Persuasion

Using the power of the media to send targeted messages to people in a position to end abuses

African Public Radio (APR) used its power as a media entity to influence individuals and groups who could help fix the situation in Burundi’s hospitals, where poor people were being held against their will because they could not pay their bills. Eventually, in partnership with local NGOs, APR successfully pressured the government to order the people’s release.

Using mobile phones to create a network of communication that can stop violence before it escalates

Interaction Belfast (formerly known as Springfield Inter-Community Development Project) created a mobile phone network to prevent outbreaks of violence between volatile neighborhoods in Belfast. Volunteers in both Catholic and Protestant communities are given mobile phones to communicate with their counterparts across the interface when potentially violent crowds gather or when rumors of violence start to spread.

Settling landless people on unfarmed land to pressure the government to carry out land reforms

Since its creation in 1984, the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement (Movimento Dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra, or MST) has addressed the issue of land reform by organizing large groups of landless farmers to settle and farm unused land belonging to wealthy landowners. After occupying an area MST attempts to gain the land legally through petitioning and legislation, using an article in the Brazilian constitution stating that unproductive land is available for agrarian reform.

Raising public awareness of impunity through a referendum or petition drive

Using a constitutional provision that had never been invoked, Comisión Nacional Pro-Referéndum (CNR) orga­nized a referendum in Uruguay, so that the public could vote on the congressional decision to grant impunity to human rights abusers employed by the military. In order to petition the government to hold a popular referendum, CNR needed, within one year of the impunity law’s passage, to collect the signatures of 25 percent of citizens who were qualified to vote.

Presenting shareholder resolutions to press companies to adopt more socially responsible business practices, including comprehensive human rights policies and practices

The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), a coalition of 275 faith-based institutional inves­tors in North America, promotes shareholder resolutions to change unjust or harmful corporate policies and practices. As of 2003, the current combined portfolio of ICCR member organizations was estimated at about $110 billion.

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