Presentation 5.2: Actions for Human Rights This presentation is self-paced. Use the navigation bar below to go to the next slide. Pause Previous Next Use the tabs on the right to jump from one slide to another. Click the “Next” button to begin Presentation 5.2
Actions for Human Rights What comes to mind when you think of taking action for human rights? Protest marches? Letter writing? Court action? There are many different ways to take action for human rights that range in domain and scope. In this presentation you will learn about five main action areas with examples of projects developed in partnership with Rights & Democracy, the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development .
Actions leading to change Human Rights Education Human Rights Research Monitoring Human Rights Legal Standards Advocacy
Human Rights Education Human rights education is a process of social transformation that begins with the individual and branches out to encompass society at large. The goal of human rights education is empowerment. The result is social change. Human rights education involves actions that explore human rights principles and values and the promotion of critical reflection and inquiry. Ultimately, human rights education inspires people to help realize their rights and the rights of others. For example… In partnership with a human rights education organization, camp counsellors in a community have been trained to introduce a series of games to play with their campers that promote the underlying values of human rights. The games are not only fun to play, but they provoke discussion amongst the campers about human rights values such as respect and tolerance.
Human Rights Education Morocco : Supporting an Emergent Democracy Who: Association régionale de développement du Gharb (ARDG) What: Reinforce the structural and organizational capacity of ARDG and support it in its efforts to work with youth who have limited space to express themselves in marginalized regions of Morocco.
Y oung women and men between the ages of 15 and 25 will have an opportunity to receive training on human rights and democratic values as well as advocacy through education and awareness tools.
Students will be introduced to the principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as concepts related to human rights and democracy through certain courses offered at the school in Ibn Zaydoun (the only secondary school in the region).
They will also be invited to participate in setting up a specialized media library at their school on issues pertaining to human rights and democratic development.
Human Rights Education China: Training and Democratic Development Who: Human Rights Centre of the Chinese Communist Party Central School. What: Activities to promote discussion on human rights and democratic development in China.
The Chinese Communist Party Central School will train a new generation of Chinese decision-makers and to advise the Chinese central power in public policy matters.
The activities that will be organized include a joint seminar in China and study visits in Canada and China.
For their first visit to Canada, professors at the Communist Party Central School will learn more about the Canadian democratic process and relations between government and civil society.
Advocacy Advocacy means actively supporting an issue or disadvantaged group in order to raise awareness among the public and decision makers. It involves actions that help bring about changes in public perceptions and improvements to the situation , such as through public policy or government funding priorities. For example … To raise awareness about the rights of indigenous people’s access to adequate health care, a local student group produces a public service announcement and puts it on YouTube. The video includes a link to a website with an on-line petition asking the government to change its priorities with respect to the issue.
Advocacy Women’s Right to Reparations Who: The Coalition for Women’s Human Rights in Conflict Situations, survivors of sexual violence as well as human rights defenders and women’s rights activists. What: An international meeting on women’s and girls’ right to reparations in Nairobi, Kenya with representatives from 12 countries. The goal was to transform the situation in order to overcome socio-cultural injustices and political and structural inequalities that predate the regional conflict situations.
Drafted at this meeting was the Nairobi Declaration, a document supported by several human rights organizations including the Fédération internationale des droits de l’homme (FIDH), Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.
The declaration is founded on the experience of women and girls who have survived sexual violence in conflict situations, and stresses the importance of social and sexual inequalities that exist well before the beginning of a conflict, and expands the definition of reparations beyond its legal meaning.
Monitoring Monitoring is the active process of collecting, verifying and putting to use information that addresses human rights problems. It involves actions such as gathering information about incidents , observing events (elections, trials, demonstrations, etc.), visiting sites (places of detention, refugee camps, etc.), and discussions with Government authorities to ensure they remain dedicated to fulfilling their obligations to respect human rights. For example… A humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) has been asked to monitor the conditions at a refugee camp and verify that the basic needs of the refugees are being met. As there is a limited supply to food, clothing, and adequate health care in the region, it is important that the camp administrators are not controlling the distribution. The NGO’s report will be sent to the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees and will include a list of recommendations on how to improve the living conditions in the camp.
Monitoring Zimbabwe : Denouncing and Documenting Human Rights Violations Who: Gabriel Shumba, Executive Director of Zimbabwean Exiles Forum (ZEF). What: A tour across Canada presenting the preliminary results of work concerning human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
Mr. Shumba gathered testimonials from victims of human rights violations in Zimbabwe and South Africa. The number of economic and political refugees from Zimbabwe who have fled to South Africa is estimated at three million.
The tour allowed Mr. Shumba to meet with Canadians, parliamentarians as well as several government and non-governmental representatives across the country and to put the media spotlight on the human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
Human Rights Legal Standards The practice of human rights law entails upholding international legal standards to ensure that States protect, promote, respect, and fulfill human rights. It includes actions such as implementing international human rights standards into domestic law , ensuring that human rights are practiced in law enforcement as well as the judgements and verdicts issued by a court of law. For example… There is a significant housing shortage for low-income families in your community. The government is working to put into place a number of new legislative measures that will help improve the situation. The National Housing Act will promote the construction of new homes, repair and modernize existing homes, and improve housing and living conditions across the country.
Human Rights Legal Standards Afghanistan: Promoting and Protecting Women’s Rights Who: Afghan government and civil society, Rights & Democracy, and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). What: A project to support women’s rights in Afghanistan.
The $5 million project will contribute to supporting the Afghan government and civil society in their efforts to ensure that all laws governing the domestic sphere and women’s rights respect the same standards across the country.
Human Rights Legal Standards Indigenous Women at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Who: A delegation of indigenous women and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. What: A project that will support the creation of jurisprudence specific to the reality of indigenous women and establish dialogue between indigenous women’s organizations, national bodies that could protect their rights and the inter-American human rights system.
A delegation of indigenous women received training on the inter-American system for human rights protection.
The women went to Washington to present before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in order to raise the Commission’s awareness of the double discrimination facing indigenous women, as women and indigenous people. The Commission will have to deal with specific cases of violations of indigenous women’s rights.
Human Rights Research Human rights research is the careful study of a topic in order to inform future practice related to human rights and human rights education. It involves actions that examine the trends and shifts of a particular area that result in the development of guidelines , strategies , and tools that help in the protection and promotion of human rights. For example… A research paper on human rights education for law enforcement officials is published describing the successes and challenges of various programs across North America. The research is being used to help design a three-day workshop about human rights for the local police department.
Human Rights Research Learning from the Human Rights Impact Assessments for Foreign Investments Projects Who: Researchers and companies in the Philippines, Tibet, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Argentina, and Peru. What: A participatory research project to document the human rights impacts of foreign investment projects and to give governments, investors and communities the tools to document these impacts.
The project was led by local research teams in five countries, with the support of an international advisory committee.
Three cases studies looked at the impact of mining investments (Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru and Philippines), one looked at the impact of water privatization in Argentina and the other at the potential impacts of communication technology along the Lhasa-Gormo railroad (Tibet/China). In four of the five case studies, the companies agreed to participate in the study.
For more information about each project: Rights and Democracy www.dd-rd.ca In which domain do you see yourself taking action for human rights? End of presentation Close the window to continue Module 5