Amnesty International Challenge Guiding Principles
Addressing the factors surrounding human rights can be a complex undertaking. To act as our compass, Amnesty International and OpenIDEO have developed a few guiding principles to help each of us approach this challenge with a sense of purpose and direction.
In general, we have found that remaining optimistic, solution-focused, and respectful throughout the design process can nurture creativity and further the potential impact of our ideas...
Optimistic: as we learn more about the issues surrounding unlawful detention, it’s easy to feel like the odds are stacked against us. Let’s stay optimistic and hopeful, and use that positivity to identify and design high-impact concepts.
Solution-focused: when tackling a topic as complicated as human rights, it can be easy for anyone to want to find blame or debate the issues. Rather than getting caught up in those questions, let’s focus on the solutions that can help families and communities during these times of crisis.
Respectful: this is a global issue that affects a diverse set of people in very different ways. Let’s remember that everyone’s opinion and experiences are welcome – as long as the content we share is respectful and hopeful.
Discussing Innocence and Guilt
When there is reason to believe that a person has participated in committing or planning acts of terrorism, that person should be investigated, charged, promptly and fairly tried and, if found guilty, punished. However, no matter how heinous the crime they are accused, or even convicted of, it is never justifiable to abuse or violate a person's human rights by detaining him or her unlawfully.
With this in mind, our efforts in this challenge should not revolve around the question of innocence or guilt; instead, let's focus on developing tools and resources that support people affected by human rights violations like unlawful detention.
After all, the protections, tools, and resources needed to shield people from harm and connect communities in crisis are integral to ending these patterns of abuse. Detainees need to be told why they have been held, to be able to challenge the lawfulness of their detention with the assistance of an independent lawyer, to have their families informed of their whereabouts and to communicate and receive visits from them. Everyone deprived of their liberty based on accusations of involvement in terrorism or national security offenses should receive a prompt and fair criminal trial if they are not released. Such measures can make all the difference.
At the same time, whatever we do to aid individuals affected by unlawful detention, it is important that the help provided does not inadvertently assist those who have in fact targeted civilians or otherwise abused human rights themselves to evade justice.
Remembering Ethics and Risk
As we know, the purpose of this challenge is to develop tools to assist those who are illegally detained, which means that their perspective should be our primary consideration. Nothing we do to assist illegally detained individuals should put them, or anyone associated with them, at further risk.
What does this mean for our challenge? In essence, we ask that you always consider the stories you're sharing and whether/how a person's identity or personal information will be disclosed, as well as what can be done to mitigate potential harm. As an example, we know that information posted on the internet can remain there indefinitely. What might be the consequence of sharing someone's personal story of detention online even after that person is no longer detained and, for example, trying to find a job?