Knowledge Equity Calendar/17

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Wiki Human Rights: building memory in the digital environment
Wikimedia Argentina

“History and its memory belong to the peoples and Wikimedia projects are great allies of all those communities historically left out and that never had the chance to be heard.”

Wiki Derechos Humanos (Wiki Human Rights) is a project by Wikimedia Argentina, which was born in 2018 and has been working in collaboration with other Wikimedia chapters in the region since then. It is an Argentinian-made experience in response to generating quality and updated information on Wikipedia on crimes against humanity perpetrated in our country during the last civil-military dictatorship.

The first articles created and improved were related to the Memoria, Verdad y Justicia process. This is did not come about by chance. Argentina was one of the first countries in bringing to trial armed forces members & co-operation actors of the de facto governments that wielded power under the Operation Condor. Thus, the creation of Wiki Human Rights was kind of a natural path.

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Wikimedia Argentina's staff

However, and sooner than expected, the project quickly spread to the different Wikimedia chapters in the region with the aim of expanding the importance of editing Wikipedia with a human rights approach based on international standards. By virtue of the contextual problematics of each country, we came to realise that in a country as Argentina, where a member from the LGBT + community is murdered every 77 hours, it is also important to use Wikipedia as a safe space for human rights’ awareness raising, promotion, and protection.

Since then we’ve created more than 250 articles and improved more than 700 about most of the issues that matter in Latin American and the Caribbean societies where human rights are frequently violated. 30 edit-a-thons have been carried out in Argentina and 10 in other countries, such as México, Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, and Venezuela. These actions were not done by our solely action, they are part of a much bigger work in progress done with the academia, civil society organizations, and Wikimedia chapters & volunteers.

The realization of the Human Rights in Digital Environments’ conference is an utter proof of what has been written in the last few lines. Framed under a notion of free knowledge construction, it was the first Wikimedia conference that represented an instance to spotlight and promote human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean, on multiple digital platforms and across different disciplines. More than 20 civil society organizations, including several Wikimedia chapters, and 240 participants met and shared work experiences, projects, and challenges on the approach to human rights in Internet and the democratization of access to information.

Being Argentina a country with a closely tied history to social protest, one of the conference’s most valued outcomes is related to fighting for social justice also on the Internet. In that very same line, the conference helped lay the groundwork for coordinating actions among Latin American and the Caribbean organizations in order to set up this process not only from an Argentinean perspective, but also from a regional one too.

To achieve knowledge equity we need to strengthen our links not only within the movement, but also with diverse partners, key actors not only to access to currently missing knowledge, but also to work together to empower the communities themselves to be protagonists in the construction of their own history. History and its memory belong to the peoples and Wikimedia projects are, without a doubt, great allies to protect the history of all those communities historically left out and that never had the chance to be heard.