Undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Pretoria were exposed to the world of digital verification from 13 to 15 February 2018. Sam Dubberley, Manager of Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps (DVC) programme, facilitated a training, which was organised by the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria. The sole purpose was to open up the verification work to a multi-disciplinary group of students who will then become part of a global team assisting researchers at Amnesty International to advance accountability for human rights violations.

The training session involved both theory and practice and participants learned how to identify false online posts as well as validate their authenticity where relevant.
This is a valuable skill to have in a digital era where retweets and reposts of unverified news can cause irreparable harm and stoke the fires of conflict.

The Centre for Human Rights has been a part of the Digital Verification Corps since it began in 2016. With its initial team of 7 student volunteers, the University of Preotria team has been part of investigations into the crisis in Syria, the election monitoring in Kenya, the violations in Southern Cameroon, amongst others. Other universities that are a part of the DVC network include the University of California, Berkeley, University of Essex, University of Toronto, University of Cambridge and the University of Hong Kong. All the student volunteers from these six universities deploy technology to investigate human rights abuses perpetrated by state and non-state actors.


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