FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 14, 2010
Media Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for Videos: Citizens tell their Story of Human Rights Abuses in the U.S.
Nationwide, United States of America: You now have a chance to speak at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Through the Testify! Project you can submit 30 second to 2 minute video testimony on human rights violations in your community. Selected submissions will be played for UN officials during preparation for the first ever UN review of the US Government’s entire human rights record, called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
WHAT: The Testify! Project documents human rights violations in the United States using short videos and 1 page written testimonies. These videos and testimonies are an important way to explain to the US Government and representatives from the rest of the world whether the U.S. is complying with its human rights obligations and how it can improve.
Submissions should tell a story about an injustice occurring in your area and suggest a solution to the US government. Submissions can focus on virtually any social justice issue, including but not limited to: labor rights; women's rights; immigrant rights; access to necessities like food, housing, education, health care; discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, disability or identity; environmental (in)justice; racial profiling; censorship; and any other rights mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or other key human rights documents.
WHERE: This online contest is centered on www.TestifyProject.com. Videos can be uploaded directly to the YouTube Group at:
WHEN: A compilation of submitted videos will play in Geneva, Switzerland at the UN in September and again right before the U.S. government is reviewed as part of the UPR on November 5th, 2010. Finalist videos will be shown in their entirety. Each deadline will have one winner, receiving the following prizes:
1) To qualify to join a US Human Rights Network delegation to Geneva to present your story to UN delegates in-person, submit your video on or before August 20th at 11:59 pm.
2) To qualify for a new Flip Camera, to continue your video activism, submit your video by October 8th at 11:59 PM EST.
WHY: For the very first time, the United States faces a review of its entire human rights by other countries as part of the UPR. This new review process, developed in 2006, reviews every country in the world by the same standards. The United States government will have to answer questions from other countries about how well the US follows the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, and international human rights treaties. You can read some basic facts about the Universal Periodic Review at www.ushrnetwork.org/campaign_upr & www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/upr/pages/BasifFacts.aspx.
To be sure that the questions asked and recommendations made reflect what is happening here in the United States, we need you to tell your story. Individuals and non-profit organizations from the U.S. will share your stories at an event at the UN in Geneva this September to influence the questions that are part of the November review. Testify! Project submissions will show these delegates what violations we are facing in the United States.
Please see the attached flyer for this project, with more details and sample videos at www.testifyproject.com.