N-Map Premieres: Truth & Justice for the Women of Guatemala

August 12, 2014 by
Nili Blanck
Program Associate 

    Our latest video, Truth and Justice for the Women of Guatemala, narrates how Women’s Link Worldwide worked with human rights groups and women from indigenous communities, specifically the Ixil Maya community, to prepare for the Ríos Montt trial and frame the gender-based violence directed toward them as evidence of genocide. This strategy also innovatively incorporated a series of expert witnesses that explained the necessity of the women’s testimony to the court.

(Para Español)

  As the head of state between 1982 and 1983, José Efraín Ríos Montt’s relatively brief window of power left an enduring impact – the UN estimates that 48% of the violence reported during the 36 year armed conflict occurred during the Ríos Montt administration. Targeting the Ixil community of the Quiche region and other indigenous communities, Ríos Montt is specifically responsible for the deaths of 1,771 individuals, forced disappearances of 29,000 people, torture, and widespread violence against women.

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  Under Ríos Montt, this widespread violence against women was a distinct weapon of war that played a special role in the unraveling of genocide. As Claudia Paz y Paz, Guatemala’s Attorney General, explains: gender crimes systematically target women in order to remind them of their secondary place in society. Rape and sexual violence, therefore, are not simply collateral damage of war but actually instruments of genocide. Articulating sexual violence as an attempt to “remove a community at its seed,” I think Guatemalan journalist Marielos Monzon best explains how systematic violence against women is inherently an element of genocide.

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   Guatemala’s trial of Ríos Montt helps solidify the legal framework that ensures gender crimes are an element of genocide. While the targeting of women as a distinct strategy of genocide has been recognized in other international criminal tribunals, the Guatemala case furthers this growing jurisprudence and historically applies it in a national context. Although the Ríos Montt trial is a major victory for the establishment of a holistic legal framework it also reveals the current limitations of law and the society it mimics: that is to say, not only the difficulty involved in rewriting monolithic law books, but also the challenge of bringing female victims into the courtroom—thirty years after the fact – to give oral testimony.

   Producing this video offered much insight into the obstacles survivors face when working with the court system. Judges and prosecutors often do not know how to work with the stigmatization these women may endure when revealing themselves as victims, the secondary trauma of facing their perpetrators, or the risk of social marginalization from spouses or family members who may view the women as responsible. In many cases, judicial actors are not properly trained to question female victims of trauma and sexualized violence. Neglecting these obstacles denies Guatemalans the opportunity to uncover the truth of their country’s past, which of course is part of its present and its future.

   I see this video as an important example of not only how women can be included in the judicial process but also why their participation proves imperative. We hope this film will encourage the greater use of expert testimony as well as other strategies to ensure women’s right to access justice and everyone’s right to know their history.

For more information on Women’s Link Worldwide, visit their website.

Verdad y Justicia Para las Mujeres de Guatemala

August 12, 2014 by
Nili Blanck
Program Associate 

  La verdad y la justica para mujeres en Guatemala, narra como Women’s Link Worldwide exitosamente incorporó a las mujeres de comunidades indígenas – en especial, a Ixil, una comunidad Maya– al tribunal del ex–presidente, Efrain Rios Montt, y, sin precedente, logró incorporar violencia de genero dirigida a ellas como evidencia de genocidio.  Esta estrategia también incluyó una serie de peritos que le explicaron a la corte por que era de suma importancia que las mujeres de Guatemala tuvieran la oportunidad de contribuir sus testimonios.

(For English, please click here)

 Gobernando el país entre los anos 1982 y 1983, la ventana pequeña que ocupo Rios Montt dejo un impacto eterno – las estimaciones de la ONU reportan que de la violencia que ocurrió durante el conflicto armado de 36 anos, 48% de esa violencia ocurrió durante la administración Rios Montt.  Victimizando la comunidad Ixil que se encuentra en la región Quiche, aparte de otras comunidades indigenas, Rios Montt es responsable por las muertes de 1,771 individuales; desapariciones forzadas de 29,000 personas; tortura; y amplio crímenes de genero contra mujeres.

