Right to Life, Liberty & Security
Since the onset of conflict in 2011, over 400,000 Syrian lives have been lost, and more than half of the population remains displaced; nearly 6 million refugees are living outside of the country and an additional 6 million are displaced within Syria’s borders, according to a 2020 World Bank report. Those who have lost their loved ones and their homes are often left voiceless, leaving an astonishing number of stories left untold.
Recently, a number of videos have circulated online showing citizens celebrating the birthday of potholes on major roads in different countries. The videos are in protest against the condition of roads and streets, the delay in maintenance, as well as to deliver a message to those responsible to act. New tactics has gathered a few examples of those who used birthday celebrations as a way to protest against ineffective local governance.
Global estimates published by World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that about 1 in 3 women worldwide (35%) have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Some national studies have reported rates of 70% or more. Although incidence of domestic violence varies from place to place, underreporting is a common concern across the globe. Difficulty in tracking instances of violence and accessing safe means to report are problems faced by far too many victims of domestic violence. To encourage reporting and ensure prosecution of abusers, app developers have taken on the charge to connect victims with the resources they need through easy-to-use channels. Mobile phone technology has served as a new frontier in tackling the worldwide epidemic of domestic violence. Three pioneering apps worth keeping on your radar are VictimsVoice (USA), GjejZâ (“Find your Voice,” Albania), and EasyRescue (Turkey).
When addressing human rights violations in a public reconciliation process, it’s important to make the process comfortable for victims who testify. One tactic is “accompaniment” of victims by volunteers trained in psychosocial support and the practical realities of the process. The goal is to give victims an empowering experience that helps their healing and does not contribute to re-traumatization.
To address gross human rights violations committed during apartheid, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was initiated by legislation in 1995. Their mandate was to document violations committed by state bodies or armed opposition, to promote national unity and reconciliation, and to offer policy reforms to prevent future abuses. In addition to amnesty and human rights hearings, special hearings were held, focused on abuses suffered by women and children. These hearings were held around the country and were covered extensively by all media.
Ujamaa Africa with its No Means No Worldwide curriculum reduces the prevalence of rape and sexual assault in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya by empowering high school girls with self-defense tactics.
The Front to Defend Egypt Protesters (FDEP) developed an approach to encourage activists and protesters at risk of arrest and detention to communicate with a volunteer network and mobilize timely legal, medical and other support.
In Cairo, Harassmap uses SMS and mapping technology to identify areas where sexual harassment is likely to occur and partners with local shop owners to create “safe zones” in those areas.
Peace Brigades International (PBI) sends international observers to accompany human rights activists who are threatened by the government or paramilitary organizations. If they witness abuse, observers alert authorities in the country, their own native government and activists around the world. Knowing they can expect an international response, abusers are deterred from their planned attacks. At the same time, the accompanied activists are empowered to continue and expand their work for human rights. PBI began its work in the 1980s and currently sustains over 80 volunteers on the ground in Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico and Guatemala.
For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.