From human rights activists in Brazil seeking political asylum to the difficulty of verifying citizen video purportedly from the Israel/Palestine conflict, to how social media is being used in the investigation of flight MH17’s downing, here’s what we’re following this week:


Eloisa Samy was one of several Brazilian activists arrested on July 12 in what appeared to be at preemptive raid against activists planning to protest the following day during the World Cup finale.

Samy, a human rights lawyer, was accused of belonging to a criminal organization, and released this video to explain why she’s fighting her arrest. On Monday, her appeal to Uruguay for political asylum was filmed and streamed live by Midia NINJA, but ultimately rejected. See this blog post and this Human Rights Channel playlist for more videos documenting potential arbitrary arrests and abuses by police at World Cup protests.

Israel-Palestine Conflict

In 5 minutes and two or three separate clips, the video above captures the experience of a man living in the Aida Palestinian refugee camp in Bethlehem when it was raided by the Israeli Defense Force Monday night. He repeatedly asks IDF soldiers if he can see his son, who is elsewhere in the camp, but they won’t let him out of his house. From the balcony, the viewer can hear screams in the street below (starting at 1:40), but cannot see what is taking place. Mondoweiss reports that the video was filmed by Kelly Lynn, a freelance photojournalist and contributor to the outlet.

While the Human Rights Channel is curating verified video from citizens and activists on the ground in Israel and Gaza, many of the citizen videos circulating widely on social media from supporters and opponents of Israel’s military operation are not from the conflict at all, but have been scraped from other contexts. Others have proven difficult to verify, and are being used to fuel political propaganda and animosity between the two sides.

The conflict has captured worldwide attention and sparked protests in dozens of countries. In Paris, a ban on pro-Palestine protests led to clashes with police when activists defied authorities. (The ban was lifted on Tuesday.) In Dublin, an activist filmed the police manhandle a peaceful protester who then had a seizure. As the conflict between Israel and Gaza sparks anger around the world, we’re monitoring reports of anti-semitic violence as well, such as the reported looting of Jewish stores in Nice, France.


Social media and online video is proving critical in understanding the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine. See this post by our partners at Storyful for an analysis of how bits of information have been sourced, verified, and pieced together to understand the movement of weapons through the region, and communication among militant commanders regarding the crash. For several months, citizen videos have documented escalating lawlessness in Luhansk, Donetsk, and other regions where separatist militants have used violence against civilians to assert their authority.

What we’re watching:


Nearly a year after Cambodia’s contested parliamentary election which won another term for the ruling CPP party, Cambodia’s civil society continue to defy the ban on protests. Last week, eight activists, including seven elected MPs of the opposition party, were arrested during clashes at Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park. After several protests in support of the MPs, they were released on Tuesday. This week, monks staged two days of protests in front of the Vietnamese embassy over remarks an embassy official made about Vietnamese territory the monks assert is historically Khmer. Meanwhile, outside of Phnom Penh, a villager was arrested in connection with ongoing clashes regarding a politically connected company’s development on disputed land. Earlier this month, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights called on the company, KDC International, to halt development until claims by families who assert ownership over it have been resolved.

* Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this post used the sub-header of “Gaza.” That has been changed to “Israel-Palestine Conflict” because the video discussed does not take place in Gaza but rather a Palestinian refugee camp in the West Bank. 
[Screenshot from video uploaded by YouTube user PosTV]

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