Human Rights Team

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"Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere."

- Eleanor Roosevelt, 1958

 Overview HRIG CEE Statement Digital Security 

Contacting Human Rights:

The Human Rights Team of the Wikimedia Foundation aims to support volunteer contributors persecuted due to their good faith contribution to the projects and to facilitate the organization's work related to its Human Rights Policy. The Wikimedia movement aims to ensure everyone, everywhere can freely and safely share in the sum of free knowledge. Yet, around the world the vision of a free and open Internet is dwindling and editing environments in regards to the many Wikimedia projects are becoming increasingly challenged. Indeed in a world as connected as ours, the need to control information and sway narratives has led people in power, governmental and otherwise, to great lengths to push their agendas and hinder fundamental human rights. It is in this context that the Human Rights Team at the Wikimedia Foundation was created. We are a group of dedicated human rights defenders located in the Legal department and are working towards mitigating risks and threats to individual contributors and groups supporting the Foundation’s vision to imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. The team strives to find a balance between upholding the freedom of expression in creating the sum of all human knowledge while also making sure the human rights of our community members and people they may have written about are protected.


Continuing with the important work of the Voices under Threat initiative, the Human Rights Team will work to deliver several issues from the Movement Strategy recommendations on the journey towards becoming the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge by 2030.

What we doEdit

We are dedicated towards upholding and defending the human rights of the movement’s volunteers to allow the continued contribution to reliable, well-resourced, and uncensored knowledge to the various Wikimedia projects across the platform. We are currently in the process of building three pillars to help us realize this mission.

Digital SecurityEdit

Do you lock your door when you leave your house? Do you walk around with a name tag in public? Do you use the same key for your car and your office? Albeit seemingly dumb question whose answers are likely quite obvious, but are meant to make you think about your privacy and safety. What steps are you taking to protect yourself online? Do you use different passwords for different accounts? Do you have a picture of yourself on your userpage? Is your username your real name or somehow identifiable? (Read about how a username can keep you safe) Although the offline world may seem distinct to the online world, online threats are just as valid and can be just as harmful. Indeed, your digital security practices (or lack thereof) also influence the digital security of your friends and your family. Furthermore, in an increasingly digital world, wherein the lines between offline and online are growingly blurred, being aware of one's digital security risks and taking precautionary measures has become immensely important.

Through a pool of digital security resources as well as training sessions and regular conversation hours, the Human Rights Team hopes to highlight varied digital security risks our community members face, help you take measures to address them and preemptively mitigate any harm that might come to you as you participate in Wikimedia projects and engage with the Internet more broadly. After all, privacy and digital security is critical to sustaining freedom of expression and enabling knowledge and ideas to thrive.

Digital security trainingEdit

Have you heard of ‘digital hygiene’? What is ‘doxxing’? Do you know what ‘social engineering’ is? Have you ever wondered how after having talked about something with a friend it miraculously appears as an ad on your feed? Why is free-and-open-source software (FOSS) usually a lot more secure than proprietary software? What is a ‘VPN’ or ‘end-to-end encryption’? The answers to all these questions, and many more, are pivotal to maintaining one's safety online. The Human Rights Team is in the process of developing a series of digital security learning modules on a whole range of topics, issues and trends designed to make you aware of vulnerabilities and guide you in maintaining best practices so those cannot be exploited.

Office HoursEdit

The Human Rights and Digital Safety office hours will serve as a space for us to engage directly with Wikimedia volunteers, affiliates, and anyone who is interested in Wikimedia’s human rights work. While answering specific questions you may have regarding the work that our team does, we hope this will be a space to hold open conversations relating to concerns within your community and have broader dialogues on what human rights means in the context of Wikimedia - which is uniquely positioned as both a digital platform that hosts the world’s largest encyclopaedia and used globally, while simultaneously being a movement with a common mission. Furthermore, these office hours will also provide a space to talk about some digital safety challenges, how to best mitigate them or even plan curated workshops for your community. Join us! We would love to meet you! Hear your thoughts and support you in any way we can.

Human Rights PartnersEdit

The Wikimedia community faces threats from around the world because of their participation in our Movement from malign actors. The increased use of information from Wikimedia projects by other platforms and technologies has meant more parties, often parties of power and authority, are vested in it, thereby seriously affecting the vision of a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. This can – and sometimes does – cause different kinds of problems for Wikimedians who choose to share knowledge freely. In order to better protect our community from these threats and to ensure that our global community has support to minimize the threats and harm they may face, the Human Rights Team is building a global network of human rights partner organizations to address our gaps in local expertise and capacity.

Partner with us!Edit

Are you an organization passionate about defending open-knowledge, freedom of expression and other fundamental human rights? Do you see content gaps on the Wikimedia platform that you would like to fill? Do you see ways in which the Foundation can support you in achieving our common human rights goals? We are always open to collaborating with interested organizations to help support our volunteers and the wider Movement. Much like the work that we do and the community that we support, the partnerships we are hoping to make are vast and varied from legal support to digital training and from threat monitoring to translation. Feel free to reach out to us, we look forward to hearing from you at talktohumanrights

Human Rights Interest GroupEdit

Many Wikimedia projects strive towards a strict neutral point of view policy in their coverage of subjects, both in terms of the articles that are created and the content, perspectives and sources within these articles. However, this goal is hindered by systemic biases created by the shared social and cultural characteristics of most editors, resulting in an imbalanced coverage of subjects and perspectives on the encyclopedia. One such imbalance presents itself in the field of human rights wherein the amount and diversity of content pertaining to human rights is relatively slim.

Recognising this, the Human Rights Team is currently working in close collaboration with Chapters, User Groups, WikiProjects and individual volunteers on establishing a Human Rights Interest Group. Our primary objective is to emphasize a human rights lens across the platform, which includes both promoting and defending universal rights and freedoms online and offline. We hope to support you to ensure that the human rights concerns of your country and region are expressed on the various projects, heard within the broader Wikimedia community and understood by the Foundation. Additionally, we seek to foster an awareness of human rights when creating content. After all, the freedom of expression does not equate to the freedom of consequences, both for a contributor or someone they may have contributed about. As such, the Team will deliver digital security training, a human rights learning module in regards to its projects, facilitate community events and edit-a-thons, and create a platform for cooperation and dialogue between community members and the Foundation on human rights related issues.


As we are currently in the early stages of setting up the Human Rights Team and its potential workflows please refer to the established processes of Trust and Safety for your most immediate concerns. If, however, you have any questions, concerns, comments and or suggestions regarding the work we are doing and objectives we are hoping to achieve please reach out to us at talktohumanrights