Resource Library

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Using Social Networking for Innovative Advocacy

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Social networking tools have revolutionized the way that social movements and human rights advocates operate. In a world where the public creates the news in real time and information is readily available in a moment’s notice, the process of communication and dissemination has been largely democratized. Individuals can magnify their voice, not only through information consumption and generation, but through active engagement and organizing. For example, activists of the 2014 Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong used a mesh networking tool, traditionally used at music festivals, to communicate.

Using Mass Protests to Publicize Issues and Galvanize Change

Public gatherings or rallies have long been used as a form of protest against autocratic regimes or to draw attention to a particular issue, cause or inequity. Communication through modern technology has made it easier to mobilize people into participating in mass global protests. The main intent behind a mass protest on a global scale is to draw international attention on a particular issue. The following mass global protests provide examples highlighting this tactic to advance such diverse issues as climate change, inequality, and electoral reform.

Protecting Survivors and Witnesses

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Protecting survivors and witnesses of human rights violations is crucial to effective human rights work. Protection is important because when survivors and witnesses fear further persecution, they are unlikely to report their experiences, making redress and accountability much more difficult. The state is formally responsible for providing protection, but it is the state that is often the greatest source of perceived risk amongst witnesses and survivors. In this conversation, participants together with New Tactics in Human Rights and DIGNITY (Danish Institute Against Torture) discussed the various strategies to protect witnesses and survivors of human rights violations, the challenges faced and the role of civil society.

Video for Change and Impact

Summary Available
The use of video as a tool for creating social change is determined by the impact that video can have on individuals. Understanding the intended and unintended consequences, both positive and negative, of the use of video in advocacy efforts is critical to its implementation in successful social change.

In this conversation, discussion leaders and participants evaluated how impact can be created and how individuals and organizations can measure, monitor, and evaluate the impact of their video for change efforts. Conversation leaders explored the stages at which impact can occur (research, training, production, filming, and screening) and discussed how to design appropriate strategies given desired impacts.

Using a victim accompaniment process to provide emotional support for testimony

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.

Principles of Persuasion: The Social Psychology Behind Change

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Ideas, and how they are expressed, define efforts to move causes forward, create change, and build consensus of opinion. Effectively influencing public opinion is a key component to successful social movements. Tomorrow's world is shaped by those who are most adept at impacting what people think and subsequently how they behave. But how do you influence people's opinions, mindsets, and preconceived notions?

Social psychology is the science of why people make choices and provides insights into how messaging shapes people’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Understanding the science behind influence leads to more effective and lasting change. In this conversation, New Tactics In Human Rights explored the principles of persuasion politics; the development of messaging strategy; how mentality change occurs; and frames and values.

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