Martus is improving global human rights and the social justice sector by bringing efficiency and security to the documentation and reporting of abuses.
The Most Powerful Tool is Information
Human rights groups throughout the world gather massive amounts of violation data. Much of it never reaches its full potential or intended audience. Instead, a large part of this information is lost due to confiscation or destruction, neglect, passage of time, or because the grassroots organizations that collect the data lack the resources or infrastructure to document and communicate violations systematically and securely.
Lost information is a problem with far-reaching implications. Workers in this sector agree that timely, accurate delivery of this information is — quite simply — one of the most powerful weapons in the battle against human rights violations. Human rights NGOs gather information about violations to bring attention to the situation of victims and justice to the actions of perpetrators. Once collected, international NGOs use information to focus media attention, raise awareness and political pressure and help deliver justice in the form of truth commissions and tribunals. Without the collection and use of such information, human rights campaigns have a limited chance of success.
Providing Critical Data Collection Tools
In 2003, Benetech® launched Martus, an information and document management system based on client software and Internet-based infrastructure. These tools help to ensure that the documentation of human rights violations is safeguarded and disseminated. This, in turn, strengthens reporting of violations, and in some cases, has prevented additional abuses.
Martus is neither an activist organization nor an urgent action network. It offers a system and infrastructure that addresses the specific technological needs of the human rights community with a single goal: To increase its effectiveness.
Designed to be run on Windows, Macintosh, or Linux, Martus is a software system that:
With records of abuses preserved and protected, human rights groups worldwide are now able to bring greater attention to human rights violations, assisting in the prosecution of perpetrators and discouraging further abuses.
Measures of Success
Since its release in January 2003, Martus software has been downloaded from the Martus website by over 1000 visitors from more than 60 countries, including Cambodia, Cyprus, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Perú, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe.
Benetech works strategically with grassroots NGOs around the world to offer outreach, training and support in their use of Martus. We have been involved in projects in thirteen countries, including Afghanistan, Perú, Colombia, Guatemala, Hungary, the Philippines, Russia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Zimbabwe and the United States. There are four active Martus backup servers located in Seattle (Washington), Manila (Philippines), Budapest (Hungary), and Thailand, with additional servers coming online in the future.
For more information about Martus, visit the Martus website.