Right to Participate in Government & in Free Elections

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Signing a demands petition and collecting mass signatures to support the cause and mobilize the community

The Rebel Movement started a signature petition in order to call for the removal of Egyptian then-president Mohamed Morsi.

The Rebel Movement wanted power in Egypt to transition from then-president Morsi to the Supreme Constitutional Court chief judge. To do so, they organized a petition with the goal of collecting 15 million signatures by June 30, 2013, the date which marked one year of Morsi’s rule.

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.

Organizing a large-scale petition drive to pressure the government to change

In 2002, Poder Ciudadano (Citizen Power) collected signatures on a petition that, under a constitutional provi­sion, the Argentine congress was then obligated to consider. The constitutional provision requires the congress to deliberate any proposed legislation brought before it by community members or organizations, as long as that legislation bears the signatures of 1.5 percent of Argentine citizens in at least six of 24 districts.

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

Building collaborative relationships with government officials to promote change from within the system

Citizens’ Watch identifies democratic Russian officials who are supportive of human rights and reform and provides them with opportunities to strengthen democratic processes in Russia. The legacy of Soviet rule and totalitarianism left extremely challenging conditions for the development of democracy in Russia. Government officials had no experience in being responsive to the public, an essential practice in a democracy.

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

Using coalition based participation in government to help indigenous communities to influence policy

By building a coalition, the Network of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) has been able to participate in governmental bodies in order to influence policy in a way that benefits indigenous communities.

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

Using fake money to protest prevalence of bribery in public service sectors

The Anti Corruption movement, 5thPillar recently began distributing “Zero Rupee” notes to Indian citizens to give to any civil servant they come across that asks for a bribe. Corruption in the form of bribery is commonplace in India particularly in Chennai where the campaign began, and the Zero Rupee Note serves as a protest of this trend.

Using documentation to draw up a ‘blacklist’ of unacceptable political candidates and moving the public to vote against them

People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD) worked with a coalition of civic organizations to establish criteria by which to identify corrupt politicians and to campaign against those politicians in order to improve citizen involvement and politician responsiveness in South Korea.

Using a popular referendum to oppose impunity

The Comisión Nacional Pro-Referéndum (CNR) organized a referendum in Uruguay for the public to vote on the congressional decision to grant impunity to human rights abusers employed by the military.

Nearly every Uruguayan was affected by human rights abuses during the brutal dictatorship from 1973 to 1984. During that time many political dissidents were watched, tortured, and killed. The military and police detained 55,000 people (1 in 50 of the total population) and 300,000 people went into exile either out of fear or because of the rapidly deteriorating economy.

Using popular culture to sensitize and mobilize youth around human rights issues

Rassemblement Action-Jeunesse (RAJ) used pop culture to involve Algerian youth in human rights issues. Although youth in Algeria represented 75% of the population, a history of government repression had led to a lack of youth participation in political life. RAJ hoped to change this by combining something youth already were involved in, pop culture, with human rights organizing.

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