Tactics

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.

Using online rural news to connect village society

Amader Gramer Khobor is a first-of-its-kind online rural news service that covers daily happenings in village society, as no online news service in Bangladesh practices rural journalism with the provisions of time-to-time updating in the same day. Amader Gramer Khobor, part of Amader Gram which means “Our Village Development Project,” is unique and effective because through this tactic, village societies that are isolated can for the first time be connected.

Using Living Newspapers to bring world events into the classroom

The Living Newspaper Project is an innovative program to reinvigorate civic education through the dramatization of contemporary human rights issues. The current project builds on the United States Federal Theater project, created under the 1930s New Deal to put unemployed researchers, journalists and performers to work creating theater pieces about events of the day.

Using international lobbying leverage to advance national adoption of international policy mechanisms

In September 2008, the Association Libanaise pour l’Education et la Formation (ALEF) launched an international lobbying campaign at the European Union (EU) and United Nations (UN) in order to push the Lebanese state to ratify the Optional Protocol of the Convention against Torture (OpCAT).

Using interactive theatre and participatory video techniques to prompt community participation and social mobilization

The Interactive Resource Center (IRC) has created a strong network of grassroots theater groups as an alternate system of community participation and social dialogue. The essence of IRCs work is to use interactive theater to trigger community dialogue through direct community participation on human rights issues.

Using illustrated children’s literature to educate children and adults of their rights and to foster a culture of human rights

The Arab Penal Reform Organization (APRO) publishes a series of illustrated children’s books called Activist Ali’s Team to educate children and adults of their civil and legal rights as well as to foster a culture of human rights in Egypt. The book series follows a curious ten-year-old named Ali and his male and female companions. Each book – in the series of 36 – focuses on a specific civil or human rights topic.

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