Dec 16, 2019

Wikimedia Foundation and UN Human Rights

Wikimedia Foundation and UN Human Rights launch #WikiForHumanRights campaign to improve and expand knowledge about human rights online
International Women's Strike in Buenos Aires in 2018
Leer este posteo en español. Now through 30 January, join a global campaign to improve and add articles about human rights on Wikipedia.

At a time of growing polarization, misinformation, and limits placed on freedom of speech, assembly, and privacy, as well as ongoing conflict—understanding our human rights is a critical part of our daily lives. It dictates everything from how we gather in our communities and speak about the issues and causes we care about, to how to pursue freedom and prosperity.

But much of the knowledge about these rights is hidden within institutional systems or specialized publications that make it hard to access and understand them.

To address this challenge, this Human Rights Day, Wikipedia volunteers, the Wikimedia Foundation, and UN Human Rights are collaborating on a global campaign — #WikiForHumanRights — to improve and add articles about human rights on Wikipedia. The campaign will make knowledge of human rights more accessible for all. It will launch today, on 10 December, timed with the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and run through 30 January. Everyone is invited to participate.

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To exercise our own human rights and stand up for those of others, we have to first understand them. As a top website viewed by hundreds of millions of people every month, Wikipedia provides a free, trusted, and multilingual resource to help make this information more easily accessible to the world.

“At Wikimedia, we know that free access to knowledge is a fundamental human right—that anyone, anywhere should have the ability to learn more about the world around them. When we have greater access to knowledge, our societies are more informed, just, and equitable,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.

The #WikiForHumanRights campaign builds on this commitment to make knowledge about human rights more easily accessible for everyone to learn about their basic human rights and how to uphold them. The campaign focuses on improving, adding, and translating Wikipedia articles about two key topics—the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the founding document outlining everyone’s fundamental rights, and youth activism, the young people who stand up for human rights every day and the issues they defend.

“To ensure that everyone has access to fundamental human rights, it’s critical that people first know their rights. By teaming up with Wikimedia, we are making critical knowledge about human rights available in as many languages as possible,” said Laurent Sauveur, Director of External Relations at UN Human Rights.

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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was born out of World War II, in recognition of the need to protect and uphold freedom and equality for everyone, everywhere. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. It universalized human rights for the first time, holding that all people are entitled to these rights, regardless of country or government. It also placed on every human being the responsibility to stand up for others when abuses of these rights occur. Volunteer editors will be creating and translating the article about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Wikipedia throughout the campaign.

Today there are 1.2 billion youth aged 15-24 years globally, accounting for one out of every six people worldwide. There are more adolescents and young people alive today than at any time in human history. With the rise of such transformational young leaders as Greta Thunberg and  Malala Yousafzai, youth have been major drivers of political, economic, and social change.

There is still so much more knowledge to add, improve, and translate about human rights. We need your help to make more knowledge about this critical topic available.

How to get involved

If you’re interested in getting involved in the campaign, there are several ways you can participate:

  • Join an edit-a-thon

Check out this page to learn about local events near you and online edit-a-thons to add and improve articles about human rights. Many events will provide support with learning how to edit if you’re a newbie and will also provide lists of topics needing articles on Wikipedia. New events are still being added, so please continue to check!

Want to host your own event? Learn how with the event toolkit.

  • Share human rights topics that should have articles on Wikipedia

Tell us which human rights topics are not represented in your local language Wikipedia, and add them to the campaign list of topics.

  • Tell us why human rights are important to you

Help us amplify the campaign from now through the 30th of January on social media using the hashtag #WikiForHumanRights. Tell your followers and the world why you think getting to know your human rights is important. You can also re-tweet messages from @Wikipedia and @Wikimedia throughout the week.

  • Share photos of your events

Have photos of an edit-a-thon you ran with your community? Consider uploading them to Wikimedia Commons or sharing them on social media. Be sure to tag @Wikipedia and use the hashtag #WikiForHumanRights and we’ll share your stories!

This campaign is part of a new partnership between the Wikimedia Foundation and UN Human Rights to expand the availability of knowledge about human rights online. It builds on the impactful work of Wikimedia Argentina, the local Wikimedia chapter dedicated to supporting the Wikimedia projects and mission in the country, and their WikiDerechosHumanos project. Working with partners such as the UN, the project has been expanding Wikimedia’s human rights-related content for several years now through a series of edit-a-thons and events. Wikimedia Argentina is playing a leading role in the #WikiForHumanRights campaign and in facilitating this wider partnership to take shape on a global scale.

By partnering with the UN’s Human Rights Office, we hope to support Wikimedians from around the world to create, improve, and expand content about human rights in all Wikimedia projects and across the nearly 300 languages of Wikipedia.

Follow us on @Wikipedia and @Wikimedia for event details and updates as the campaign continues through the 30th of January and check back for updates on the event page. You can also follow our collaborators @UNHumanRights to learn more about human rights and the campaign!

Jorge Vargas is Senior Partnerships Manager at the Wikimedia Foundation. Follow them on Twitter at @jorgeavargas.

Alex Stinson is a Senior Strategist on Community Programs at the Wikimedia Foundation. Follow them on Twitter at @sadads.

Sep 17, 2019

Wikimedia Foundation announces $2.5 million in support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies

The Wikimedia Foundation is excited to announce $2.5 million in support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies that will help to ensure the security of Wikipedia, as well as the organization’s other sites and global community of volunteers.

