Re: What is the human rights movement?
Gillian Caldwell is the Executive Director of WITNESS, an international human rights organization that provides training and support to local groups to use video in their human rights advocacy capaigns. Caldwell was a Co-Director of the Global Survival Network (now WildAid), where she coordinated the two-year undercover investigation into the trafficking of women in Russia that culminated in her 1997 film, Bought and Sold. She is the leader of the Witness to Truth video project in Sierra Leone that urges the government of Sierra Leone to implement TRC recommendations. Caldwell was the reipient of the 2000 Rockefeller Foundation Next Generation Leadership award and has been named one of 40 Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs by the Schwab Foundation, a 2003 Tech Laureate by the Tech Museum, and a Special Partner by Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. Caldwell received her BA from Harvard University and her JD in human rights law from Georgetown University. Her videos have been shown as evidence in legal proceedings, such as the international war crimes investigation against Slobodan Milosevic, in the Sierra Leone Truth Commission proceedings, and at the UN. Ideas recorded on: 8/13/07
Transcript:Well just thinking about Patricia and David, because I just returned from Mexico. I mean here’s a woman whose daughter left school one day two years ago and has never been seen since. She was asked to identify her clothing. So she knows that, in fact, you know her daughter is dead; and yet day after day she commits and recommits herself to ensuring that there won’t be another death; that there won’t be another needless execution of a woman in _______ or _______. Or take David who after three years of incarceration, after being tortured into confessing to the rape and murder of his cousin simply because according to the police he appeared nervous, i.e., was crying when he heard about her death . . . And to be able to, you know . . . to be able to set that aside and focus his energy on making a difference for . . . you know, not just for his cousin to find the real perpetrators, but for all of the other women in similar circumstances is really inspirational.
Recorded on: 8/13/07
Without human rights, we have nothing.
Transcript:Well I mean first and foremost because without our human rights we have nothing. In fact it’s interesting to imagine – almost impossible to imagine – that the human rights treaties and conventions that we talk about are just over 50 years old right now. I mean they were really born in 1948 in the wake of World War II in response to the horrors of that war. And it is remarkable to imagine that in fact prior to that, we had no single framework at a universal global level through which to articulate the right to freedom of speech, the right . . . All of the rights we’re talking about – civil, political, social, economic and cultural – have only recently been codified. And yet they have their origins really hundreds of years ago in various traditions. And you can see them even in many of the religious texts that have emerged over time. So I think when I say without human rights we have nothing, what I mean is that they are so fundamental to our ability to be productive, and healthy, and happy, and cooperative as human beings on this planet. And there’s never been a time when we’re more in need of that kind of cooperation, and collaboration, and productivity.
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