Building Capacity

Using a victim accompaniment process to provide emotional support for testimony

When addressing human rights violations in a public reconciliation process, it’s important to make the process comfortable for victims who testify. One tactic is “accompaniment” of victims by volunteers trained in psychosocial support and the practical realities of the process. The goal is to give victims an empowering experience that helps their healing and does not contribute to re-traumatization.

To address gross human rights violations committed during apartheid, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was initiated by legislation in 1995. Their mandate was to document violations committed by state bodies or armed opposition, to promote national unity and reconcili­ation, and to offer policy reforms to prevent future abuses. In addition to amnesty and human rights hearings, special hearings were held, focused on abuses suffered by women and children. These hearings were held around the country and were covered exten­sively by all media.

Improving the Living Status of Society through Non-Formal Education and Recycling

The daily amount of waste in Cairo is estimated to be 14,000 tons. Cairo relies on non-official street cleaners to rid of the waste. There are six major neighborhoods in Cairo where its residents work in gathering waste and they recycle 80% of the waste. Those neighborhoods are considered slum areas. The biggest slum area is in Al-Mokattom. The slum’s residents are about 60,000 people and the area is known as Waste Cleaners City.

Using online petitions to gain international leverage against an oppressive government

 
The Coalition Youth of 14 Feb Revolution used an online petition campaign to protest Bahrain as the host for the Formula One Race. The activists were able to mobilize almost 500,000 people worldwide to sign the petition, eventually leading to the cancellation of the race in Bahrain in 2011. The impetus for the campaign was the Bahraini government’s savage suppression of peaceful protestors earlier that year.
 

Engaging pro-bono lawyers and peer legal counselors for expanding access to justice

Kituo Cha Sheria (Legal Advice Centre) helps to empower prisoners to advocate for themselves by providing legal education in Kenyan prisons.

Issues of poverty, marginalization, and vulnerability affect people’s access to justice. Kituo Cha Sheria, founded in 1973 by a small group of legal professionals, works to combat this lack of access by providing free education to the most marginalized communities, particularly prison inmates. In Kenya, the ratio of legal practitioners to the population is 1 to 5,000, so these services are desperately needed.

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 government resources to institute women's human rights education

The Women for Women’s Rights Project (WWHR) –New Ways in Turkey gained access to institutional and financial support from the government to implement more extensive human rights education for women within community service centers. The program has been implemented in 30 Turkish provinces, in over 45 community centers, and has reached more than 4,000 women.

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

Training victims of human rights abuses to monitor and defend their rights

The Network of Community Human Rights Defenders (Red de Defensores Comunitarios por los Derechos Humanos) trains young indigenous community members in Mexico to monitor and defend their human rights. Defenders are trained through monthly seminars about the theories and concepts of human rights work as well as the practical skills needed to ensure human rights violations are documented, reported and prevented. They are then able to respond to human rights violations in their communities, which are often far from big cities and large non-governmental organizations that support human rights.

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

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