When the Canadian government refused to make public draft documents in their negotiations over the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas, Operation SalAMI organized hundreds of citizens to show up holding “Search and Rescue Warrants” for the release of these draft documents. The government responded by arresting one hundred citizens for requesting their right to information.
Tactic Case Studies
The International Centre for Cultures and Languages (ICCL) in Vienna adapted the “TANDEM®” program—originally created for language learning— to human rights education with police and migrant populations in a unique and profound way called “Intercultural-TANDEM®” to provide a unique and applicable model to improve intercultural understanding.
Elkarri, a group based in the Basque Region, has used a form of dialogue they call social mediation to encourage the broadest possible participation from all arenas of society to discuss solutions to the conflict. Community members were given a broad choice of ways to get involved: from signing a petition to becoming a member to participating in and organizing discussion groups. But however people chose to participate, they learned that they had a role to play in mediating the conflict that affected their lives and created pressure on the groups in conflict to make steps toward seeking peaceful resolution.
Since the mid-1980s, human rights groups and other activist organizations being targeted with repressive abuses have been calling on international NGOs to provide them with direct accompaniment by international field workers. These field workers — usually volunteers — spend twenty-four hours a day with threatened activists, at the premises of threatened organizations, in threatened communities or witnessing public events organized by threatened groups. The international presence serves as a deterrent against the use of violence. In order to ensure this deterrence, these international accompaniment organizations are part of transnational networks poised and ready to mobilize political pressure against perpetrators should their volunteers witness any attacks or should their clients be further threatened.
Amnesty International-Netherlands recognized the power of text-messaging technology (also known as short-messaging service, or SMS) to attract new members, build awareness of the campaign against torture and engage new people - particularly YOUTH - in quickly responding to cases of torture through Urgent Action appeals. The initial result was 520 new members gained directly from SMS participation with over 5,000 additional people becoming active in the SMS urgent action campaign. This case study puts special emphasis on how Amnesty took advantage of SMS technology to build a new constituency among young people.
The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) represents survivors using the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and the Torture Victim Protection Act, which gives both U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike the right to sue human rights abusers who live in or visit the United States. CJA has effectively used these acts to help end the possibility of abusers using the U.S. as a safe haven, to assist survivors in gaining reparations, and to break the silence that has enabled abusers to live in impunity.
The NGO Business for Social Responsibility and First Peoples Worldwide, an Indigenous advocacy organization, collaborated to help the private sector build more effective, constructive relationships with indigenous people. Their corporate training initiatives, which are focused on extractive companies (mining, oil, gas and logging), are founded on respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights, aspirations and effective participation in the development process.
FoodFirst Information and Action Network (Germany) applied their influence on large mining operations that were causing various human rights abuses, by putting pressure on banks and other financial institutions that invest in those mines. This case study provides a thorough analysis of the kinds of research and pressure tactics that can provide an important new source of leverage for communities that are trying to counter the damage that can be caused by huge corporate projects on or near their land.
The Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) succeeded in raising the issue of human rights abuses in Northern Ireland at the international level and, by doing so, brought about significant improvements in human rights conditions. This was accomplished through CAJ’s utilization of the Committee Against Torture—one of the mechanisms available through the United Nations for monitoring governments that have signed international conventions.
The Human Rights Compliance Assessment by the Danish Institute for Human Rights has created a framework through which businesses can assess their human rights obligations and measure the liabilities and human rights risks in countries where they operate or plan to locate. The tool helps companies understand human rights law, but can also help human rights groups understand companies and learn to communicate with the corporate world about human rights questions in a more constructive way.
Year of Publication: 2004
Author(s): Reed Addis