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.

Browse all of our tactics or use the filters below to filter by type of tactical aim, tactical action, human rights issue, and geographic region or keywords. You can select multiple items in each filter by holding the Ctrl/Command or Shift keys while selecting the items of your choice; selecting an item under one filter will cause the other filters to adjust to only show items that match your existing selections. Use the Reset button to clear your choices.

Identifying allies to hold constructive dialogue and main­tain cooperative relationships

The Ligue des Droits de la Personne dans la Region des Grands Lacs (Human Rights League of the Great Lakes Region, or LDGL) works as an umbrella group to maintain the alliance among 27 member organizations in Burun­di, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda — a region rife with conflict. The Great Lakes region has long suffered from violence caused by ideological and ethnic mistrust or hatred. Some organizations in the region, including even some human rights groups, reflect these divisions, taking actions on behalf of narrow, ethnically-based constituencies.

Holding an international tribunal to raise awareness of and seek reparations for sexual war crimes

The Violence Against Women in War Network, Japan (VAWW-NET) created a tribunal to acknowledge and seek justice for victims of sexual war crimes. In the first half of the twentieth century, the Japanese government created a system of sexual slavery through a network of “comfort stations,” brothel facilities controlled by the military. An estimated 400,000 women and girls were forced into the system. For close to 50 years, the atrocity remained behind a veil of silence.

Establishing a formal truth commission to investigate and acknowledge gross human rights violations

The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was initiated by national legislation in 1995, after a period of public debate. Its mandate was to collect information about gross human rights violations committed by state bodies or the armed opposition during apartheid and its goal was to promote national unity and reconcili­ation. The Commission was expected to offer suggestions for policy reforms to prevent future abuses. In addition to amnesty and human rights hearings, special hearings focused on abuses suffered by women and children and others were held on the role of faith communities, the medical establishment, the legal sector, the business com­munity and other institutions that had passively or actively contributed to rights violations.

For more information on the "victim accompaniment" tactic within the context of the South African TRC, read our in-depth case study.

Encouraging local governments, organizations and individuals to oppose, through the use of education and resources, federal legislation that endangers human rights

In the United States, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) creates tools and resources to help local advocates of the Bill of Rights educate members of local governments and communities about how federal anti­terrorism legislation and policies violate their rights. Many of the local groups work with their city, town or county governments to formally register opposition to violations of civil liberties, passing resolutions or ordinances up­holding the Bill of Rights.

Empowering NGOs to use video in human rights advocacy

WITNESS empowers human rights organizations around the world to incorporate video as an advocacy tool in their work. Rooted in the power of personal testimonies and in the principle that a picture is worth a thousand words, the videos of WITNESS and its partners have been used as evidence in legal proceedings; to corroborate allegations of human rights violations; to complement written reports to international and regional organizations that provide a counterweight to official versions of a country’s human rights performance; to stimulate grassroots education and mobilization; to provide information for news broadcasts; to promote human rights via the internet; and to produce documentaries for broadcast on television worldwide.

Documenting oral testimony to create a written history to help people in isolated communities understand the full extent of the war crimes suffered in their country

As part of the ongoing REMHI (Recovery of Historical Memory) Project, several dioceses of the Catholic Church in Guatemala mobilized their members to collect testimonies from victims of state violence. These testimonies were compiled in a report used to return that history to the affected communities and individuals.

Defying laws in order to pressure for their change

In June 2000, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) began importing generic HIV/AIDS drugs in defiance of pat­ent laws, trying to pressure drug companies to reduce drug costs and to compel the South African government to allow importing generic versions of patented drugs. The goal of the tactic was to increase access to afford­able HIV/AIDS prescription drugs for all South Africans. Over four million people are infected with HIV in South Africa and high prices for patented drugs have made treatment inaccessible to most people.

Creating a venue on the Internet for former child soldiers to share their stories and develop new skills

Launched in 2000, the Child Soldier Project of the International Education and Resource Network in Sierra Leone (iEarn Sierra Leone) has created a web site on which former child soldiers can share their stories. The web site, www.childsoldiers.org, features the essays, poems, artwork and voices of former child soldiers and offers an on­line forum for discussion.

Pages