  Bajo Rios Montt, la extensa violencia contra mujeres fue utilizada como una arma distinta de guerra que tomo un lugar especial en el genocidio.  Como Claudia Paz y Paz, ministerio de justicia de Guatemala, explica en el video: la motivación de victimar sistemáticamente a mujeres no es simplemente daño colateral de guerra, pero, al contrario, instrumentos de los arquitectos de genocidio.  Articulando violencia sexual como el intento de “quitar este pueblo desde la semilla,” periodista Guatemalteca Marielos Monzon explica de una manera increíble como la violencia contra las mujeres es inherentemente un elemento de genocidio.

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  El tribunal de Guatemala ayudó a solidificar un marco legal que puede probar crimines de genero como un corolario de genocidio.   Mientras la victimización de mujeres como una distinta estrategia de genocidio fue establecida bajo derecho internacional recientemente, el caso Guatemalteco asiste en que esta jurisprudencia siga creciendo.  Aunque el tribunal de Rios Montt es una victoria enorme para el establecimiento de un marco legal que incluye a las mujeres, el tribunal también revela las limitaciones del derecho y la sociedad que la ley imita: es decir, no es difícil nada mas volver a escribir la literatura legal, pero también, es increíblemente difícil traer a las victimas a la corte – 30 anos después del conflicto armado – para dar testimonio oral.

  Produciendo este video ofreció mucha perspectiva a los obstáculos que sobrevivientes de violencia sexual enfrentan cuando participan en el sistema judicial.  La mayoría del tiempo, jueces y acusadores no consideran el estigma que estas mujeres van a sentir en revelándose como victimas, o el trauma secundario que van a sentir en enfrentando a sus perpetradores, o el riesgo de ser aisladas dentro sus propias comunidades que tal ves las van a ver como responsables por las violaciones.  En muchos casos, jueces y y acusadores no están entrenados a recibir mujeres como víctimas de trauma.  Ignorando estos obstáculos quiere decir que todos los Guatemaltecos pierden la oportunidad de saber la verdad de su pasado, que por supuesto es parte del presente, y su futuro.

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  Vemos este video como un ejemplo importante de cómo las mujeres pueden ser incorporadas al proceso judicial, hasta después de que haya empezado el proceso o aun que sea en un idioma o concepto totalmente extraño.  Esperamos que este video apoye un uso mas extensivo de peritos además de otras estrategias que aseguraran los derechos de las mujeres para poder obtener justicia, y el derecho universal que todos tienen en saber su historia.

Para mas information, por favor visita: www.womenslinkworldwide.org

8 Steps to Effective Advocacy – A New Instructional Video Series 

August 5, 2014 by

In Chiatura, Georgia, miners commute to the cliff top manganese mines in Soviet-era cable cars. As we boarded one of these cars during N-Map’s January shoot, our crew surveyed it anxiously. The cable cars are ancient and rusty—a wonder that they still function.

As the car steeply ascended, our interview subject, Shota Gaprindashvili, spoke with pride about his hometown and its distinguished Soviet history. He was taking us to see the former Pioneer Palace at the top of the cliff, where youth gathered during the Soviet days. Shota is the founder of an advocacy NGO and one of his main priorities is encouraging youth activism on environmental issues.

Manganese mining collected a serious toll on Chiatura and the surrounding region. The river water is black, the air is dirty, and rate of cancer high. The mining company remains loathe to invest in the community or in new infrastructure, while the Georgian government is unwilling to step in and protect the community’s rights.

But after Shota started his advocacy work in 2011, he saw progress: the mining company agreed to install water filtration devices at manganese processing sites and to clean transport trucks before they pass through town. The City Council also passed an ordinance requiring transport trucks to cover cargo with a tarp.

Many Georgian communities grapple with economic and social rights violations but few organizations address community problems successfully like Shota.  Local advocates face many problems and, particularly in rural areas, find it difficult to engage with policy-makers effectively.

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Soviet-era mine cars slowly ascend the steep cliffs in Chiatura.

Last year, the East-West Management Institute’s Policy, Advocacy, and Civil Society in Georgia Project (G-PAC) approached N-Map with a challenge: harness the visual power of video to help the organization achieve its mission. G-PAC encourages citizens to engage in the process of governance in Georgia by supporting policy advocacy and asked us to enhance the reach of their work—especially in marginalized rural communities—by producing a series of instructional videos.

