Tactics

Are you looking for ideas and inspiration on how you can achieve your human rights goals? Then you’re in the right place. Below, we have over 220 examples of successful human rights tactics.

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Holding a special election to ensure children's voices are heard

In its 40 plus years of civil war, Colombia has had a long history of human rights abuses, especially against its children. One estimate says about 4,300 children die violent deaths in Colombia annually, which isn’t surprising, given that over 7,000 of them serve as “soldiers” on one side or the other of the conflict. In response to this, children from some of the most war torn areas of Colombia formed what has come to be known as the Children’s Mandate for Peace Movement.

Certifying companies based on an internationally recognizable standard to improve labor conditions

Social Accountability International (SAI) has developed a set of voluntary corporate social responsibility standards called SA 8000. SA 8000 includes a code of conduct for labor conditions, based on established international standards, and a verification system to ensure compliance. In order for a company to receive SA 8000 certification, it must pass monitoring inspections by SAI-certified auditors. The auditors closely monitor the companies before and after certification to ensure their capability to comply with the standards and to require their collaboration with local experts.

Building grassroots support to develop a law and lobby decision makers

Association el Amane pour le Développement de la Femme (EL AMANE) in Morocco built grassroots support by organizing 161 consultative meetings in 35 cities and villages. They engaged over 1,800 women in order to collect the recommendations that were included in a draft law to prevent domestic violence. Based on the statistics of civil society organizations working in support centers for women, nine out of ten women are subject to violence perpetrated by their husbands.

Building collaborative partnerships to develop a Local Housing Board

A group of Non-Government Organizations in Cebu City bonded together and created an alliance which formed the Task Force Tawhanong Pagpuyo (TFT) to respond to the growing number of victims who experienced eviction and their homes being demolished. This problem resulted from the onset of globalization and the government’s development framework which often violated urban poor communities’ rights to housing.

Building coalitions to affect local, regional and international policy using a rights and health-based approach

The need for building coalitions among diverse constituency groups at local, national, and international levels grew out of the recognition that individual actors could not take on large corporate or government pesticide policies alone. For example, pesticide activists faced formidable, well-funded opposition to Proposition 128, known as the “Big Green Campaign,” which called for the end of hazardous pesticide use in California.

Building allies with government institutions and port communities to prevent human trafficking and protect victims

Visayan Forum, Inc. (VF), in cooperation with the Philippine Ports Authority, runs eight unique halfway house facilities in strategic ports throughout the country’s archipelago. In addition to providing center-based services to vulnerable migrants, this partnership helps to combat human trafficking in these seaports by preventing and intercepting potential victims of trafficking and apprehending suspected traffickers.

Asserting cultural identity en masse to express opposition to an oppressive regime

In June of 1988, hundreds of thousands of Estonians (by some estimates, as many as 300,000, or one-third of the Estonian population) gathered for five consecutive nights in the capital city of Tallinn to sing forbidden or politi­cally risky folk songs. Similar festivals were held that summer in Latvia and Lithuania. This “Singing Revolution,” as it became known, was an important step toward the independence of all three Baltic states from the Soviet Union in August 1991.

Adapting traditional human rights fact-finding methodology to emerging human rights issues

The Advocates for Human Rights (The Advocates), formerly known as the Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, uses traditional human rights monitoring methods to document human rights abuses, but has made a practice of adapting this methodology to address emerging human rights issues. The Advocates has developed practical and sustainable strategies for adapting human rights monitoring methods to address domestic violence in Eastern Europe, and has used this tactic to develop a positive legal and social culture on behalf of women’s human rights in Bulgaria.

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

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