Tactics

Tactic case studies provide first-person, detailed information on the use of a tactic and how it may be adapted to other situations.

The authors -- from diverse walks of life and human rights issue areas -- recount their personal experiences in these detailed tactical notebooks. Although their backgrounds and situations differ, all used innovative tactics to help address an urgent human rights situation. Read these case studies to learn how a tactic was actually implemented, what factors influenced its use, and the challenges that surfaced along the way. We hope these examples of how tactics were used in sometimes dangerous, real-life situations will help you think tactically, to consider adapting these tactics to your own context, and adding these tactics to your own tactical repertoire.


Rebuilding Communities: Training trauma survivors to help communities heal after atrocities

A drawing of the emotional states of a survivorThe Center for Victims of Torture (CVT) has instituted an intensive training and supervision model for refugees to develop local capacity for providing understanding and skills for mental health support to rebuild communities after massive human rights atrocities. CVT has instituted the training model in refugee camps in Guinea and Sierra Leone for refugees from Sierra Leone and Liberia. The model combines intensive, hands-on training of refugees with ongoing supervision.

Promoting Human Rights Professionalism in the Liberian Police Force

The Liberian National Law Enforcement Association (LINLEA) was established by law enforcement personnel to address issues of poor leadership, blind loyalty, and lack of professional training, each of which have contributed to a poor quality of services and a high incidence of human rights abuses. LINLEA has worked to promote professionalism as a way to enhance human rights standards and reduce incidences of abuse.

Powerful Persuasion: Combating traditional practices that violate human rights

Participants of a workshopTrokosi, in Ghana, is a system of servitude that meets the community need for justice and the material and sexual needs of fetish priests. Customary or traditional practices based on deep-seated beliefs, such as Trokosi, are often the more difficult human rights violations to eradicate.  Trokosi is when women and young girls are brought and kept in fetish shrines to atone for sins or crimes allegedly committed by one of their relatives. The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) recognized that legislation outlawing such practices may not be effective and may, in some cases, result in driving a customary practice further underground.

I'll Walk Beside You: Providing emotional support for testifiers at the South African Truth & Reconciliation Commission

People testifiying at the truth and reconciliation commissionThe South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) developed the concept of “briefers” to install a victim-friendly process. Victims were provided with the opportunity to testify and be supported before, during and after the process. The TRC selected briefers—chosen from the caring professions, such as ministers, social workers and nurses—from the community to provide this support. The briefers acted as volunteers and were trained to perform various tasks with regard to the entire structural process of the TRC.

Complementary Strengths: Western Psychology and Traditional Healing

Someone performing a dramatizationRebuilding Hope saw the need for an integrated healing process that would allow families and communities to accept child soldiers from Mozambique back into their lives.  Acknowledging that traditional healers are often the first people community members approach when they need help, Rebuilding Hope psychologists approached the healers as well as other community leaders to be project partners.

A Mock Tribunal to Advance Change: The National Tribunal on Violence Against Women in Nigeria

A woman testifying with a veilBAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, in collaboration with the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre (CIRDDOC), highlighted violations of women’s rights in Nigeria that were viewed by the public as normal or even justifiable abuse.  They used a mock tribunal to change public perceptions and beliefs regarding violations against women, and changed public policy and law.

Access to Justice: Creating local level, citizen action mediation bodies to ensure human rights

Women sitting in a circleThe Centre for Victims of Torture (CVICT) in Nepal instituted a tactic to circumvent the problem of police abuse through a process of rights-based community mediation. This community mediation process was piloted in three districts of the country. CVICT adapted the general community mediation process to meet the specific needs of women through instituting Women’s Peace Committees.

Right to Know, Right to Live: Building a campaign for the right to information and accountability

An audience of women in bright clothesMazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) has been deeply involved in a collective process which has shaped and influenced the Campaign for the Right to Information in India. MKSS makes the case that without access to information and transparency there can be no genuine participation from all members of society, particularly the poor, in democracy.

Child Friendly Villages: Using village strengths to combat child labour

Building Child Friendly Villages: Using village strengths to combat child labour and exploitative practices

Children wearving a carpetBachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Foundation) in India developed the concept and application of child friendly villages as a way to not only promote education for all but also combat the cycle of child labor. Child labor is both a cause as well as a consequence of poverty, illiteracy and lack of human security. The aim of child friendly villages is to create and sustain a child friendly atmosphere within the community to ensure education and put an end to child labor.

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