July 13, 2021
The eyeWitness to Atrocities camera app has been translated into Burmese for human rights defenders documenting current events in Myanmar.
The mobile app, which has been downloaded more than 3000 times in Myanmar, empowers documenters to capture images that can be easily verified and authenticated for both advocacy and courts of law. Designed for documenters operating in high-risk areas, the app comes with important security features such as encryption and a secret password-protected gallery.
© Saw Wunna
Mass protests erupted in Myanmar after the military, led by commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, staged a coup, detained elected leaders, and declared a year-long state of emergency in February 2021. Security forces have responded to the protests with brutal force. On 31 March 2021, the United Nations (UN) reported that more than 520 people had been killed since the coup began. The UN also reported that more than 900 children and young people had been detained.
Many individuals are risking their lives to capture the ongoing violence and devastation in Myanmar using their mobile phones.
The eyeWitness camera app has now been downloaded more than 3000 times in Myanmar. Unlike regular camera apps, eyeWitness provides an entire system to capture and protect verifiable photos and videos that can be used as evidence in both advocacy campaigns and courts of law.
“It is imperative that non-English speakers are able to access and use the eyeWitness app,” said Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association (IBA) and international criminal law expert. “When people have invested so much to capture valuable footage, we want to ensure that their images cannot be dismissed as being fake or misrepresented. By translating the app into Burmese, we hope that more and more documenters in Myanmar will be able to benefit from eyeWitness’ verification system.”
With the deadly violence still ongoing in Myanmar, justice may take a long time. However, it is still urgent that documenters continue to collect verifiable images in the present. “Information gathered now is the key to justice in the future,” explained Ellis. “Without reliable information about the violations committed, justice can never be achieved.”
eyeWitness is designed for this long-view of justice. Once users have captured their images using the eyeWitness app, they can upload them to the eyeWitness server for both verification and secure storage. Footage taken with the app and then uploaded to eyeWitness has contributed to numerous investigations and analyses, including those conducted by the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, and national courts.
The eyeWitness to Atrocities app is available from the Google Play Store for Android devices version 6.0 or higher. As well as coming in Burmese, the app also comes in Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Russian.