Building Educational Programs to Encourage Writing Articles on Human Rights

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One of the sessions of the Human Rights Promotion Program on Wikipedia, Osama Eid

Since my first contribution to Wikipedia, I have been striving to promote human rights on Wikipedia in various languages. With the escalation of events and the expansion of armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa, and after conducting a careful analysis of the human rights content on Wikipedia in various languages, I came to a clear conclusion that the human rights content on Wikipedia in its Arabic and English versions is weak. Because I have a legal background and work in the legal profession and human rights, I decided to change the image of Wikipedia educational programs, and launched the first educational program that promotes and publishes articles related to human rights covering all conflict zones, and in all languages in conflict zones.

The first start was on Human Rights Day on December 10, 2021, and the program is still ongoing with the aim of continuing this program, which was the beginning of forming my dream to cover and promote human rights articles in all languages (with a focus on Arabic and English).

Why did you launch the program?

The goal is to promote human rights and involve marginalized groups and victims of violations in editing on Wikipedia, to involve them in the process of defending their rights, and to keep the victims’ narrative present as the official narrative. In addition to setting priorities:

  • Enriching and promoting human rights content in the free encyclopedia “Wikipedia”.
  • Creating new human rights content and updating the available content according to the latest developments in the reality of human rights.
  • Creating groups and teams interested in enriching, following up and editing human rights content on “Wikipedia”.
  • Enhancing the narrative of the victims of violations and highlighting.

Over 150 conflict victims have received training, with the majority hailing from the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Syria, and Jordan. Additionally, over 70 law students from Palestinian universities, the University of Bologna, and Mohammed V University actively participated. The training initiative extended to 12 university lecturers in law faculties and 20 lawyers.

It also worked to provide comprehensive information and materials about Wikipedia, including: its foundations and rules, and worked to provide a working model and editing basics for Wikipedia in conflict areas. The meetings also discussed the nature of Wikipedia’s work from both a theoretical and practical perspective, as beneficiaries of the programs obtained information and data about the history of Wikipedia, the number of articles, and the extent of Wikipedia’s spread. The beneficiaries also received practical training and models on how to create an account on the free encyclopedia, create articles afterwards, or edit existing articles, with a detailed explanation of Wikipedia’s standards and policies to ensure the correct use of Wikipedia and its sister projects and that the trainees do not violate the policies.

The program has produced a specialized staff capable of systematic publishing and editing, as well as coordinating teamwork and contributions to “Wikipedia”. The staff also worked on qualifying and training other activists based on research and using sources mainly in the documentation and editing process, by taking advantage of the experiences of former trainees and their information on topics related to human rights and humanitarian aspects to enable them to provide Wikipedia with the necessary facts.

On October 20, 2023, we lost the writer “Hiba Abu Nada” who was one of the trainees in the human rights program. She was killed in an Israeli air strike while she was in her home in Khan Yunis, south of Gaza. On January 18, 2022, Hiba became a part of the Human Rights Program, where her responsibilities included linguistically reviewing Arabic articles before their publication.

Hiba Kamal Abu Nada
Maitane Azurmendi, CC BY-SA 4.0

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