Developing and implementing a human rights campaign
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Developing and Implementing a Human Rights Campaign. Rachel Ball Lawyer Human Rights Law Resource Centre Ltd P: + 61 3 9225 6647 F: + 61 3 9225 6686 E: W: Overview. Setting Goals Selecting Methods Engaging People Using a Human Rights Framework

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Developing and Implementing a Human Rights Campaign

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Developing and Implementing a Human Rights Campaign

Rachel BallLawyer Human Rights Law Resource Centre Ltd P: + 61 3 9225 6647 F: + 61 3 9225 6686 E:


  • Setting Goals

  • Selecting Methods

  • Engaging People

  • Using a Human Rights Framework

  • Ethics and Other Considerations


  • Handy tips:

    • Articulate key messages

    • Stick to these (if possible)

  • Consider human rights

    • Coalition of Immokalee Workers


Methods I

  • Handy tips

    • Consider organisational structure

    • Create a strategy document

    • Prepare a detailed timeline

    • Organise regular meetings

Methods II

  • Shaming

    • Human Rights Watch


  • Publicity and engagement

    • Charge or Release


  • Norm-building and legislative change

    • International Campaign to Ban Landmines



  • Handy tips

    • Draw up a battleship board

  • Consider language

    • Transparency in the Extractive Industries

  • Engage the unusual suspects

    • Disability Discrimination Amendment Bill

A Human Rights Framework

  • A single language for many issues

  • An international framework

  • Fill the gaps in domestic laws

  • Recognises the needs of marginalised and vulnerable populations

  • Can be an empowering force

  • Example: Post-Katrina advocacy

Ethics and Other Considerations

  • What is an activist?

    • Lawyer / journalist / doctor / social scientist?

  • Iran and LGBT Advocacy

    • How do you respond to contested facts?

    • What is the effect on other human rights claims?

    • What are the dangers of “thinking globally, acting locally”

    • What is your organisational mandate?

    • Do the ends justify the means?

  • Handy tips from Peter Singer

    [Disclaimer: I disagree with at least three of these]

    • Try to understand the public’s current thinking and where it could be encouraged to go tomorrow. Above all, keep touch with reality;

    • Select a target on the basis of vulnerabilities to public opinion, the intensity of suffering, and the opportunities for change;

    • Set goals that are achievable. Bring about meaningful change one step at a time. Raising awareness is not enough;

    • Establish credible sources of information and documentation. Never assume anything. Never deceive the media or the public. Maintain credibility, don’t exaggerate or hype the issue;

    • Don’t divide the world into saints and sinners;

    Handy tips from Peter Singer (cont.)

    • Seek dialogue and attempt to work together to solve problems with solutions. This is best done by presenting realistic alternatives;

    • Be ready for confrontation if your target remains unresponsive. If accepted channels don’t work, prepare an escalating public awareness campaign to place your adversary on the defensive;

    • Avoid bureaucracy;

    • Don’t assume that only legislation or legal action can solve the problem;

    • Ask yourself: “Will it work?”

      From Peter Singer, Ethics into Action, (1999).

    Now to Phoebe…

    “Where, after all do universal human rights

    begin? In small places, close to home – so

    close and so small that they cannot be seen on

    any maps of the world… Without concerted

    citizen action to uphold them close to home, we

    shall look in vain for progress in the larger


    • - Eleanor Roosevelt

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