Amnesty International and Advocacy Assembly launch new online courses on open source human rights investigations

Human rights researchers, activists and journalists are among those who will benefit from two new free online courses developed by Amnesty International and hosted by Advocacy Assembly to train people in how to carry out open source research for human rights investigations and advocacy.

Based on the rigorous methodologies employed by Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps – an award-winning partnership with seven global universities – the courses will train people in investigative techniques used to verify digital content and tackle disinformation.

“Never has it been more relevant for activists, journalists and human rights practitioners to understand how to use digital verification and open source investigative skills,” said Sam Dubberley, Head of Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab and the course instructor.

These online courses take the same toolkit and methodologies used by Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab and Digital Verification Corps to solve digital human rights challenges day in and day out, and make them more accessible to anyone interested in learning vital new skills to establish the truth and combat disinformation.

Sam Dubberley, Head of Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab and the course instructor


“These online courses take the same toolkit and methodologies used by Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab and Digital Verification Corps to solve digital human rights challenges day in and day out, and make them more accessible to anyone interested in learning vital new skills to establish the truth and combat disinformation.”

Among the skills taught in the courses are digital verification – including how to discover relevant content and how to establish where (geolocation) and when (chronolocation) events took place – as well as more advanced open source methods, including weapons identification and analysis of satellite imagery and other remote sensing data.

The same methodologies have been applied to scores of Amnesty International outputs in recent years, including ground-breaking investigations into the abuse of tear gas around the world, the widespread use of police violence against Black Lives Matter protests in the USA, and Russian and Syrian strikes on hospitals and schools in north-west Syria.

The first course covers the fundamentals while the second delves into more advanced skills. Both include practical, real-world case studies from Amnesty International’s research, presented by experts from Amnesty International and elsewhere, as well as covering ethical concerns, resiliency and mitigating the risk of vicarious trauma.

Each course lasts 90 minutes and is offered in English, Spanish, Arabic and Persian. Anyone with online access can enrol here.

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