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January 06, 2012-3 things, Staff Notes

3 things: We’re excited about in 2012

by JULIA THORNTON

As I look ahead to the promises and perils that will face the human rights community in 2012, I see three things to be excited about this year:

  1. The emerging role of technology to aid human rights. While the intersection of technology and human rights has been developing for quite some time, 2011 demonstrated the tremendous ways technology can empower academics and activists alike. In 2012, I’m excited to see how technology will provide new solutions to aid conflict prevention and expose human trafficking—either through awareness or documentation.
  2. Presidential elections in the United States. Last year, we at Humanity United closely followed key elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, and Sudan. This year, U.S. citizens have an opportunity to raise the profile of key human rights issues—such as foreign aid and anti-trafficking policies—as presidential candidates stump with voters nationwide, both in-person and online.  
  3. The rise of anti-human trafficking movement. Modern-day slavery and human trafficking received unprecedented attention in 2011. Global media giants such as CNN International and Al Jazeera dedicated significant coverage to the topic. New tech tools emerged, including two new apps that raise awareness about slave labor in common consumer products—Slavery Footprint and Free2Work. This year, this trend looks set to continue.  The CNN Freedom Project, for instance, has announced that it will continue into 2012. New advocates are joining the field and many others are expected to follow. This could be the year when modern-day slavery is embraced by the broader human rights community as common threat to our individual causes.

Perhaps it’s the emotion of a year like 2011, where we witnessed incredible change like the Arab Spring. But I feel a sense of tangible opportunity in 2012, when anyone can make a difference.

What are you excited about in 2012? Share your thoughts with me on Facebook.

Julia Thornton is a Communications Manager, based in Humanity United’s California office.

Photo courtesy Flickr.