media organisations. For more information, please visit: www.info-res.org/myanmarwitness
The original English language press release can be accessed below.