By Vienna Maglio

Everyday the Human Rights Channel is in contact with activists filming human rights violations around the world. Recent conversations revealed that activists in Venezuela are facing similar challenges to video activists in Syria. We invited filmmakers, activists and human rights lawyers from both countries to a Google Hangout in order to share experiences and exchange strategies on how to use video as an effective documentation tool.

Here are some key points our panelists discussed during the conversation:

Co-founder of Video Venezuela Irene Herrera  said “Protesters in Venezuela were unprepared for what was going to happen on the ground.” Activists filming faced detention, had their equipment and mobile phones confiscated, and in some cases, had important video footage erased from their phones. [00:04:30 ]

Screenshot from Voces Sin Derechos of woman's identity hidden for her protection during an interview
Screenshot from Voces Sin Derechos of woman’s identity hidden during an interview

Gustavo Zambrano, videographer at Voces Sin Derechos, discussed why during an interview his organization decided to conceal the identity of a woman who was harassed and detained by police for filming student arrests on her mobile phone. [00:34:39 ]

Mayss Al-Zoubi, a video activist and Regional Consultant here at WITNESS described video as, “ an important part of the ‘puzzle’ in a criminal case.” She advised activists to try and film a landmark to show where the protest or abuse is happening. [00:41:41 ]

Gonzalo Himiob Santome, human rights lawyer and director at Foro Penal Venezolano, explained that he traveled to each victim’s house with a camera to document video testimony along with other corroborating evidence such as written testimony and medical exams with plans to bring the evidence to the Venezuelan courts as well as international organizations. [00:26:32 ]

Watch the Google Hangout below for a dive deeper into the discussion:

Here are some resources and tools to help you film safely and effectively:

Join the conversation and let us know if you have ideas for future Hangouts in the comments section below.

For more citizen video subscribe to the The Human Rights Channel on YouTube or follow us on Twitter.

Feature image is screen shot from Voces Sin Derechos video. 

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