With funding from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), N-Map theorized that we could employ the poignancy of visual storytelling—and the human narratives behind advocacy work—to show basic advocacy concepts and inspire citizens to take action. We produced a series of videos that profile successful advocacy campaigns in Georgia, giving successful Georgian advocates the opportunity to instruct others on how to engage with institutions of power.

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Clarovideo.org – A New Online Resource to Empower Consumers in NYC’s Courts

July 22, 2014 by
    We are excited to announce the launch of a new legal information platform: www.clarovideo.org.
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A still from one of our eleven animated rights education videos.

New York City courts face a debt collection crisis. In 2008, at the height of the recession, filings for consumer debt lawsuits peaked at over 300,000.  That’s almost a third of a million cases in just one city! The volume has reduced as the economy recovered but figures still remain staggering – almost 100,000 cases were filed last year.

The majority of the consumers who are sued are minorities or senior citizens and many are poor. Most cannot afford to hire a lawyer: in 2011, less than two percent of consumer debt defendants obtained legal counsel.  This means that they almost invariably enter the legal system woefully uninformed.

The result of this information gap is a system plagued with due process problems. The biggest problem by far is default judgments, which means that the plaintiff wins automatically because the defendant does not come to court to defend their case. In 2008, the default rate reached a mind-boggling 90% in the Bronx; now the default rate across all boroughs dropped to approximately 50.6% – still unacceptably high.  Think for a moment about about what this means: half of people who are sued in these cases literally present no defense.  No evidence; no trial; no settlement.

Much of this is the result of fraudulent service on the part of the plaintiffs, who notify the court of the lawsuit, but do not notify the defendant – banking on a default judgment.  Many people only find out they have been sued when wages are automatically taken out of their already-small paychecks, often pushing them closer to the edge of extreme poverty.

Watch our short documentary on NYC’s consumer debt crisis here.

Just last week, when working with litigants at the Brooklyn Civil Court, we met a consumer debt defendant named Kim.  With her hair tightly pinned, and looking dignified but obviously under stress, she explained, “I went to the bank one day and my bank account was frozen.” A trip to the courthouse revealed that she had been sued by a debt collector and improperly served a summons and complaint—in 2007. “I didn’t even know there was a judgment against me,” she said. Unaware that she had been sued, Kim lost the case by default.  The debt collection agency froze her bank account and now Kim faces the repercussions of a lawsuit she never knew existed.

“They asked if I wanted to settle on the phone but I said no, I don’t want to settle over the phone,” Kim reflected. “I was confused and angry. Someone suggested I visit a CLARO office so here I am.”

The volunteer lawyers at the Civil Legal Advice Resource Office (CLARO) deal with cases similar to Kim’s on a regular basis. They shoulder the immense challenge of providing free legal advice to low-income litigants facing consumer debt suits. Yet even the herculean efforts of CLARO can’t adequately address the heavy caseload that clogs New York civil courts.

Considering the volume of civil debt suits in New York courts, the staff at CLARO would need to see 324 litigants a day to advise all unrepresented litigants! In order to address this massive demand, we need to multiply the impact of CLARO’s limited resources.

We collaborated with Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social JusticeMFY Legal Services, Inc., and Pro Bono Net to develop an innovative platform for educating New Yorkers about how to navigate consumer debt suits. Today, we are proud to launch an innovative model for rights education, which can be found at clarovideo.org. Our free, animated legal information videos stand apart from other rights education resources. For one, the animated videos are easy-to-understand and engaging —free of legal jargon. Second, the video series is modular. After completing a short survey, the site populates a selection of videos tailored to the particular individual’s case, avoiding extraneous and potentially confusing material.

The animated, modular videos not only offer legal empowerment to citizens, but also create a two-way flow of information between lawyers and the public. The survey captures data about the population involved in consumer debt cases, giving us crucial information about issues faced by those in consumer debt suits.

These videos will help educate people who have been rightly or wrongly sued for consumer debt and help legal service organizations like CLARO reach thousands of clients currently beyond their capacity.  Our website will empower New Yorkers, New Yorkers like Kim, and help secure due process for all in New York City’s consumer debt courts.

