Witness and Amnesty have teamed up in a new project that mixes videos from official sources, news outlets and citizens that taken together offers a nuanced exploration of the human rights catastrophe befalling Mali right now.
From Christoph Koettl of Amnesty:
“…[He] took my right forearm and tied it up with a rubber bicycle tyre tube as a tourniquet. He held my right hand with his left hand, in his right hand he held a knife, he said Alla Akbar before starting to cut my wrist.” Testimony by Alhader Ag Almahmoud, a livestock farmer who had his right hand amputated in Ansongo on August 8, 2012, after he was accused of stealing cattle.
“Five rebels came and took me by force (…). They took me into the bushes and raped me.” A young girl aged 16 years, who was raped in Gao, shortly after the city was seized by armed groups at the beginning April 2012
If you have been following reports about the escalating armed conflict in northern Mali this week, it is unlikely you read these shocking testimonies. The story being told exists within the framework of counterterrorism, in which official accounts (including video) dominate the narrative. The lack of ground access for independent observers and the dearth of citizen video only exacerbate this dilemma, leaving many stories untold and human rights abuses underreported. At organizations such as Amnesty International and WITNESS, which strive to bring the human story to the forefront, we are attempting to dig deeper into the Malian situation. WITNESS’s Human Rights Channel today published a video playlist on Mali that seeks to tell these stories by weaving together both citizen video and reports by media outlets and relief organizations.