Building Capacity

Using international mechanisms to apply pressure on a national government to institute policy and legal changes

The Committee for Administration of Justice (CAJ) used the United Nations Committee Against Torture to raise local human rights issues to the international level. In order to use international mechanisms such as this effectively, a number of other tactics were used including written submissions to the Committee, lobbying in Geneva and monitoring the impact the recommendations of the various Committee reports have had on Northern Ireland in terms of actually improving the human rights situation on the ground.

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

Engaging key and respected agents of change in the development and training of a human rights curriculum

In order to create support for such a human rights curriculum that also encompassed religious educational institutions, the National Working Group in Indonesia engaged key and respected leaders–community and religious leaders as well as teachers–in the development and training of the human rights curriculum. By taking the time and effort to engage opinion and religious leaders in the process, the NWG was able to develop their critical support and integrate their needs and concerns in order to overcome barriers and challenges to human rights education.

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.

Developing pro bono services in the professional legal community

A small group of people from the legal community organized a seminar in 2001 to discuss how to promote pro bono legal services in Brazil. Taking inspiration from Daniel Grunfeld, then president and CEO of the Public Counsel Law Center in Los Angeles, this group undertook a variety of steps in order to create an organization that would work to legalize pro bono activity, to institutionalize the ethic within the legal profession, and to create an efficient system for bringing together pro bono lawyers with clients in need. In order to accomplish any of their goals, this small group knew they needed to gain the support of leading members of the Brazilian legal profession. Thus they invited top lawyers and professors to join in their effort. Eventually, 37 legal professionals joined together in 2001 to create the Instituto Pro Bono of Sao Paulo.

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

Collaborating with government to incorporate human rights education into public schools

The Albanian Center for Human Rights (ACHR) collaborated with the Albanian Ministry of Education to bring human rights education into all public schools in the country. The group took advantage of the post-communist transition period, negotiating with officials in the new democratic government to launch a long-term and ambi­tious process in which they would prepare young Albanian citizens to participate fully in a democracy.

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

Data gathering to address child labor, sexual abuse and trafficking in the entertainment industry

Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) conducted an undercover survey of all circuses in India to discover the magnitude of child labor and trafficking in the circus industry. There is a serious problem of trafficking of young girls between Nepal and India (both countries are on the Tier 2 Watch list in U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report). The girls are trafficked for the purposes of slavery, including sexual slavery and prostitution.

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.

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).

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