Sarah K. Dreier, a graduate student at the University of Washington and a former researcher at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, co-authored this post, which originally appeared on The Wonk Room.
From the satellite mapping of atrocities and data-driven prosecution of war criminals to the use of social networking to mobilize against repressive regimes, advances in science and technology hold unprecedented potential to make human rights a reality across the world.
A new report from the Center for American Progress, “New Tools for Old Traumas,” calls on President Obama — recently dubbed “Scientist in Chief” for his unprecedented commitment to research and development — to lead efforts to use these new tools to bring human rights perpetrators to justice; halt ongoing atrocities; and empower victims to fight against injustice. Cell phone companies have crucial roles to play as well because part of the complexity of this issue is ensuring that these tools do not foster human rights atrocities as well as stop them.
Today, the mobile phone that an activist uses to mobilize protesters in Tehran is made with tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold, whose mining in eastern Congo has fueled the world’s deadliest conflict since World War II.
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Photo: A gold miner in eastern Congo (Reuters)