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.

Collaborating with government to incorporate human rights education into public schools

The Albanian Center for Human Rights (ACHR) collaborated with the Albanian Ministry of Education to bring human rights education into all public schools in the country. The group took advantage of the post-communist transition period, negotiating with officials in the new democratic government to launch a long-term and ambi­tious process in which they would prepare young Albanian citizens to participate fully in a democracy.

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

Using a citizen search and seizure operation to pressure the gov­ernment to release public documents

Operation SalAMI used what it called a “Citizen Search and Seizure Operation” to pressure the Canadian gov­ernment to release a secret draft treaty that members believed could undermine human rights. The group was able to generate public condemnation of the secrecy used to shield the government and the treaty from public scrutiny.

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

Combining traditional and Western healing techniques to reintegrate child soldiers into their former communities

Reconstruindo a Esperança (Rebuilding Hope), in Mozambique, combined traditional healing and Western psychology to reintegrate former child soldiers. Thousands of children were used as soldiers by both sides in Mozambique’s devastating civil war. Lucrecia Wamba, a psychologist with Rebuilding Hope, states that “child sol­diers lived through unimaginable horrors and they processed these experiences through the lens of the culture and belief systems of their communities. Their healing necessarily had to be processed through the same lens, in order to achieve both individual rehabilitation and community reintegration.” The organization recognized that neither traditional healing methods nor individualized Western psychology alone would be sufficient to address the needs of the children or the community.

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

Data gathering to address child labor, sexual abuse and trafficking in the entertainment industry

Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) conducted an undercover survey of all circuses in India to discover the magnitude of child labor and trafficking in the circus industry. There is a serious problem of trafficking of young girls between Nepal and India (both countries are on the Tier 2 Watch list in U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report). The girls are trafficked for the purposes of slavery, including sexual slavery and prostitution.

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

Using popular culture to engage young people in human rights reporting

Nigdy Wiecej (Never Again) is using pop culture to build an anti-racist youth network in Poland. At rock concerts and soccer matches the group reaches out to large numbers of young people and makes them aware of the prob­lem. It then recruits some to join a network of correspondents who monitor and report on the activities of neo-fas­cist and racist groups in their hometowns.

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

Action Theatre to mobilize communities for change

Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK) in Bangladesh works to address numerous human rights problems, including gender equality and access to justice. Their approach is to form small local Action Theatre groups, or Manobadhikar Natya Parishad (MNP), by building collaborative relationships with local non-governmental or civil society organizations, as well as with local individuals.

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

Protecting arrested demonstrators by protesting outside the police stations where they are being detained

The Serbian police made an habitual response to all actions of arresting activists. The arrests threatened to demoralize young activists and intimidate them into giving up. Otpor! (“Resistance!” in Serbo-Croatian) prepared secondary demonstrations — their “Plan B” — outside police stations to respond immediately to arrests during protest events. The police were less likely to beat or detain the activists, knowing that large crowds and a number of journalists were waiting outside for them, while the activists felt less afraid, thanks to the support they knew they were receiving.

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

Using theater to break the silence around sensitive hu­man rights issues and provide legal rights education

The African Resource for Integrated Development (Réseau Africain pour le Dévelopement Integré, or RADI) educates women about domestic violence through theatrical sketches and informal, paralegal-led discussions about the protective legal resources available to them. Through the use of theater, RADI aims to break the silence around domestic violence in Senegal.

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

Creating alternative mechanisms of dispute resolution to prevent the involvement of the police, who are potential abusers.

As an alternative to the criminal justice system, the Centre for Victims of Torture (CVICT) in Nepal has created a process of community mediation. This process keeps some people from being needlessly arrested and brought to police stations, where 60 percent of prisoners are tortured into giving confessions. CVICT conducted research on what types of disputes were occurring, then developed a training course for com­munity leaders, including women and Dalits (of the untouchable caste), on settling disputes with a rights-based community mediation method. Community mediation would be available for disputes other than violent crimes and to everyone, regardless of age, sex, class or social caste. To recruit trainers, CVICT held mass meetings in each community and asked for nominations. The trainers were then trained in human rights, local laws and methods of handling disputes. Many who were already involved in mediating disputes could build on their existing skills. These trainers then trained others at the local level.

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

Creating a single mass expression of protest based on a simple activity that citizens can safely carry out in their own homes

The Campaign of Darkness for Light mobilized 30 million people in Turkey to flick their lights on and off as a public demonstration against government corruption. Corruption had been an open secret and yet the public felt apathetic and powerless to end it. With many citizens afraid to participate in political action, organizations needed a tactic of low personal risk that would help overcome the sense of isolation that comes with fear. The Campaign gave people an easy and no-risk action everyone could take — simply turning off their lights at the same time each evening — to show their displeasure with the lack of concerted action against corruption.

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

Pages