Expert Witnesses: Advancing Justice for Women in Haitian Courts

July 7, 2014 by

It is with great enthusiasm that N-Map launches our newest film: Advancing Justice Through Expert Testimony in Haiti.

(Pou Kreyol, tanpri klikeisi)

In November 2013, our partners—the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) —invited us to Haiti to produce a film that advocates for the greater use of expert witnesses in Haitian courts. The film is primarily intended for Haitian judges, prosecutors and lawyers yet the message remains universal: expert testimony is vital for all criminal trials—especially in the case of rape.

Judges are not doctors; nor are they forensic psychologists or ballistic experts. Yet they issue rulings on cases built upon evidence from these fields. Consequently, many courts call on experts to help judges understand the specificities of a case or to help lawyers best substantiate their case according to relevant scientific evidence. In Haiti, however, there is little use of expert witnesses in criminal trials. Without guidance, judges cannot provide informed decisions for the complainant or the accused. And this absence of expertise delivers only partial justice.

While it is important for Haitian courts to employ expert witnesses in all criminal trials, this need is ever more urgent for cases of sexual violence. Last summer, judges dismissed numerous sexual assault cases because female victims exhibited common symptoms of trauma: failing to remember some details of the crime or inconsistently recounting their testimony. Modern psychiatric literature recognizes this behavior as common among rape victims who experience trauma. Yet judges are not familiar with the behavioral patterns of post-rape trauma and leverage inconsistent testimony as evidence that a crime did not occur. In these cases, the Haitian justice system—in addition to the defendant—wronged the victim.

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Avanse Jistis Atravè Temwayaj Ekspè

July 7, 2014 by

Se avèk anpil antouzyas ke N-Map pibliye nouvo fim nou: Avanse Jistis Atravè Temwayaj Ekspè.

(For English, please click here.)

An novanm 2013, patnè nou—Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI)ak Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)— envite nou al Ayiti pou n pwodui yon fim ki sipòte plis itilizasyon temwayaj ekspè nan tribunal Ayiti. Fim nan fèt prensipalman pou jij, komisè, ak avoka men se yon mesaj inivèsèl: temwayaj ekspè enpòtan anpil pou pwosè kriminèl, e sitou nan ka vyòl.

Jij pa ni doktè, ni sikològ ou ekspè nan balistik. Men yo rann jijman sou ka ki baze sou prèv ki sot nan sektè sa yo. Donk, anpil tribinal konn rele ekspè pou yo ede jij yo konprann detay yon ka oubyen pou ede avoka yo oryante ka ki baze sou prèv syantifik. Epoutan, ann Ayiti, pa gen anpil moun ki itilize temwayaj ekspè nan pwosè kriminèl. San gid, jij pa ka pran desizyon kòrèk pou pleyan an oubyen akize a. Absans ekspètiz saa lakòz ke yo rann yon jistis ki pa konplèt.

Malgre li enpòtan pou tribunal ayisyen itilize temwen ekspè nan tout pwosè kriminèl, nesesite a pi ijan nan ka vyolans seksyèl. Nan ete ane pase, jij te rejte plizyè ka vyolans seksyèl paske viktim yo te gen bon jan sentòm chòk : enkapasite pou yo sonje detay krim nanoubyen bay yon temwayaj ki differan chak fwa. Literati sikyatrik modèn rekonèt konpòtman sa a kòm yon bagay kouran kay viktim vyòl ki twomatize. Men jij yo pa abitye ak konpòtman moun apre vyòl epi yo itilize temwayaj ki diferan chak fwa yo kòm prèv ke pa-t gen krim. Nan ka sa yo, se pa sèlman akize a, men se sistèm jidisyè Ayiti a tou ki fè viktim nan mal.

