Bracelet For Human Rights Workers Sends Kidnapping Alerts to Facebook, Twitter

When activated, the device sends "Help!" messages social media accounts and nearby aid workers.

Activists and aid workers who document government abuses or monitor elections often risk abduction by those who oppose their work. Now one organization has developed a gadget to help.

Stockholm-based Civil Rights Defenders is distributing a bracelet that sends out “Help!” messages when its wearer activates it, or if someone pulls the bracelet off its wearer forcefully, the BBC reported. The bracelet has a GPS tracker and will send information about the wearer’s identity and location to nearby workers who could come to the rescue. The Civil Rights Defenders headquarters also gets a notice.

At the same time, the bracelet posts messages to Twitter and Facebook, which Civil Rights Defenders says will make repressive regimes warier of garnering international condemnation for kidnapping activists.

The advocacy group hopes to give out 55 bracelets within the next year and a half.

Civil Rights Defenders says the bracelet was inspired by the case of Natalia Estemirova. Estemirova documented human rights abuses in Chechnya in the northern Caucaus region. In 2009, she was abducted and shot in the head.

Interested folks can sign up to get alerts from the Civil Rights Defenders bracelets. People may also donate to the program.

[BBC, Natalia Project]