Human rights abuses, transparency, impunity and the Web.

Steven H. Miles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper reviews how human rights advocates during the "war-on-terror" have found new ways to use the World Wide Web (Web) to combat human rights abuses. These include posting of human rights reports; creating large, open-access and updated archives of government documents and other data, tracking CIA rendition flights and maintaining blogs, e-zines, list-serves and news services that rapidly distribute information between journalists, scholars and human rights advocates. The Web is a powerful communication tool for human rights advocates. It is international, instantaneous, and accessible for uploading, archiving, locating and downloading information. For its human rights potential to be fully realized, international law must be strengthened to promote the declassification of government documents, as is done by various freedom of information acts. It is too early to assess the final impact of the Web on human rights abuses in the "war-on-terror". Wide dissemination of government documents and human rights advocates' reports has put the United States government on the defensive and some of its policies have changed in response to public pressure. Even so, the essential elements of secret prisons, detention without charges or trials, and illegal rendition remain intact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-221
Number of pages6
JournalTorture : quarterly journal on rehabilitation of torture victims and prevention of torture
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2007


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