Nesesite ekspètiz medikal souliyen enpòtans temwayaj ekspè nan ka vyòl. Nan yon ka yo dekri nan fim nan, yon pleyan ki pako gen dizan t-ap chèche jistis akoz yo te vyole li, men jij yo te twonpe yo lè yo te kwè ke yon timoun laj sa a ki pako fè sèks ta dwe senyen lè yon moun vyole-l. Jinekològ la eksplike tribunal la ke menm si pifò timoun senyen nan ka vyòl, gen eksepsyon. Li te kapab di jij yo pandan pwosè a ke pliske timoun nan pa-t senyen sa pa vle di ke yo pa-t vyole-l. Li te reyisi konvenk jij yo, ki t-ap bay yon lòt vèdik si se pa-t sa, ke vyòl kab fèt san senyman nan ka konsa.

Tou denyèman, yon mèt kay te fè kadejak britalman sou sèvant ki t-ap travay lakay li. Lè fi a pote ka a devan tribunal,devan yon komisè epi apre devan yon koudapèl, tribinal la deklare ke dèske fi a pa-t sove lè yo panse li te gen yon chans, sa vle di te gen konsantman. Pa-t gen konsantman. La ankò, li kouran pou yon fi rete kay moun ki vyole-l la akoz chòk sezisman an ak laperèz. Yon ekspè ka ede jij konprann fenomenn sa a e vinn lakòz viktim nan rive jwenn jistis.

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Justice for the 49 Angels: Filming the Anniversary of the Guarderia ABC Tragedy

June 27, 2014 by

Angel

Events in Hermosillo, Mexico always begin in the late afternoon. By that time, the worst of the staunching heat – which peaked at 120 degrees Fahrenheit during our five-day trip in early June – has started to give way to a far more forgiving evening breeze. As the desert sun nears the end of its long descent toward the horizon, its strong rays cast an unusual light: a harsh white blanket mixed with hints of orange and pink that grow stronger until they are purple and then a deep and stubborn black. Through the long end of my camera’s lens I happened to catch this light as it fell delicately on the wings of an angel. The angel walked slowly, somberly as if marching toward the glow of heaven.

This captivating image was not a mirage. The angel, a costumed local teenager, was flanked by forty-eight others, each pushing an empty stroller in commemoration of the forty-nine boys and girls aged one to three and a half years old who died in a fire in an Hermosillo daycare center on June 5, 2009. As part of my first project as a summer fellow with N-Map, I had the opportunity to take part in the annual march, held on the anniversary of this tragedy. Thousands of Mexican citizens paraded through the streets of Hermosillo, demanding justice for the children who died unnecessarily. The video, which we hope to release this fall, will be used to support the five-year legal battle waged by the families of the victims against impunity and those whom they believe to be responsible for the death of their children.

The fire in the daycare center known as Guarderia ABC, began in a bodega hazardously located within the same building structure as the daycare center. The fire quickly spread to the guarderia, which, constructed of highly flammable materials, went up in flames and, without a proper emergency exit through which to flee, forty-nine children died either from burns or the many lethal fumes that would have filled their lungs. At 3:30 in the afternoon, hearing of an emergency at the center, the children’s parents quickly flocked to the scene but were shooed away by officials with misinformation. Their children were fine, they were told. They had been taken to local hospitals and could be found there. Manuel Rodriguez Amaya and his wife Malú, spent the afternoon and evening frantically searching area hospitals for their son, Xiunelth. Manuel, recounted the surge of relief that swept through his entire body when a family member reported that he had seen the boy, alive and well, on the television news.

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Justicia para los 49 ángeles: Filmando el aniversario de la tragedia de la Guardería ABC

