The Association of Medicine Students and Interns (Associa-Med) focuses on human rights, health and humanitarian issues, outreach activities and equipping medical students with the tools necessary to their future careers and as leaders in society. Members of the Standing Committee on Human Rights and Peace (SCORP) within Associa-Med attended New Tactics in Human Rights’ Strategic Effectiveness Method training and subsequently developed an advocacy campaign focused on protecting endangered children by reinforcing the need for doctors to report abuse cases.
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The convergence of faith and human rights has faced vehement debate. In recent decades, where extremists groups are carrying out atrocious acts “in the name of God”, xenophobia and Islamophobia have become increasingly commonplace in western nations. This begs the question of whether religion has a place in human rights movements, or if there is a place for human right in religion. Nowadays, faith leaders play active roles in mediating conflict and organizing humanitarian assistance. Various faith organizations are realizing the importance of forming partnerships with different faiths, and finding the commonalities that can connect rather than divide us. At the very heart of almost all religions are teachings of love and compassion. In this conversation, we seek to discuss the role of faith in promoting human rights across the globe and strategies for strengthening partnerships between secular and religious human rights defenders.
A leading group of private industry developers cultivated a plan to create and disseminate targeted anti-extremist online content to disrupt online terrorist recruitment efforts. Since the pilot program’s initial success in targeting ISIS recruits, this method has been further utilized to counter other extremist groups such as the violent far right.
In many conflicts, the line between sufferer and perpetrator is often blurred. In the aftermath of violence, the time comes for survivors, soldiers and innocents alike, to return home and heal collectively. This process gives rise to many problems—ex-combatants face stigmas and mental health problems, a lack of employable skills or education, and an absence of community ties. Meanwhile, non-combatants deal with their own traumas, the realities of living in a war torn society, and anger towards military groups. The reintroduction of former soldiers into society at large is crucial to building lasting peace and stability because without it many ex-combatants, devoid of ties to community or resources for self-sufficiency, would return to their guerrilla groups or armies. However, Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) programs must overcome many barriers to succeed. In this conversation, experts discuss the challenges and tactics of achieving effective reintegration of ex-combatants into society.
The United States’ use of torture and cruelty in post-9/11 counterterrorism operations spurred U.S. human rights and civil liberties organizations to form powerful coalitions that fought for a reversal of this misguided policy. The New Tactics in Human Rights Strategic Effectiveness method was one tool used to by these groups to collectively move their work forward.
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.
Reconciliation and peacebuilding rest upon knowing as complete a picture as possible of the nature, causes, and extent of gross violations of human rights that have been committed. Investing in the education of youth is important because it expands their worldview and challenge stereotypes. By successfully doing so, youth can actively participate in shaping lasting peace and contribute to justice and reconciliation in their respective societies. For example, Canada has integrated meaningful reconciliation into classrooms and workshops to help learn about its history of colonization and think creatively about the future. South Africa has also recognized the importance of educational reform in order to address the problem of reconciliation and conflict transformation in youth. The importance of empowering youth to engage and take an active role in non-violence, dialogue, and reconciliation was at the center of this conversation of the potential roles that youth can take in truth and reconciliation at both the local and global level.
Businesses and human rights are to a large extent interdependent: businesses are able to play a positive or negative role in building human rights movements, and the position that a business takes can influence its brand in the same way. In January 2017, Uber experienced a backlash on social media that called for users to delete the app in response to the company’s decision to turn off surge pricing and continue service to the airport during the New York City taxi drivers’ strike against President Trump’s executive order on immigration. Thousands of Twitter users adopted the #DeleteUber hashtag to decry Uber’s actions, and many consumers turned to Lyft for future service, which fiercely opposed the executive order and announced a one-million dollar donation to the American Civil Liberties Union. As demonstrated in this case, businesses can impact the human rights of their employees, customers, and communities. It is important to explore the innovative ways in which businesses can participate in human rights movement building. Conversation participants discussed the tactics and strategies used to integrate businesses, both locally and internationally, in human rights movements.