How the Internet Can Help Stop Human Rights Abuse

July 17, 2017

This is special edition of Working Capital Conversations.

Sadly, there is no shortage of work these days for global human rights abuse investigators.

From Syria to Yemen to Sudan and beyond, the horrible ways in which humans torture, starve, and kill other humans seems unending. We all condemn the horrors, but most of us find ourselves with little opportunity to do anything directly.

Today I’m talking with someone who does.

Alexa Koenig is Executive Director of the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley, a 2015 winner of a prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. As Koenig describes, the Center is “a research organization that brings the tools of science and law together to address some of the world’s most pressing human rights issues.”

How much impact has the group already made? The Center has led investigations and research in more than a dozen countries, including Iraq, Rwanda, Uganda, and the former Yugoslavia. It also has launched what it calls the Human Rights Investigations Lab.

But unlike frontline and onsite human rights workers, these students do the bulk of their work from an undersized space on the UC Berkeley campus. So how does the Human Rights Center chase global perpetrators while sometimes never setting foot in the offending and offensive locations?

As I learned in my conversation with Alexa: Welcome to the power of the Internet.

By the way, if you are moved by the conversation and want to support the Human Rights Center, there’s a link embedded in the text introduction to this podcast. You also can go to hrc.berkeley.edu

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