Tactics

Promoting justice by leveraging the legal rights to access victims’ records

The Centro de Documentación y Archivo (CDyA) opened police files to the public after the country’s 35-year military dictatorship.

The constitution of Paraguay, like the constitutions of five other Latin American countries, includes the right of habeas data: the right of former prisoners to control data collected about them and their experiences. After filing a petition to obtain his own file, Martin Almada, a former political prisoner, accompanied by a local judge, found thousands of detention files in a police station in Lambare in 1992.

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.

Organizing mock tribunals to raise awareness of human rights abuses and influence public policy

BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, along with the Civil Resource Development and Documentation Centre, organized the first National Tribunal on Violence against Women. Held in March 2002 in Abuja, Nigeria’s capi­tal, the tribunal was unofficial and not legally binding, but the testimony was real. Thirty-three women testified, sharing their experiences in order to help the public learn about the abuses suffered by women in their homes, in their communities and at the hands of the government, including sexual harassment, domestic violence, rape and female genital mutilation.

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

Offering loans with favorable terms to small-busi­ness owners with the condition that they not use child labor

The Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) administers the Micro Enterprise Lending and Assis­tance (MELA) program, which offers loans with favorable terms to small businesses that would not normally be able to secure funds, on the condition that they agree not to use child labor.

Mapping personal histories and mobilizing memory to reclaim a place in history and recover lost land

The District Six Museum in South Africa spearheaded a land claim in which people ultimately recovered both the property and dignity they had lost under apartheid. It continues to be a space where people can collect, dissemi­nate and exchange memories of the neighborhood. It is also actively involved in promoting civic dialogue about humane cities in South Africa.

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.

Involving the community in determining offenders’ sentences and helping to rehabilitate them

Peacemaking circles use traditional circle ritual and structure to create a respectful space in which all interested community members — victim, victim supporters, offender, offender supporters, judge, prosecutor, defense counsel, police and court workers — can speak openly in a shared attempt to understand a crime, to identify what is needed to heal all affected parties and to prevent future occurrences.

Involving survivors of human rights abuse in the identification and rescue of potential victims

Maiti Nepal works to stop trafficking of women and girls across the Nepal-India border by interviewing those who appear vulnerable. The Maiti interviewers are more likely to recognize others in dangerous situations because many of them are survivors of trafficking too.

Increasing demand for sex workers in Indian brothels and other markets is increasing trafficking in Nepal. One way to combat the problem is to prevent traffickers from crossing the border, but border police often fail to identify potential victims or simply look the other way.

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