June 27, 2014 by

Angel

Los eventos en Hermosillo, México siempre empiezan en las tardes. Para esa hora, el calor intenso – que llegó a un máximo de 49 grados centígrados en los cinco días que estuvimos ahí al principio de junio – comienza a dar paso a una brisa más agradable en la noche. Cuando el sol del desierto se acercaba al final de su largo descenso hacia el horizonte, sus fuertes rayos echaron una luz insólita: una manta blanca y dura mezclada con notas de naranja y rosa que crecían en intensidad hasta que estaban de color morado y luego llegaron a un profundo y grueso negro. A través del lente de mi cámara alcancé a captar esta luz cayendo sobre las alas de un ángel. El ángel caminaba lentamente, como si caminara hacia el cielo. Esta imagen cautivadora no era una ilusión. El ángel, un joven en disfraz, venía acompañada con 48 otros jóvenes, cada uno empujando una carriola de bebe, conmemorando los 49 niños y niñas, de 1 a 3.5 años, que fallecieron en un incendio en la Guardería ABC el 5 de junio del 2009. Como parte de mi primer proyecto como asociado de N-Map este verano, tuve la oportunidad de participar en esta marcha, que marca cada año el aniversario de la tragedia. Miles de ciudadanos mexicanos marcharon por las calles de Hermosillo, demandando justicia para los niños que murieron innecesariamente. El video, que esperamos lanzar este otoño, se utilizará para apoyar la batalla legal de cinco años llevada a cabo por los familiares de las víctimas contra la impunidad y contra todos aquellos que creen responsables por la muerte de sus hijos. El incendio en la guardería conocida como Guardería ABC, comenzó en una bodega peligrosamente situada dentro del mismo edificio que el centro de cuidado infantil. El fuego se extendió rápidamente a la guardería, que, construida con muy inflamable materiales, fue consumida por las llamas.  Sin una salida de emergencia adecuada a través del cual huir, 49 niños murieron ya sea por quemaduras o los muchos humos letales que habrían llenado sus pulmones. A las 3:30 de la tarde, al enterarse de una emergencia en el centro, los padres de los niños acudieron rápidamente a la escena, pero funcionarios los despidieron con mala información. Sus hijos estaban bien, les dijeron. Habían sido trasladados a hospitales locales y podrían ser encontrados allí. Manuel Rodríguez Amaya y su esposa Malú, pasaron la tarde y el anochecer buscando frenéticamente en hospitales del área para su hijo, Xiunelth. Manuel relató el alivio que se extendió a través de todo su cuerpo cuando un miembro de la familia le informó de que había visto al niño, vivo y bien, en las noticias de la televisión. Fue una falsa esperanza nacida de una ilusión. La búsqueda de Manuel y Malú terminaría justo después de la medianoche, cuando Manuel identificó el cuerpo de su hijo en la morgue. “A las 3:30 de la tarde [la policía] sabía que mi hijo estaba muerto”, Manuel nos dijo. “Sin embargo, por nueve horas nadie me dijo.” Hablando de ese día es comprensiblemente difícil para Manuel, pero el dolor del recuerdo palidece en comparación con el de la impunidad. “Yo hablaria con el diablo si tuviera, con el fin de obtener justicia para mi hijo”, Manuel nos dijo. Manuel&Malu Pero la justicia no ha llegado. Cinco años después del incendio, ni una sola persona responsable de la tragedia en la Guardería ABC, ni las agencias gubernamentales que supervisan el programa nacional de guarderías, han sido investigadas y mucho menos encarceladas por los 49 niños cuyas vidas acabaron innecesariamente. Tal vez aún más alarmante, sólo 0.3% de las guarderías de México cumplen con las disposiciones mínimas de seguridad, por lo cual significa que otra tragedia es muy probable. Incapaz de encontrar la justicia en su propio país, las familias, organizadas en el Movimiento 5 de Junio​​, están tomando su caso a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos. El vídeo que estamos produciendo será una parte de la presentación de las familias a la Comisión, recordándole a los comisionados de los rostros humanos que una vez llenaron las carriolas que ahora estan vacías, ocupadas sólo por ángeles.

Quién es Quién Wiki, nueva herramienta para la transparencia corporativa en América Latina.

June 18, 2014 by

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WWW-QQW-LOGO-2013-EN                        QQW logo-Español

El pasado mes de febrero N-Map viajó a México para producir videos informativos con el fin de apoyar el lanzamiento de la plataforma de transparencia corporativa “Quién es Quién Wiki”, desarrollada por el Proyecto sobre Organización, Desarrollo, Educación e Investigación (PODER) ®. En su primer proyecto en México, N-Map acompañó a PODER en la conceptualización de cinco videos donde se comunicó la relevancia de esta iniciativa, su impacto potencial y la importancia de la participación ciudadana. PODER es una organización regional sin fines de lucro que trabaja para mejorar la transparencia y rendición de cuentas empresarial desde una perspectiva de derechos humanos. “Quién es Quién Wiki” (QQW) es una plataforma de datos abiertos y software libre que aborda la falta de transparencia del sector privado en América Latina mediante el monitoreo de las empresas, las élites corporativas, y sus contrapartes gubernamentales. La versión beta de esta plataforma electrónica fue lanzada el pasado 13 de mayo en la Ciudad de México, con el plan de expandirse subsecuentemente a otros países latinoamericanos.

