Advocacy

A Story of Success: The Campaign to Ban Torture and the Accountability Coalition

The United States’ use of torture and cruelty in post-9/11 counterterrorism operations spurred U.S. human rights and civil liberties organizations to form powerful coalitions that fought for a reversal of this misguided policy. The New Tactics in Human Rights Strategic Effectiveness method was one tool used to by these groups to collectively move their work forward. 

Creating and Sustaining Awareness of LGBTQI Rights

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LGBTQI rights are fought for with a spectrum of tactics. In some states, gay citizens and allies march in pride parades and mark themselves with rainbows; in others, activists work in secrecy to protect their safety. Homophobia takes many forms and stems from a multitude of sources, each one different from the next. LGBTQI rights are human rights and must be upheld accordingly, but this lack of uniformity leads to distinct challenges in advocating for these rights on a global scale. Today, activists around the world confront a multitude of bigotry as they fight for the universal protection of queer individuals. In this conversation, participants discussed challenges and strategies for promoting LGBTQI rights through local and international actions across a range of situations.

Cultural Resistance: The Power of Music and Visual Art as Protest

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Protest art has been practiced throughout history, especially serving the anti-war movement in the mid-20th century. Today, art has become a powerful and international language to speak against all forms of human rights violations, along with other activism. For example, during the Arab Spring, the arts were used to make anti-authoritarian statements. The photographer and graphic designer, Nermine Hammam, captures the fundamental frailty of rule by force in the global community in her exhibition Cairo Year One by combining the realities of the conflict with a surreal and idealistic background. Tunisian folk-rock singer Emel Mathlouthi and rapper El General used music to rail against the state brutality and the suffering of Egypt’s youth and working class, which attracted considerable attention from protestors and transformed into a powerful protest song. The protest art of the Arab Spring has since joined a broader dialogue between protest art of the past and present, in mediums as diverse as books, film, performance art, and multimedia.

Protection of Indigenous Land Rights: Challenges & Remedies

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There are estimated to be 370 million indigenous people in the world, from 5,000 different ethnic groups, living in 90 countries. James Anaya, former Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, has defined indigenous people as "living descendants of pre-invasion inhabitants of lands now dominated by others. They are culturally distinct groups that find themselves engulfed by other settler societies born of forces of empire and conquest." Despite the United Nations having issued a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples including land rights, the land rights of indigenous people have increasingly come under threat.

Using Social Networking for Innovative Advocacy

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Social networking tools have revolutionized the way that social movements and human rights advocates operate. In a world where the public creates the news in real time and information is readily available in a moment’s notice, the process of communication and dissemination has been largely democratized. Individuals can magnify their voice, not only through information consumption and generation, but through active engagement and organizing. For example, activists of the 2014 Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong used a mesh networking tool, traditionally used at music festivals, to communicate.

Influencing Policy to Create Inclusive Societies for Persons with Disabilities

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Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognizes the equal rights of all persons with disabilities to make choices equal to all members of society, and requires governments to take effective steps to facilitate the full enjoyment of this basic right by persons with disabilities. Despite the rights discerned by international law, persons living with disability still continue to be excluded in decision-making processes, requiring many needs that have not been fulfilled.

In order to address these concerns, practitioners both challenged and discussed definitions and language regarding ‘disability,’ applying UNCRDP to international and local dimensions, and difficulties organizations/communities may face in the context of independent monitoring bodies in the New Tactics in Human Rights conversation, “Influencing Policy to Create Inclusive Societies for Persons with Disability.” Furthermore, strategies of creating better advocacy, forming partnerships, and fostering inclusivity in organizations for persons with disabilities were discussed.

The Voice of Youth: How Youth Can Take on a Critical Role in Human Rights Advocacy

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Young people make up an ever-growing portion of the world’s population. As of 2014, the number of youth, ages 10-24, rose to nearly 1.8 billion, or slightly less than 25 percent of the world population. As youth compose a greater share of the population, questions emerge about the role youth will play in addressing the issues relevant to their future. Empowering youth to engage and take an active role in advocacy can play a critical role in societal change and improving human rights. Thus, organizations increasingly seek new ways to engage youth in civil society.

New Tactics in Human Rights through its online conversation, The Voice of Youth: How Youth Can Take on a Critical Role in Human Rights Advocacy, discusses ways how youth are involved in social change, address the challenges to their interests and the role of human rights organizations and practitioners in empowering youth.

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