Disruption

Publicly exposing abusers through targeted demonstrations

Hijos por la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido y el Silencio (Children for Identity and Justice Against Forget­fulness and Silence, or H.I.J.O.S) organizes targeted demonstrations in front of the homes of people who have been identified as perpetrators of human rights abuses. These demonstrations, called escraches (“unmaskings”), publicly expose the abusers and allow communities to express their moral condemnation.

Maintaining a physical presence at the site of potential abuse to monitor and prevent human rights violations

Machsom Watch monitors several Israeli checkpoints every morning and afternoon during the periods of highest traffic to protest the checkpoints, and to protect the rights of individual Palestinians who must pass through them. All of the volunteers for Machsom Watch (machsom means checkpoint in Hebrew) are Israeli women. The organization began in January 2001 with three women and has since grown to 300 volunteers.

Defying laws in order to pressure for their change

In June 2000, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) began importing generic HIV/AIDS drugs in defiance of pat­ent laws, trying to pressure drug companies to reduce drug costs and to compel the South African government to allow importing generic versions of patented drugs. The goal of the tactic was to increase access to afford­able HIV/AIDS prescription drugs for all South Africans. Over four million people are infected with HIV in South Africa and high prices for patented drugs have made treatment inaccessible to most people.

Citizen monitoring of courts as a means of creating system change

WATCH has developed a highly effective court monitoring method involving citizen volunteers as a means of creating legal and policy system change and improving the administration of justice for victims of abuse. WATCH volunteers first entered a courtroom in Hennepin County, Minnesota (USA) in March 1993. Since that time WATCH trains 50 volunteers each year who, along with staff, monitor more than 4,500 court hearings regarding sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence cases. They are immediately recognized by the red clipboards they carry.

Asserting cultural identity en masse to express opposition to an oppressive regime

In June of 1988, hundreds of thousands of Estonians (by some estimates, as many as 300,000, or one-third of the Estonian population) gathered for five consecutive nights in the capital city of Tallinn to sing forbidden or politi­cally risky folk songs. Similar festivals were held that summer in Latvia and Lithuania. This “Singing Revolution,” as it became known, was an important step toward the independence of all three Baltic states from the Soviet Union in August 1991.

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