Strengthening Individuals & Communities

Using government resources to institute women's human rights education

The Women for Women’s Rights Project (WWHR) –New Ways in Turkey gained access to institutional and financial support from the government to implement more extensive human rights education for women within community service centers. The program has been implemented in 30 Turkish provinces, in over 45 community centers, and has reached more than 4,000 women.

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

Using testing to prove discrimination and obtain direct evidence

NEKI uses testing to prove discrimination and obtain this direct evidence. The group identifies and trains people who are sent out as testers to replicate the actions of those who claim to have experienced discrimination. Each tester must be a reliable and objective observer and his or her profile must match that of the person who expe­rienced discrimination as much as possible. NEKI then uses the evidence collected to initiate legal proceedings against the offending business or organization.

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

Training victims of human rights abuses to monitor and defend their rights

The Network of Community Human Rights Defenders (Red de Defensores Comunitarios por los Derechos Humanos) trains young indigenous community members in Mexico to monitor and defend their human rights. Defenders are trained through monthly seminars about the theories and concepts of human rights work as well as the practical skills needed to ensure human rights violations are documented, reported and prevented. They are then able to respond to human rights violations in their communities, which are often far from big cities and large non-governmental organizations that support human rights.

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

Using petitions to gain public support for a government peace process

Beginning in 2001 Elkarri held a massive signature drive in which they asked people to sign a document demanding the initiation of a dialogue of peace between all parties in the Basque region. Since its inception, Elkarri had been building a database of people who wanted to be involved with their activities, so in addition to collecting signatures at their events, they also contacted these people for their support. Elkarri also asked each person for a donation of about US$7 and to volunteer their time. To date 123,000 citizens have signed the petition, 10,000 people have become Elkarri volunteers, and over US$200,000 has been donated. In addition, representatives of all political parties, except the Partido Popular of Spain, have signed the document.

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

Creating people’s platforms (public hearings) where citizens can publicly challenge officials on the difference between promises and reality

MKSS activists and area residents investigate allegations of corruption in villages or districts, often at the initiative of local residents who feel they have been cheated or abused. At the village council or at higher levels of government they request copies of relevant official records. Once obtained, the accounts are cross-checked through site visits and interviews with villagers. MKSS then holds a public hearing at which the village officials, those accused of corruption, and community members can discuss the issue.

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

Using participatory research to advance children’s social and economic rights

Wona Sanana was established in 1999 to protect children’s rights by compiling information on the condition of the children of Mozambique after the 16-year civil war. The project combined data-collection on the welfare of children with community education to empower local people to take action and to promote improved policies addressing children’s rights. Through participatory research, communities learned about the problems facing their children and were encouraged to develop unique responses appropriate to the needs or their community.

For more information on "participatory research" tactics, read our in-depth case study.

Building local capacity for trauma-focused mental health services through an intensive training model

The Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) trains refugees as peer counselors in Guinea and Sierra Leone. The refu­gees provide mental health services to others who have suffered torture and war trauma, increasing the number of people CVT can serve and creating a cadre of qualified mental health paraprofessionals in communities that had previously had no mental health services. Paraprofessionals perform many of the tasks of professionals, but within a system of supervision.

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

Creating space to legitimize and dignify the personal experiences of victims

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Peru is one of the most recent experiences of transitional justice, institutionalized with the aim of exploring the truth hidden behind a past characterized by massive abuse of human rights. One of the central activities in this process is the Public Audiences, created with the aim of legitimizing and dignifying the personal experiences of the victims in order to support the therapeutic and recuperative work on their behalf.

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

Activating historic sites as centers for citizen engagement with human rights issues

Around the world, people instinctively turn to places of memory to come to terms with the past and chart a course for the future. Memory is a critical language and terrain of human rights. These places can be a powerful and critical tool for building a lasting culture of human rights. The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience works to build the capacity of historic sites around the world to foster dialogue on pressing social issues and promote democratic and humanitarian values. It seeks to change the role of historic sites in civic life from places of passive learning to centers for active citizen engagement. Using the power of place to help communities have ongoing dialogues about the meaning of their past and the shape of their future.

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

Promoting community policing through computer-based training

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum-Asia ) introduced a computer-based police training education program to engage and enlist the support of key leadership of the Royal Thai Police (RTP) to champion the training tool. As a tactic, the computer-based police training program provides an excellent tool to promote community policing and help police more effectively address their own immediate day-to-day policing challenges while also serving to build mutual trust, acknowledgement and support.

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

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