Tactics

Are you looking for ideas and inspiration on how you can achieve your human rights goals? Then you’re in the right place. Below, we have over 220 examples of successful human rights tactics.

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Reframing poverty as a human rights issue to maintain government assistance

The Kensington Welfare Rights Union (KWRU) reframes the welfare debate as part of a larger fight for human rights in order to advocate for the maintenance of welfare services.

In 1991, welfare cuts threatened the livelihoods of poor families and communities in the most impoverished district of Pennsylvania. A group of women from this area came together and organized KWRU in order to present welfare as a human rights issue, rather than an issue of personal responsibility for poverty or charity-based government responses.

Providing free legal services to victims of police torture

Founded by a group of 4-5 attorneys, the project initially included 45 attorneys willing to prosecute torturers. The group has grown to include 234 people providing direct or support services for human rights cases.

In the year and a half since the project's implantation, 304 cases had been brought to the Association. They have developed a reputation among the police stations which likely has a strong preventative effect. The project has also heightened judges' awareness of the problem of police torture.



Providing companies with a plan for a practical HIV policy that reduces the cost of the treatment for all employees

Project M.O.M. Sunshine in Cameroon aims to convince companies to provide medical, psychological and nutritional support to employees living with HIV/AIDS. Their main tactic is to present the company with a plan for a practical HIV policy that reduces the cost of the treatment and that benefits the company’s public image. In particular, the project negotiates with insurance companies dependent on company contracts to improve insurance policies with regard to workers with HIV, and making them more affordable to companies.

Promoting discussions on disability to generate a holistic and inclusive human rights dialogue

Currently many groups working in the disability rights movement, and even the broader human rights movement, compete amongst each other in political debates and institutions in order to gain recognition, funding and policy changes.  Instead of recognizing their common goals and challenges, human rights groups often isolate themselves along victim hierarchies where, for example, someone living in poverty may be better off than someone who is physically disabled, experiences politically-motivated torture or lacks access to clean water.

Phasing out child labor in the garment industry and providing education for ex-workers

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers’ and Exporters’ Association (BGMEA), in collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and UNICEF, developed the Child Labor Project to eliminate child labor in the 2,500 member factories, and to provide an alternative to former child laborers in the form of an education program. In 1995, the BGMEA, ILO, and UNICEF entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to serve as a basis for the implementation of the Child Labor Project, which was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Operating a temporary restaurant to raise funds and awareness

In the spring of 2009, five students from Utrecht, the Netherlands, operated a temporary, volunteer run restaurant, The Cultural Cookery, to engage new people and raise money for three selected development projects. Using their own time and effort to create PR, attain donations for foods, other sponsorships, and gain access to free space, these students raised EUR 8,000 in just two weeks time.

Offering community education and developing alternative rites of passage to discourage Female Genital Cutting

The NGO PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) and Maendeleo Ya Wanawake, Kenya's largest women's organization, have collaborated to offer alternatives to Female Genital Mutilation. They combine community education for young girls and parents with alternative rites of passage that preserve many traditional aspects of the coming-of-age ritual, while prohibiting physical harm to girls.

Monitoring police conduct through personal observation

In response to the rising incidence of police abuse in Berkeley, COPWATCH was started in 1990 to observe and document police activities and interactions with the community.  The program also serves as a reminder to the police that the community will hold them accountable for their actions and provides a way for people to participate in their community.  COPWATCH organizes citizen patrols that cover the streets of Berkeley.  The patrols are comprised of pairs of volunteers who walk the streets for a shift (usually of a few hours), keeping an eye out for police activities.

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