Using technological advances to keep human rights in the forefront during the global pandemic 

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to dramatically reduce or even eliminate face-to-face interactions for safety precautions. At the same time, as countries around the world cope with COVID-19, the need to advocate for the human rights of those most marginalized and vulnerable in our community has become even more urgent. Technological advances have made it possible for family, friends and people from every area of the world to come together remotely to build connections and collaborations for all areas of our lives: play, education, work, health, as well as our human rights advocacy efforts.  Old and new technology tools are being used for meetings, educational courses, webinars, discussions and support groups. New Tactics in Human Rights is taking advantage of these technological advances to keep human rights advocacy work at the forefront. 

New Tactics had already begun utilizing online educational tools in our effort to reach more human rights defenders and to reduce our carbon footprint by offering our Strategic Effectiveness Method  workshops in an online course format. This made it possible for New Tactics to quickly shift planned face-to-face workshops into online courses and webinar opportunities as COVID-19 restrictions intensified. 

When New Tactics launched the online Tactical Map Tool (TMT) in 2018, little did we know just how important such an online collaboration tool would become when government quarantines require us to live and work apart from each other. The TMT makes it possible for human rights defenders to continue to plan and track their advocacy efforts safely from anywhere and at any time. By the end of the second quarter of 2020, more than 1,000 human rights defenders have used this tool within their human rights campaigns.

The TMT – available in English and Arabic – is an integral tool in New Tactics face-to-face and online trainings in the Strategic Effectiveness Method. While the five step method provides the backbone of the Tactical Map Tool (TMT), the tool is adaptable with or without using the Method. The TMT facilitates human rights defenders in working collaboratively to develop, organize, and advance their human rights work. Human rights defenders use the tool to: develop a “stakeholder” database of key actors on a secure platform; assess where those actors are positioned on a spectrum from ally to opponent regarding their identified issue; analyze targets for effective intervention; and plan and track advocacy actions. 

High staff and volunteer turnover is an on-going challenge for human rights organizations due to the wide range of risks as well as physical and emotional burnout associated with human rights advocacy work. The TMT can serve as an important storehouse of information for human rights organizations’ advocacy campaigns by mitigating the risk of knowledge loss when members depart from the organization. 

By necessity, human rights defenders are creative and innovative people. As they seek and use both old and new technology tools, New Tactics offers the TMT as a unique tool to virtually collaborate on their current and next human rights advocacy efforts.  

For more information about upcoming virtual and face-to-face training opportunities, please follow our Facebook page, and register on our website to receive the latest news. If you are an organization that wishes to hold a special training for its beneficiaries, please contact us at the following email for more details newtactics@CVT.org.

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The TMT tool and online course adaptations were developed by New Tactics in Human Rights, a program of The Center for Victims of Torture, as part of the Rawabat Initiative – Technological Bridges for Citizen Engagement in cooperation with the International Center for Human Rights Education Equitas and financially supported by Global Affairs Canada. Rawabet is a human rights education initiative that builds the capacity of youth, women, and persons living with a disability to engage in actions in support of respect for human rights in Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt (2017-2020).