Swedish human rights organization Civil Rights Defenders, existing to defend the civil and political rights of people, has developed a special GPS tracking bracelet in the hopes of keeping their workers safe from harm out in the field.
The GPS tracking bracelet and network of watchers is dubbed the Natalia Project, named after the 2009 kidnapping and murder victim Natalia Estemirova, a Chechen civil rights worker.
If a person wearing the GPS tracking bracelet is abducted or attacked, an alert is transmitted to the other members of the network thanks to cellular phone technology. The bracelet can also transmit pre-written messages upon activation. Activation is either done manually by the wearer, if they feel threatened, or automatically upon the forcible removal of the bracelet by kidnappers or attackers.
The Civil Rights Defenders said, “The bracelet has been developed and tested to make sure it works with ease – even in the most demanding situations. When a distress signal is sent out, Civil Right Defenders will validate the signal, take appropriate action and keep you updated on the situation as it unfolds.”
GPS Tracking Bracelet To The Rescue
When the device is activated, it transmits crucial GPS location data regarding where the person was attacked as well as who was attacked. Messages can be posted to Twitter and Facebook as well, which according to BBC helps “rally support” when something goes wrong. Another plus: the device alerts aid workers close to the attack so that they can try to help.
“Civil Rights Defenders wants people to sign up to monitor the bracelets of individual rights workers via social media. It hopes the global involvement will act as a deterrent to anyone planning attacks on aid workers,” said BBC News. They added the people monitoring the bracelets could “help bring pressure to bear on governments to find or release people abducted or jailed.”
Civil Rights Defenders intends to have 55 bracelets on the wrists of human rights workers by the end of 2014. The need for these devices is highlighted by the executive director of the Civil Rights Defenders, Robert Hardh: “Most of us, given the chance, would like to help others in danger. These civil rights defenders are risking their lives for others to have the right to vote, or to practice religion or free speech.”