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.

Using testing to prove discrimination and obtain direct evidence

NEKI uses testing to prove discrimination and obtain this direct evidence. The group identifies and trains people who are sent out as testers to replicate the actions of those who claim to have experienced discrimination. Each tester must be a reliable and objective observer and his or her profile must match that of the person who expe­rienced discrimination as much as possible. NEKI then uses the evidence collected to initiate legal proceedings against the offending business or organization.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Pairing police with refugees and migrants to develop understanding and reduce discrimination

In 1999, the International Centre for Cultures and Languages (Internationales Zentrum für Kulturen und Sprachen) in Austria developed a program that pairs police officers with an immigrant or refugee to foster positive relations between the police force and the foreign-born population. While educating the officers about citizens who they may have held negative stereotypes about, this program also gives the refugees and immigrants an opportunity to communicate with the officers about racial profiling and other racial issues.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Training victims of human rights abuses to monitor and defend their rights

The Network of Community Human Rights Defenders (Red de Defensores Comunitarios por los Derechos Humanos) trains young indigenous community members in Mexico to monitor and defend their human rights. Defenders are trained through monthly seminars about the theories and concepts of human rights work as well as the practical skills needed to ensure human rights violations are documented, reported and prevented. They are then able to respond to human rights violations in their communities, which are often far from big cities and large non-governmental organizations that support human rights.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Using petitions to gain public support for a government peace process

Beginning in 2001 Elkarri held a massive signature drive in which they asked people to sign a document demanding the initiation of a dialogue of peace between all parties in the Basque region. Since its inception, Elkarri had been building a database of people who wanted to be involved with their activities, so in addition to collecting signatures at their events, they also contacted these people for their support. Elkarri also asked each person for a donation of about US$7 and to volunteer their time. To date 123,000 citizens have signed the petition, 10,000 people have become Elkarri volunteers, and over US$200,000 has been donated. In addition, representatives of all political parties, except the Partido Popular of Spain, have signed the document.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Protecting and encouraging endangered human rights activists through the presence of international volunteers

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.

Using text-messaging to build constituencies for human rights action

Amnesty International--The Netherlands uses text messaging technology to attract new members, especially young people, to the organization, to build awareness of its Campaign Against Torture and to encourage people to respond quickly to Urgent Action appeals. More than 500 new members have joined as a direct result of the text messaging recruitment and over 5,000 more have responded to Urgent Action appeals sent through text messaging.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Creating people’s platforms (public hearings) where citizens can publicly challenge officials on the difference between promises and reality

MKSS activists and area residents investigate allegations of corruption in villages or districts, often at the initiative of local residents who feel they have been cheated or abused. At the village council or at higher levels of government they request copies of relevant official records. Once obtained, the accounts are cross-checked through site visits and interviews with villagers. MKSS then holds a public hearing at which the village officials, those accused of corruption, and community members can discuss the issue.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Using participatory research to advance children’s social and economic rights

Wona Sanana was established in 1999 to protect children’s rights by compiling information on the condition of the children of Mozambique after the 16-year civil war. The project combined data-collection on the welfare of children with community education to empower local people to take action and to promote improved policies addressing children’s rights. Through participatory research, communities learned about the problems facing their children and were encouraged to develop unique responses appropriate to the needs or their community.

For more information on "participatory research" tactics, read our in-depth case study.

Using civil lawsuits to seek redress for victims of torture

The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) helps victims of torture by using United States Federal Laws to bring charges against their torturers, regardless of the country in which the torture took place. This tactic shows that redress can be sought against perpetrators of torture. In creating and applying these kinds of laws, governments show a commitment to justice for victims and to exposing those who are guilty of crimes against humanity.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Building corporate capacity to create constructive relationships based on a respect for indigenous people's rights

Corporate accountability for abuse of indigenous peoples and their resources has emerged a significant target area of human rights activism. At the same time, opportunities and pressures for development will inevitably continue to produce contentious relationships between extractive industries and indigenous communities. Recognizing the need for establishing constructive dialogue, First People’s Worldwide (FPW) focuses on building and supporting positive, human rights-focused relationships between indigenous interests and the business sector.

For more information on this tactic, read our in-depth case study.

Pages