Building Capacity

Creating an assessment tool to evaluate the human rights impact of businesses

The Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) has developed the Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA), a tool that comprises a concrete and tangible list of factors which businesses should consider when assessing the impact of their operations on the people affected by it, whether as employees or as inhabitants of the local area. The aim of the HRCA is to provide companies with a tool to audit their practices, to identify areas where violations are likely so that these areas can be monitored, and to facilitate action to mitigate existing breaches and prevent future ones.

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

Creating a database tool that protects human rights information from confiscation

Human rights groups can now use internet technology in order to help collect, organise, safeguard and disseminate information about human rights violations. The Martus Human Rights Bulletin System is a database tool that addresses the specific technological needs of the human rights community by dramatically improving their ability to manage information, document abuses and prevent the information from being confiscated or destroyed.

Creating a convenient delivery system for legal aid

Florida Rural Legal Services collaborates with local library systems in four rural counties to create a convenient delivery system for legal aid and community information to low-income people. A combination of video cameras, scanners, printers and Internet connections enable an individual to consult with a legal advocate as easily as if the visit were in the lawyer’s office. The equipment can be controlled remotely by the attorney or paralegal, so the individual does not need to understand the technology. Documents can be exchanged, so both parties are viewing the same information.

Creating a child board and village child protection networks to combat child abuse and trafficking

At the beginning of 2005, Enfants & Developpement (E&D) in Cambodia set up a Participatory Child Protection Project with communal councils covering 126 villages. The project piloted a new initiative to intervene in child abuse and combat child trafficking issues through the establishment of Child Boards at the district level. At the time of this writing, it was too early to assess the impacts of the project, however, a high degree of success towards the goal of protecting children from being abused was anticipated due to variety of reasons. These include:

Using a nomination campaign to identify new potential allies for human rights

Domestic violence is an issue that affects the lives of men, women and children, yet it is often seen solely as a women’s issue. A group in South Africa uses a unique tactic to get men involved in curbing domestic violence.

The Everyday Hero Campaign of the 5-in-6 Project in South Africa asks women to identify men with a positive at­titude toward women and then invites these men to become new advocates for women’s rights.

Training victims of human rights abuses to use video technology to expose those abuses

Based in Hungary and Romania, the Black Box Foundation works to improve attitudes towards the Roma minority by training them in the production of television programs for local channels. The Foundation creates production teams, trains them in video production, secures airtime and sees that programs are exchanged between teams.

Training organizations to place their social justice work into the context of human rights, thereby providing advocates with a new set of tools and access to new alliances

The National Center for Human Rights Education (NCHRE) trains organizations in the United States to frame social justice issues as human rights issues. While many organizations in the United States work on social issues, few think of their work in terms of human rights.

Training local leaders as mediators and resources on human rights

In Uganda, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI) trains local leaders to help community members with legal complaints in a way that avoids the problems and frustrations of using the formal judicial system. FHRI teaches these leaders how to educate their communities about their constitutional and human rights. It also gives them paralegal skills, enabling them to provide mediation, counseling and advice so that citizens can obtain re­dress for abuses and exercise their full human rights.

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