For Immediate Release: October 31, 2012
Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Humanity United launched a Tech Challenge for Mass Atrocity Prevention. According to its site, the Tech Challenge “will award up to $10,000 to the problem solvers who develop innovative concept papers and prototypes that help us better respond to critical elements of mass atrocities.” Human Rights First praises this initiative, especially the first issue in the series that will focus on tackling the enablers of mass atrocities, including third parties such as governments, commercial entities, and individuals who provide resources to perpetrators of mass atrocities.
The Challenge recognizes that in the age of innovation there exist technologies that can be harnessed to promote human rights and to prevent mass atrocities. Frequently, new and innovative technologies are used by oppressive regimes to restrict the rights and freedoms of citizens, activists and opposition members; from surveillance equipment to the latest weapons, technology has fueled atrocities like those ongoing in Syria.
“This Challenge offers innovators a chance to shift that balance by using technology for the prevention of these gross crimes and we applaud USAID and Humanity United for their vision for leading this charge,” said Human Rights First’s Sadia Hameed.
Other issues in the Tech Challenge include collecting evidence against perpetrators, assessing a community’s risk for atrocities, increasing the ability for survivors to effectively share information in real time and improving ways for activists and NGOs to find or verify information in atrocities. For more information, and to submit your ideas, please visit http://thetechchallenge.org.