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.

Browse all of our tactics or use the filters below to filter by type of tactical aim, tactical action, human rights issue, and geographic region or keywords. You can select multiple items in each filter by holding the Ctrl/Command or Shift keys while selecting the items of your choice; selecting an item under one filter will cause the other filters to adjust to only show items that match your existing selections. Use the Reset button to clear your choices.

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.

Protecting and encouraging endangered human rights activists through the presence of international volunteers

Peace Brigades International (PBI) sends international observers to accompany human rights activists who are threatened by the government or paramilitary organizations. If they witness abuse, observers alert authorities in the country, their own native government and activists around the world. Knowing they can expect an international response, abusers are deterred from their planned attacks. At the same time, the accompanied activists are empowered to continue and expand their work for human rights. PBI began its work in the 1980s and currently sustains over 80 volunteers on the ground in Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico and Guatemala.

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

Using text-messaging to build constituencies for human rights action

Amnesty International--The Netherlands uses text messaging technology to attract new members, especially young people, to the organization, to build awareness of its Campaign Against Torture and to encourage people to respond quickly to Urgent Action appeals. More than 500 new members have joined as a direct result of the text messaging recruitment and over 5,000 more have responded to Urgent Action appeals sent through text messaging.

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.

Using civil lawsuits to seek redress for victims of torture

The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) helps victims of torture by using United States Federal Laws to bring charges against their torturers, regardless of the country in which the torture took place. This tactic shows that redress can be sought against perpetrators of torture. In creating and applying these kinds of laws, governments show a commitment to justice for victims and to exposing those who are guilty of crimes against humanity.

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

Building corporate capacity to create constructive relationships based on a respect for indigenous people's rights

Corporate accountability for abuse of indigenous peoples and their resources has emerged a significant target area of human rights activism. At the same time, opportunities and pressures for development will inevitably continue to produce contentious relationships between extractive industries and indigenous communities. Recognizing the need for establishing constructive dialogue, First People’s Worldwide (FPW) focuses on building and supporting positive, human rights-focused relationships between indigenous interests and the business sector.

For more information on this tactic, 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.

Creating a professional organization that provides support and training to build professionalism among law enforcement personnel

The Liberia National Law Enforcement Association (LINLEA) promotes professionalism among law enforcement personnel. LINLEA advances the perspective that law enforcement officers should be the leading human rights protectors and promoters, as prescribed by the law enforcement code of ethics and canons of police ethics. These codes challenge officers to respect the constitutional rights of all people to liberty, equality and justice.

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

Pages