This brief article is featured in the book, New Tactics in Human Rights: A Resource for Practitioners (pages 12 - 18). It provides an excellent overview with strategic insights for human rights advocates for expanding their strategic and tactical thinking capacities in order to diversify, adapt, innovate and implement effective tactics.
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This tactic provides a pathway for victims of severe abuses perpetrated against them to seek justice denied them in their home country. Although it may require considerable time, the application of universal jurisdiction is gaining recognition by countries around the world as an effective way to internationally combat impunity. Universal jurisdiction is a legal principle of international law that allows national courts to prosecute such crimes regardless of where they occurred or the nationality of the perpetrator or victim.
Data visualizations can be an incredible resource for human rights defenders, but understanding what data to use, as well as when and how to use data can be an overwhelming and daunting task. As of 2014, IBM found that each day, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created; that is a lot of information to sort and share. A simple online search will yield many statistics stating that humans understand and absorb information faster as visual representation than text-based. Interestingly, a 2010 study by S. Bresciani, et al found that even when accounting for cultural variances “the visual representation of information objectively increases understanding and recall.” In short, taking troves of data that human rights defenders come across in their work, both knowingly and unknowingly, and converting it into visual representations of that data, can be a powerful tool. However, used incorrectly data visualizations can be misleading and, in some instances, harmful or dangerous.
Modifying societal beliefs and norms are most successful when the change comes from within the community. Such a transformation is now happening after the birth of every girl in the village of Piplantri in Rajasthan, India. Villagers plant one hundred eleven (111) trees to honor the birth of the girl. The new custom aims to counteract the prevalence of female feticide by encouraging parents and villagers to plant trees in honor of a female child. It requires that parents promise to not marry their female child before adulthood, creates a community-funded trust fund for the child, and provides the community with the necessary resources to develop. Villagers have planted over 286,000 trees which are now providing not only a new tradition but environmental sustainability. In addition, villagers have planted over 2.5 million aloe vera plants which protect the trees and provide a source of livelihood. As a result, the ratio of girls to boys in Piplantri village has increased and girls are being given an equivalent position to boys in the village. The Piplantri 111 Trees has now spread to surrounding villages, broadening the respect and protection for girls.
In September of 2016, a high-level summit on large movements of refugees and migrants was called, a first at the Heads of State and Government level, by the UN General Assembly. The goal was to seek a better international response to the growing refugee situation. As local conflicts and global tensions between countries have been exasperated in recent years, more than 65.3 million people are currently facing years of displacement after fleeing violence in their own homelands. Numerous issues have been raised, particularly focusing on the responsibility of host countries (countries that receive refugees) to protect, assist, and resettle.
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Hay una realidad inocultable, la defensa de los derechos humanos en el mundo afecta la salud física, emocional, psicológica, mental, espiritual y las relaciones familiares, amorosas, sexuales, de amistad y de trabajo de quienes se dedican a este quehacer, pues nuestro sistema nervioso no está diseñado para resistir las amenazas, la presión, la inseguridad, el acoso, las violaciones, el sufrimiento, las injusticias y, en sí, la brutalidad humana, sin dejar consecuencias en nuestra salud integral.
Using boats and other smaller sea vessels to form blockades, and blockades on land as a form of protest, have been historically successful as advocacy tools; able to garner both national and international attention, often producing tangible results. Below are examples of such blockades.
Human rights violations can easily stem from a lack of interaction and accustom among diverse social groups. By simulating a library checkout of people instead of books, the human library helps foster respectful dialogue between distinctive individuals and their peers, intending to promote understanding on various lifestyles within any given community. Since the first event in 2000, the human library movement has grown immensely, now having taken place in an estimated 70 nations across every region of the world.
Across the world, women are abused, trafficked, raped and killed. Violence against women is a grave violation of human rights, negatively affecting women’s well-being and precluding women from fully participating in society. It not only leads to severe physical, sexual and mental consequences to each individual victim, but tears their families, community and society apart.