At a time of increased cybersecurity threats, this philanthropic investment from the organization of craigslist founder Craig Newmark will help the Wikimedia Foundation vigorously monitor and thwart risks to its free knowledge projects. This effort will also help to protect information about the organization’s users and projects as well as provide everyone around the world with safe and secure access to its platforms on all devices.

“Wikipedia’s continued success as a top-10 website that has hundreds of millions of users makes it a target for vandalism, hacking, and other cybersecurity threats that harm the free knowledge movement and community,” said John Bennett, Director of Security at the Wikimedia Foundation. “That’s why we are working proactively to combat problems before they arise. This investment will allow us to further expand our security programs to identify current and future threats, create effective countermeasures, and improve our overall security controls.”

With this support, the Wikimedia Foundation’s security team will grow and mature a host of security controls and services. These include application security, risk management, incident response, and more.

“As disinformation and other security threats continue to jeopardize the integrity of our democracy, we must invest in systems that protect the services that work so hard to get accurate and trustworthy information in front of the public,” said Newmark. “That’s why I eagerly continue to support the Wikimedia Foundation and its projects—like Wikipedia, the place where facts go to live.”

This investment builds on Craig Newmark’s long-time support of the free knowledge movement and the Wikimedia Foundation. Prior to this contribution, Newmark had donated nearly $2 million to the organization’s projects. This includes initial philanthropic funding for the Community Health Initiative, an effort that supports better tools and policies for addressing harassment on Wikimedia Foundation projects, as well as contributions to the Wikimedia Endowment.

“Our platforms were built on the belief that security and privacy sustain freedom of expression,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “Now, more than ever before, there is an urgent need to invest in tools and practices that protect our users and our platforms. With Craig’s generous support, we will be able to better respond to security threats while building a sustainable source for free knowledge for everyone around the world.”

• • •

About the Wikimedia Foundation 

The Wikimedia Foundation is the international non-profit organization that operates Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. Our vision is a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. We believe that everyone has the potential to contribute something to our shared knowledge, and that everyone should be able to access that knowledge freely. We host Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects, build software experiences for reading, contributing, and sharing Wikimedia content, support the volunteer communities and partners who make Wikimedia possible, and advocate for policies that enable Wikimedia and free knowledge to thrive. The Wikimedia Foundation is a charitable, not-for-profit organization that relies on donations. We receive financial support from millions of individuals around the world, with an average donation of about $15. We also receive donations through institutional grants and gifts. The Wikimedia Foundation is a United States 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization with offices in San Francisco, California, USA.

About Craig Newmark Philanthropies

Craig Newmark Philanthropies was created by craigslist founder Craig Newmark to support and connect people and drive broad civic engagement. It works to advance people and grassroots organizations that are getting stuff done in areas that include trustworthy journalism & information security, voter protection, gender diversity in technology, and veterans & military families.

Jun 24, 2019

What would your life be like #WithoutWikipedia?

For more than two years, the people of Turkey have been unable to access or participate on Wikipedia—what Ege, a high school student in the country, calls the “source of the sources.”

And they’re not the only ones affected. Without Wikipedia, the rest of the world is missing the voices, perspectives, and knowledge of Turkey’s 82 million people. We’ve petitioned the European Court of Human Rights to lift this block, part of our continued commitment to knowledge and freedom of expression as fundamental rights for every person.

In light of all this, we wanted to know how people might imagine their lives would be different #WithoutWikipedia.

Hundreds of people responded on social media. Here are a few of their answers:

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@manikesh15: “Are you kidding me? Wikipedia is the answer book for variety of questions, ranging from 1940s Telugu films to scholastic publications, Chemical elements to Sherlock Holmes, Harry  Potter adventures. It’s one place destination for all the queries.”

@buseyerlii: “It’s been hell for us without you guys. Turkey missed you

@DanGFSouza: “Wikipedia, despite its shortcomings, is the best collaborative project in the internet. It amazes me when people join together to build something for the benefit of all. I’d be very disappointed if it closes down or if my country restricts access to it.”

@AashirwadGupta7: “Trust me I can’t imagine life without Wikipedia. I remember the day when I started using internet and only thing I know was Wikipedia where I can find most probably ever answer to my questions it has changed the I act and think my prospective towards life has changed bcoz of it.”

@KC_Velaga: “If I had answered this question six years ago, I would have said; completing my assignments will be tough. Being a Wikimedian for five years now, I will say I would miss the wonderful experience of being part of this incredible community and even more delightful experience”

@iugoaoj: “Depressing. Browsing Wikipedia was my favourite (and maybe only) past time for a good chunk of my childhood”

@alphrho: “Going to library to find outdated encyclopaedias or paying  an online subscription to access one of those.”

@GrungiePunkiePie: “Something BIG is missing #WeMissWikipedia

@1stbullet: “Finding the result on google but not able to click is disappointment and ‘learned desperateness’”

@LeniLaniLucero: “I would not have instant access to knowledge when a question arises about most anything! I would probably pay more attention to the back stories of news stories, instead of waiting until it came up again, and then search for answers or data.”

@alexjstinson: “I would suck at Trivial Pursuit.”

“Wouldn’t know what to stare at (in bed) on my phone at 2.30am.” – @shreshthx

@Merolyn: “We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year
Running over the same old ground
And how we found
The same old fears
Wish you were here @Wikipedia”

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