In the best of times, human rights advocacy requires constant tactical innovation. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in late 2019 generated huge additional challenges. In early 2020, the African Network against Extrajudicial Killings and Enforced Disappearances (ANEKED) in The Gambia was working on creating an in-person traveling memorialization exhibition of their “The Duty to Remember” project. They planned the launch as part of Human Rights Week 2020 organized by the University of Geneva in Switzerland.
As more people throughout the world are forced to leave their homes due to conflict, climate change, or in search of a better life, host nations are trying to keep up with the influx of new students in their education systems. With scarce resources and limited funds, governments and organizations are forced to come up with new ways of including refugee students in local schools. With increasing xenophobia and gaps in integration policies, integrating these new students is not without its barriers. Language restrictions, finances, and lack of job opportunities are just a few of the obstacle keeping kids out of school. Furthermore, displacement and resettlement can leave children out of school for years at a time, making it difficult for them to rejoin formal education. Conversation participants discuss the issues with refugee inclusion in national education systems and draw on real-world programs as potential solutions to some of the challenges that refugees face in obtaining an education.
LGBTQI rights are fought for with a spectrum of tactics. In some states, gay citizens and allies march in pride parades and mark themselves with rainbows; in others, activists work in secrecy to protect their safety. Homophobia takes many forms and stems from a multitude of sources, each one different from the next. LGBTQI rights are human rights and must be upheld accordingly, but this lack of uniformity leads to distinct challenges in advocating for these rights on a global scale. Today, activists around the world confront a multitude of bigotry as they fight for the universal protection of queer individuals. In this conversation, participants discussed challenges and strategies for promoting LGBTQI rights through local and international actions across a range of situations.
There are estimated to be 470 million indigenous people in the world, from 5,000 different ethnic groups, living in 90 countries. James Anaya, former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, has defined indigenous people as "living descendants of pre-invasion inhabitants of lands now dominated by others. They are culturally distinct groups that find themselves engulfed by other settler societies born of forces of empire and conquest." Despite the United Nations having issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including land rights, the land rights of indigenous people have increasingly come under threat.
Although the terminology may be new to some, intersectionality is not a new concept. As long as people have faced multiple threats to their dignity and humanity, they have experienced intersectionality. But it is U.S.-based Black women, other women of color, and women of the global south who have developed our present understanding of how our social identities—race, gender, class, sexuality, etc. function; how the systems that maintain these identities—racism, sexism, capitalism, heterosexism—work together to compound our oppression; and, therefore, how we must work collectively to eradicate these systems. Thus, intersectionality not only boldly claims the value of the lives of marginalized and oppressed peoples by centering our experiences and strategies, but asserts the need to work collaboratively towards our collective liberation.
At the local and community level all the way to the highest levels of government, women are often underrepresented in leadership positions, left without a voice in decision-making and ignored as an electorate. Women hold only 22 percent of national parliamentary positions globally. This means that women are underrepresented in all facets of the political process often due to social-cultural barriers, the absence of training and resources for women’s political organizing, standards of living and precarious economic challenges.
Daily headlines around the globe portray the numerous conflicts that arise as a result of heated points of contention. Seemingly disparate ideologies, unequal distribution of resources, political, ethnic, cultural and religious differences can all be contributing factors in the emergence of conflict between groups. In the aftermath of conflict, what role can reconciliation play as a path forward; toward healing, peaceful relations, improved communication and functioning societies?
Where does the process of reconciliation begin, with whom and when? These questions and more were discussed in New Tactics in Human Rights Conversation - Reconciliation Post-Conflict: Approaches, Practices and Realities. This online conversation sought to identify the role of reconciliation in post-conflict environments. Practitioners shared experiences, lessons learned, approaches, and challenges with the reconciliation process from the perspective of reconciliation efforts around the world.
Combating child labour requires programme interventions that are comprehensive with a holistic approach that not only targets children, but also their families and communities, the recruiters, traffickers and exploiters, government officials, and society at large. There are millions of out-of-school children who have the potential to join the soaring numbers of child labourers. Efforts need to be made to prevent the entry of the non-child labourer into the labour market which fuels illiteracy, unemployment and poverty.
Thank you for joining the New Tactics community for an online conversation on Creating Safe Spaces: Tactics for Communities at Risk from March 11 to 15, 2013.
Sometimes, in order to make the change we seek to be realized, we need to model it so that the community can experience it for themselves. Creating a safe space in which everyone’s rights are recognized and respected gives communities at risk the opportunity live without fear of persecution or abuse. Creating this space also allows the vulnerable group to understand and experience the realization of their human rights, and giving them and the broader community a vision to work towards.
This online conversation is an opportunity for practitioners to share their examples, experiences, challenges and ideas around creating safe spaces for groups at risk and build communities that put human rights into practice.
Building Child Friendly Villages: Using village strengths to combat child labour and exploitative practices
Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Foundation) in India developed the concept and application of child friendly villages as a way to not only promote education for all but also combat the cycle of child labor. Child labor is both a cause as well as a consequence of poverty, illiteracy and lack of human security. The aim of child friendly villages is to create and sustain a child friendly atmosphere within the community to ensure education and put an end to child labor.