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Daniel Gershenson hablando sobre Quien es Quien Wiki.  Mira a los videos aquí!

El objetivo de QQW es empoderar a los ciudadanos para que se conviertan en garantes de la rendición de cuentas corporativa, exigiendo una mayor transparencia del sector privado desde la sociedad civil y con una perspectiva de derechos humanos. Esta herramienta, la primera de su tipo en América Latina, permite acceder a información empresarial de otro modo difícilmente accesible, proveniente de diversas fuentes, países e idiomas, concentrada en un solo lugar, en español, con una metodología rigurosa de investigación y verificación. Un componente importante de la plataforma es que utiliza una tecnología wiki, la cual habilita la participación de los usuarios en la construcción colectiva de la base de datos.

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Who’s Who Wiki, a New Tool for Corporate Transparency in Latin America

June 16, 2014 by

Logo PODER-01 w markWWW-QQW-LOGO-2013-EN           QQW logo-Español

Last February, N-Map travelled to Mexico to produce informative videos to support the launch of the corporate transparency platform “Who’s Who Wiki,” developed by the Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER)®. In its first project in Mexico, N-Map accompanied PODER in conceptualizing five videos to communicate the relevance of this initiative, its potential impact, and the importance of citizen participation.  PODER is a regional non-profit organization that works to improve corporate transparency and accountability from a human rights perspective. “Who’s Who Wiki” (WWW), or Quién es Quién Wiki in Spanish, is an open data, open software platform that addresses the lack of transparency in the Latin American private sector through monitoring companies, corporate elites, and their government counterparts. The beta version of this online platform was launched on May 13 in Mexico City, with plans to expand subsequently to other Latin American countries.

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Daniel Gershenson speaking about Who’s Who Wiki! Watch all 5 videos here!

The objective of WWW is to empower citizens to become guarantors of corporate accountability by pushing for greater transparency in the private sector from a civil society and human rights perspective. This tool, the first of its kind in Latin America, allows users to access corporate data that otherwise is often inaccessible, from diverse sources, countries, and languages, all concentrated in one place, in Spanish, with a rigorous research and verification methodology. An important component of this platform is that it uses wiki technology, which enables user participation to collaboratively populate the database.

The importance of citizen-led information tools is that they exercise the right to information on issues of the public interest, such as corporate activities and their impact on society. This is particularly relevant in Latin America, not only due to the power of large corporations over the quality of life of millions of people, but also because of the lack of transparency that characterizes the private sector and its contracts with governments across the region.

Increasing corporate transparency is essential to improving Latin American economies and democracy. Civil society often has limited access to this information, but now journalists, advocates, academics, regulators, and investors have a new, very helpful reference for their work.

In collaboration with the prestigious filmmaker Shula Erenberg, N-Map initiates its work in Mexico with these five videos that promote “Who’s Who Wiki” and highlight its potential for impact. Prominent representatives of the Mexican civil society volunteered to participate in the filming, including Daniel Gershenson (social entrepreneur), Ximena Andión (human rights defender), Benjamín Anaya (artist and editor), Paola Galletta (designer and performer), and Lilia Saúl (data journalist). Together with PODER, we designed these brief videos with simple, strong messages.

Promotional videos at: vimeo.com/user25451370

Who’s Who Wiki: www.rindecuentas.org

Twitter: @QuienQuienWiki

Each participant holds a black box, which represents the current state of corporate transparency: opacity. Each actor makes an appeal for citizen participation to help open the black box, so as to increase public knowledge about corporate practices and the opportunity for collaborative citizenship on the“Who’s Who Wiki” platform. The invitation is to join a citizen-led movement for corporate transparency in the public interest.

With this, N-Map hopes to inaugurate a long trajectory in Mexico that will include working on other issues such as the tragedy of missing persons, pending justice for victims of the ABC daycare fire, and the human rights violations of migrant people.


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