Strengthening Individuals & Communities

Culturally sensitive materials facilitate discussion on women's rights by Muslim women

Sisterhood is Global Institute (SIGI) uses an informal educational model that allows Muslim women to easily identify universal human rights concepts in terms of local cultural traditions, myths, texts and local languages. This model facilitates the transmission of the human rights concepts inscribed in major international documents to grassroots populations in Muslim societies.

Creating local level shadow committees to promote women’s rights

The Civic Democratic Initiatives Support Foundation (CDF) in Yemen created local level “shadow committees,” parallel structures to official policy-making bodies, to promote issues related to women’s rights and women’s participation in development. The capacity building process not only enhanced the ability of local women to advance their issues in their local public political sphere but also resulted in local level NGOs promoting women’s rights.

CDF carried out a number of steps to develop the local level shadow committees:

Creating an ombudsman institution to provide recourse to victims of discrimination

In Sweden, the Discrimination Ombudsman (DO) is a political institutional body that was created to allow citizens to assert their right to be protected against discrimination and to provide both advice and litigation power. The DO is one of four Ombudsman offices that are used to strengthen political and social protections for those victimized by discrimination.

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 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 the emotional power of a historic site and personal stories to raise awareness of current human rights questions

Recreating an 1897 apartment and dressmaking shop, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum brings together representatives from conflicting sectors of the garment industry to discuss what needs to be done — and by whom — to address the problem of sweatshops today.

Using national laws to bring to justice those who perpetrate crimes against humanity in other countries

The International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF) uses the Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) to bring legal cases against multinational corporations complicit in human rights abuses. Dating to 1789 and created to address and prevent piracy, the ATCA is a United States federal statute allowing foreign nationals to bring civil actions against U.S. citizens and corporations for violations of international law.

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