Human Rights and Social Media

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In Robert Kennedy’s vision the very basic step for social change was the understanding that everyone’s personal commitment can make the difference; the idea that every single individual can actively engage and fight for justice in their personal, everyday life.

Today more than ever before we are understanding how acting for change can be possible on a fast and unprecedented scale. Activists, human rights defenders and simple citizens of the whole world have discovered the endless potential of actively promoting human rights with the use of web 2.0 tools, increasingly using Social Media and IT tactics as means to support their activity. With the simple use of a computer or a mobile phone and an internet connection people can today get informed, train and engage with other people, raising awareness or triggering social movements much more easily and on a wider level than ever before. The potential scale on which everyone can today actively commit to a cause and directly engage in promoting human rights has never been seen before.

At the same time the raising use of social media to increase awareness and promote social justice is generating a series of counter measures by repressive states: Internet Surveillance, Censorship, Repression are everyday more used to restrain users’ freedom and activities. Moreover, misinformation and the lack of proper education on the high risks related to the wrong use of a powerful tool as the world wide web are creating dangerous short circuits related (among many others) to privacy, visibility, children’s rights or violence in developing countries as well as in the western world.

We believe that is today fundamental for the Robert Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights to embrace among its activities an in-depth understanding of the correlation between Social Media and Human Rights promotion, in order to empower young people, operators, activists and defenders (as well as staff and partners) to the correct and most effective use of social media technologies, best representing the new avenues for active citizenship, defence of rights and individual commitment that fall within the vision of Senator Robert Francis Kennedy.

It’s in this framework that the RFK Training Institute, that opened in Florence in the fall 2012, has launched a set of activities that aims at offering a wide and in depth set of training opportunities on the use on the relationship between human rights and social media. At the moment the inherent active projects are the following: