openGlobalRights https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/12849/all en Recently on OpenGlobalRights: authors debate rising threats and challenges in human rights https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/ogr-editorial-team/recently-on-openglobalrights-authors-debate-rising-threats-and-c <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Catch up on OpenGlobalRights lastest publications, where recent articles discuss security threats to activists, closing space in Nigeria, tax structures that enable corporations to hide culpable actors, and more.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the last couple of months, <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/">OpenGlobalRights</a> launched its new website and has been expanding on the themes from our previous site at openDemocracy. In our <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/perspectives/">Perspectives</a> section, authors from across the world have debated the rising threats against human rights defenders, closing space for civil society, how to improve funding opportunities, social science experiments, the use of polling data in human rights messaging, and much more.</p> <p>In July, Padre Melo <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/new-threats-against-human-rights-defenders-require-new-kinds-of-protection1/">discussed new threats </a>that are arising against human rights defenders and how organizations must adapt their security measures to offer adequate protection. David Forsythe <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/hard-times-for-human-rights/?lang=English">outlined the many challenges</a> facing the human rights movement but debated whether these “hard times” were simply the expected ups and downs of liberal norms and principals. Nick Robinson emphasized how important it is <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/defining-rather-than-defending-our-human-rights-moment/?lang=English">to reframe and adapt</a> human rights to global shifts, rather than constantly defending the existing rights movements. Christa Blackmon explored the ways in which <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/breaking-the-fourth-wall-theater-as-human-rights-activism/?lang=English">theatre can complement and even become activism</a>, and Sadhana Shrestha wrote about <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/building-communities-to-boost-local-fundraising/">the importance of building communities</a> and local ownership in order to boost fundraising opportunities. In addition, Garth Meintjes argued that <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/public-interest-lawyers-need-new-tools-to-protect-the-vulnerable/">public interest lawyers</a> need to start exploring new tools to protect vulnerable populations.</p> <p>In August, Joe Braun and Stephen Arves <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/Tailorin-%20the-message-How-the-political-left-and-right-think-differently-about-human-rights/">provided scientific evidence</a> on how the political left and right think differently about human rights, and why human rights activists need to use this data to tailor their messaging. Paul Beckett explained the problems inherent in certain “orphan” tax structures that enable corporations to <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/Hard-times-but-human-rights-defenders/?lang=English">hide who is responsible</a> for rights violations, and Victoria Ohaeri discussed the <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/Ho-%20to-confront-restrictive-legislation-in-Nigeria/">closing space in Nigerian civil society</a> and outlined ways in which activists can confront new and restrictive legislation. Samira Bueno and Renato Sérgio de Lima used public opinion polls to demonstrate how both the state and the general public in Brazil have <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/the-legitimization-of-violence-to-solve-social-problems-in-brazil/">legitimized violence as a solution to social problems</a>, and Geoff Dancy articulated several ways in which the <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/Why-an-anti-ICC-narrative-may-help-Kenyan-leaders-win-votes/">anti-ICC narrative growing in Africa</a> has been helping Kenyan leaders win votes. Marc Limon <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/the-world-is-marching-towards-not-away-from-universal-human-rights/?lang=English">disagreed with pessimism</a> about the state of human rights and argued that the world is actually moving towards universality, while Andrew Anderson acknowledged that <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/Hard-times-but-human-rights-defenders/?lang=English">human rights are indeed in peril</a>, but human rights defenders are highly resilient. Julius Ibrani and Marte Hellema then <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/Indonesia-at-a-threshold-reinventing-the-human-rights-movement/?lang=English">analyzed the political situation in Indonesia</a> and argued that the country’s human rights movement will need to reinvent itself to have any real impact.</p><p dir="ltr"><br /><span><img src="https://www.openglobalrights.org/userfiles/file/A_%20September.jpg" alt="" width="600" /><span>Protesters in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017.&nbsp;Flickr/</span><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/rodneydunning/36511075226/" target="_blank">Rodney Dunning</a><span>/</span><a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/" target="_blank">CC BY-NC-ND 2.0</a><span>&nbsp;(Some Rights Reserved).</span></span></p> <p>In our latest articles in September, Myrella Saadeh describes the <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/The-forgotten-advocates-of-children&#039;s-rights-in-Guatemala/">failure of the Guatemalan government</a> to protect the country’s children and discusses mounting threats facing Guatemala’s child rights advocates. Finally, Kayum Ahmed outlines t<a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/Defending-free-speech-when-laws-do-not-apply-equally-to-everyone/?lang=English">he ACLU’s problematic use of free speech</a> when it comes to defending white supremacists and what that means for human rights defenders.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are continuously publishing new content and creating different themes for debate and dialogue. Stay informed by <a href="https://opendemocracy.us15.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=acf31f31349d04466ff82e3fb&amp;id=94909f1bd2">subscribing here</a> for weekly updates. Interested in writing for us? <a href="https://www.openglobalrights.org/write-for-openglobalrights/">Click here</a> for submission guidelines. We consider new submissions on a rolling basis. Interested in collaborating with us on a new articles series or otherwise? Get in touch with us at info@openglobalrights.org.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights The OGR Editorial Team Wed, 06 Sep 2017 06:00:00 +0000 The OGR Editorial Team 113204 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Integrating a psychosocial perspective in human rights works https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/maik-m-ller/integrating-psychosocial-perspective-in-human-rights-works <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/MullerJune.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">Integrating a psychosocial perspective requires the incorporation of psychosocial support and self-care into job descriptions and work plans. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank">mental health and human rights</a>. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/maik-m-ller/la-integraci-n-de-una-perspectiva-psicosocial-en-el-trabajo-de-derechos">Español</a></em></strong>.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Through my work with <a href="http://www.peacebrigades.org/" target="_blank">Peace Brigades International (PBI</a>), I’ve been in contact with diverse members of local and international NGOs working on human rights, but few—if any—of these organisations have integrated a clear approach to counteracting the negative psychosocial impacts of human rights work in repressive contexts. </p><p dir="ltr">As an independent consultant, I recently worked with PBI to document and systemize the work done by <a href="http://www.pbi-mexico.org/" target="_blank">PBI Mexico</a> over the last 10 years, and our <a href="http://bit.ly/estudiopsico" target="_blank">case study</a> indicates that the inclusion of a psychosocial perspective can be an important mechanism to strengthen human rights organisations and their members. In our surveys and interviews, past and current members of the organization gave a variety of examples of how integration of the psychosocial perspective—in addition to specific tools and procedures—led to increased resilience, decreased internal conflicts, and improvements in protection and security work. </p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">People who are aware of the psychosocial impacts of repression are more willing to prioritise adequate self-care.</p><p dir="ltr">Our interviews and surveys found that sensitisation and awareness raising about the psychosocial impacts of political violence (and human rights work in such contexts) were key—people who are aware of the psychosocial impacts of repression are more willing to prioritise adequate self-care. </p><p dir="ltr">To increase this awareness, PBI offered regular mental health workshops facilitated by an external expert, which addressed the impacts of violence and the problems that members of the organization deal with in their daily work. PBI also facilitated self-organized workshops, which are set up and managed by the teams in order to work on any issues related to mental health. These workshops—utilizing existing tools, knowledge, capacities and previous experiences of each member—helped staff and volunteers to recognise negative impacts and to develop strategies to prevent, cope with or counteract these effects.</p><p dir="ltr">Another important tool that the organization introduced was “check-ins”: these were spaces at the beginning of meetings (in person or virtual) where each person can comment on how they are doing and about aspects that influence their well-being (work-related or personal) and in which members can hear from others about how they are doing, express needs, concerns. The excessive workload and the dynamics of human rights work in the field can lead to situations in which team members do not know how their teammates are doing, and this lack of exchange can lead to misunderstandings, friction and conflicts. Proper use of check-ins can be a useful tool for preventing conflict and to promote mutual support. The tool helped to get staff and volunteers used to including expression of emotions and (the lack of) “well-being” into certain spaces, and in many occasions team members noted an increase in their empathy for each other.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/MullerJune.jpg" alt="" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Jonathan McIntosh (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">"Paseo de Humanidad" (Parade of Humanity), a painted metal mural, is attached to the Mexican side of the US border wall in the city of Heroica Nogales. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">In addition, PBI Mexico created “mental health minimums”, which are individual commitments by all team members to practice self-care and maintain a good state of mental health during the year in the field. These minimum commitments are different for each team member and involve simple things such as doing sports at least once a week, writing daily, and going to dance classes.</p><p dir="ltr">They are the result of an individual reflection process (sometimes promoted and/or guided in a workshop) and are shared with the other members of the team so that everyone is aware of each other’s needs. The implementation of these minimums is done individually but if stress dynamics linked to a lack of implementation arise, the team uses the workshops and/or the “check-ins” to follow-up as a collective. As such, the minimums help with conflicts about different perspectives on work management and self-care. </p><p dir="ltr">The organization also decided to rotate certain tasks considering the mental health of the team members. One example is the person who is on-call. This person is responsible for checking the phone and e-mail in order to respond to emergency situations, and PBI has taken care to avoid exposing the same people to the most difficult testimonies, such as victims of torture and forced disappearances. “During my year, the hardest moments for me emotionally were listening to testimonies of mothers of disappeared people”, stated one of the volunteers. During the workshops, the external expert provided tools to better deal with such situations and at the same time the rotation system avoided constant exposure to these testimonies.</p><p dir="ltr">Finally, PBI offered individual support programs with therapists through Skype. This is an external service to support employees and volunteers so that they can prevent and/or cope with situations or periods of stress and/or emotional charge. PBI has a working agreement with the <a href="http://www.eagt.org" target="_blank">European Gestalt Therapy Association</a> where members can request individual pro-bono counselling at any time throughout their service (before, during and after the volunteer year, and also for paid staff) in order to prevent burnout and secondary trauma. At the beginning of the collaboration volunteers and staff did not used this specific service much. PBI Mexico started to promote this opportunity for support and integrated further information about this service in training and orientation of staff and volunteers alike. Now there is a regular use of the service and in the questionnaires and interviews several people stressed the importance of this tool.</p><p dir="ltr">PBI Mexico made extensive use of an external professional expert to support field teams to address the negative psychosocial impacts of the dynamics inherent to frontline human rights work. Before this collaboration (ten years ago) there was little work on mental health and the accompaniment work of PBI Mexico did not consider well (if at all) psychosocial aspects of the security and protection work for human rights defenders. While there was initially resistance from some members, people were rapidly convinced once they experienced the support. Over time the collaboration with the external expert led to the integration of a psychosocial approach in the internal and external work of the organization. One public example of this integration is PBI Mexico’s <a href="https://issuu.com/peacebrigadesinternational/docs/pbiprogramaseguridad" target="_blank">facilitator’s guide</a> for security and protection workshops, which explicitly integrates a psychosocial perspective in each training module.</p><p dir="ltr">Although we found that workshops with the external expert were especially important, it was the combination of the different tools and procedures that led to a proper integration of the psychosocial perspective. The ongoing support via the regular workshops helped to develop or adjust these tools and procedures to make them more effective. We found that participative processes were important, as commitment and implementation depends on buy-in from all team members—coping mechanisms should not be imposed from the outside, in order to avoid resistance and/or dependence on intervention. Our study also illustrates the need to create an organizational culture that not only allows and promotes the use of time and resources for well-being and mental health, but actually integrates it as important part of the human rights work that is obligatory, reflected in work plans and job descriptions. Unless this incorporation happens, we observed that self-care gets lost or de-prioritized in the frequently overloaded agendas of HRDs and their organisations.</p><p dir="ltr">The horizontal and participatory working approach of PBI has certainly facilitated progress, but most of the tools and procedures described can be integrated and adapted by other local and international NGOs alike. In addition, a similar type of case study to what we completed could also help organizations identify their specific needs.</p><p dir="ltr">Of course, a cultural shift and strong effort to raise awareness are still required in order to foster well-being and counter negative impacts of repression within the sector. But profound changes in the staff and organisation are possible with proper investment in and implementation of psychosocial support.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_2.png'"><img width="140" alt="“Data" border="0" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/yara-sallam/no-one-warned-me-trade-off-between-self-care-and-effective-activism">“No One Warned Me”: the trade-off between self-care and effective activism</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/deepa-ranganathan-mar-d-az-ezquerro/making-our-movements-sustainable-practicing-holistic-security-ev">Making our movements sustainable: practicing holistic security every day</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/shena-cavallo-jocelyn-berger-michelle-truong/revolutions-are-built-on-hope-role-of-">Revolutions are built on hope: the role of funders in collective self-care</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meerim-ilyas-tatiana-cordero-vel-squez/collective-care-in-human-rights-funding-poli">Collective care in human rights funding: a political stand</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kristi-pinderi/when-advocacy-work-builds-resilience-everyone-benefits">When advocacy work builds resilience, everyone benefits</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/zelalem-kibret/ready-for-anything-how-preparation-can-improve-trauma-recovery">Ready for anything: how preparation can improve trauma recovery</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/holly-davis-magda-adamowicz/security-and-well-being-two-sides-of-same-coin">Security and well-being: two sides of the same coin</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate">Turning weakness into strength: lessons as a new advocate</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sam-dubberley/when-watching-violence-is-your-job-workers-on-digital-frontline">When watching violence is your job: workers on the digital frontline</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Maik Müller Central and South America, & the Caribbean Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Tue, 27 Jun 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Maik Müller 111908 at https://www.opendemocracy.net “No One Warned Me”: the trade-off between self-care and effective activism https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/yara-sallam/no-one-warned-me-trade-off-between-self-care-and-effective-activism <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/SallemJune.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">Is there a trade off between protecting your mental health as an activist and doing effective work? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank">mental health and human rights</a>. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/yara-sallam" target="_blank">العربية.</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">While reflecting on my human rights career thus far, I remember getting advice in passing on staying “detached” from my work, with no guidance on how to apply this in a practical manner. How does an activist remain engaged and passionate while also being detached? And is there a point at which we are too detached and then cannot empathize with the people for whom we are advocating? </p><p dir="ltr">In 2007, shortly after graduation, I was fortunate enough to work with one of my professors on a research project on women who go to courts to get divorce. As part of the research, I conducted interviews with lawyers and women who approached women’s rights associations, due to their inability to afford divorce costs. I do not remember being warned about the mixed emotions and personal stories that I would encounter and how that would affect me. At the end of that year, I started working at the <a href="http://www.eipr.org/" target="_blank">Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights</a> (EIPR), and the first file I worked on was monitoring and documenting violations of the freedom of religion and belief. But again, I was not warned about the heavy emotions. I had not received any training or advice on how to separate myself from my work, and that lack of preparation and awareness affected me for years to come.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">I started drifting away from all of the religious practices that I used to perform, which connected me to the attackers.</p><p dir="ltr">I quit my job in 2009 to continue my studies. I left Egypt, carrying with me a heavy emotional burden because of my work. I loathed the same old repeated sectarian attacks, and I hated how they always ended the same way, with no justice given to the victims. As a result, I started drifting away from all of the religious practices that I used to perform, which connected me to the attackers. I started to lose connection to my religious feelings. I grew weary of the calls and interviews describing the sabotage and burning of churches, and the expulsion of Baha’is from their village. </p><p dir="ltr">Nonetheless, I returned to Egypt after the revolution, and worked at <a href="http://nazra.org/terms/whrd" target="_blank">Nazra for Feminist Studies</a>, where I started the first women human rights defense program in the MENA region. I felt revived and I remember the passion I—along with the entire civil community in Egypt—had when starting on a new file. I shared many moments of joy, hope, and pain with a team with whom I was honored to work. </p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/SallemJune.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Flickr/Gigi Ibrahim (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">"I returned to Egypt after the revolution, and worked at Nazra for Feminist Studies, where I started the first women human rights defense program in the MENA region." </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">However, the work soon started to take on another direction, driven by feelings of guilt and insufficient working hours to deal with the violations human rights defenders face. The privileges we carried turned into a guilt that should be atoned by continuing to work, and because of pressure from management, we dismissed any aspect of personal life, be it health or giving adequate time and efforts to family and friends. Overworked and overwhelmed, I soon lost my ability and appetite to work in such a poisonous atmosphere, and I decided to quit. I still feel that I failed the team I worked with, on a professional and personal level. I neither had enough tools nor adequate knowledge to enable us to overcome the testimonies we heard, and to protect ourselves from their influence on our mental state and personal lives. My only consolation is I did not continue in this harmful loop, which only keep escalating and accumulating. I left and many others left after me due to the same issues. </p><p dir="ltr">After that, I tried a new coping method: keeping a clear and wide distance from directly meeting &nbsp;the victims and survivors of human rights violations. But this also affected my work. I returned to EIPR, focusing on the “Transitional Justice” file. I thought that by working on this file, I would not have to listen to people talking about their painful experiences. But summer 2013 with its waves of <a href="https://eipr.org/publications/اسابيع-القتل" target="_blank">state violence and sectarian attacks</a> did not give much leeway to anyone. </p><p dir="ltr">Initially I refused to accept what was happening—denial and detachment are coping mechanisms, after all. I was in so much denial that I attended a wedding party to pretend that I was not living through such deadly events. Now I cannot really decide whether the documentation I did was adequate or whether my fear of the pain of what I would hear affected the quality of my work. I could not bring myself to go to the streets, with my colleagues, to document the violent events in real time. I was satisfied with the information I got through phone calls. This attitude was not derived from laziness, or an inability to reach people and meet with or interview them, but it came from fear of empathizing too much, and feeling too much pain, as had happened before. </p><p dir="ltr">I envy those who are in the “human rights” field and look at it strictly as a career, or subject of study and academic work. I am quite certain that this kind of person suffers less, and would have a better ability to endure and continue in this line of work. As for me, I cannot detach myself from my work, emotionally and psychologically. Perhaps that is why I still try to distance myself from documenting the testimonies of victims and survivors. </p><p dir="ltr">A few months ago, I met one of my colleagues to discuss our joint work, but ultimately we could not do it because of the effect of her work and her need to recover from it. This was the other end of the spectrum: being too traumatized to do good work. Where is the middle ground?</p><p>I do not have answers yet, but I do have my own share of bad experiences that allow me to ask questions. I know that <a href="http://www.josaab.org/Arabic/HospicesServices.asp?smu=d11&amp;mmu=m4" target="_blank">others are also seeking answers</a>, in the hope that we can find a safe space to work without losing our human connection with what we do.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" border="0" alt="“Data" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/deepa-ranganathan-mar-d-az-ezquerro/making-our-movements-sustainable-practicing-holistic-security-ev">Making our movements sustainable: practicing holistic security every day</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/shena-cavallo-jocelyn-berger-michelle-truong/revolutions-are-built-on-hope-role-of-">Revolutions are built on hope: the role of funders in collective self-care</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meerim-ilyas-tatiana-cordero-vel-squez/collective-care-in-human-rights-funding-poli">Collective care in human rights funding: a political stand</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kristi-pinderi/when-advocacy-work-builds-resilience-everyone-benefits">When advocacy work builds resilience, everyone benefits</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/zelalem-kibret/ready-for-anything-how-preparation-can-improve-trauma-recovery">Ready for anything: how preparation can improve trauma recovery</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/holly-davis-magda-adamowicz/security-and-well-being-two-sides-of-same-coin">Security and well-being: two sides of the same coin</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate">Turning weakness into strength: lessons as a new advocate</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sam-dubberley/when-watching-violence-is-your-job-workers-on-digital-frontline">When watching violence is your job: workers on the digital frontline</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Yara Sallam Middle East & North Africa Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Tue, 20 Jun 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Yara Sallam 111748 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Making our movements sustainable: practicing holistic security every day https://www.opendemocracy.net/deepa-ranganathan-mar-d-az-ezquerro/making-our-movements-sustainable-practicing-holistic-security-ev <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 10.13.53 PM.png" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">What does holistic security and collective self-care in human rights work look like on a day-to-day basis? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank">mental health and human rights</a>. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mar-d-az-ezquerro-deepa-ranganathan" target="_blank">العربية</a>. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mar-d-az-ezquerro-deepa-ranganathan/rendre-nos-mouvements-durables-pratiquer-la-s-c" target="_blank">Français</a>. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mar-d-az-ezquerro-deepa-ranganathan/haciendo-sostenibles-nuestros-movimientos-pract" target="_blank">Español</a>.</strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">As Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) operating from different cultures, contexts and political environments, our strategies are also diverse and constantly in flux. Our work can be dangerous, difficult and subject to punitive action, simply due to the fact that we exist or organize as a young human rights group or collective. Some of us are members of LGBTQI* groups who can never openly admit these identities. Some of us are lawyers who listen to cases of human rights violations that require an empathetic ear and complete confidentiality. Some of us are resource mobilizers who need to navigate the politics of money. Some of us are artists writing songs, painting walls, performing poetries and singing lyrics that challenge oppressive structures.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">In the fight to defend human rights and make sure justice is accessible and attainable to everyone, we risk our physical and psychological well-being. </p><p dir="ltr">In the fight to defend human rights and make sure justice is accessible and attainable to everyone, we risk our physical and psychological well-being. Indeed, physical attacks on &nbsp;WHRDs are not a new phenomenon and have increased in recent years, according to the 2012<a href="http://defendingwomen-defendingrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/WHRD_IC_Global-Report_2012.pdf" target="_blank"> Global Report on the Situation of WHRDs</a>. And, according to the recently published research, <a href="http://youngfeministfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/frida-awid_young_feminist_organizing_research.pdf" target="_blank">‘Brave, Creative, Resilient: The Global State of Young Feminist Organizing’</a>, produced jointly by AWID's Young Feminist Program and FRIDA, 44% of young feminists said they felt threatened or unsafe because of the work they do. Fifty-four per cent of them have identified extremist or fundamentalist religious groups as the biggest threat to their everyday activism. The rise of fundamentalism, militarism, democracy crises, neoliberalism and globalization overlap the contexts where WHRDs work. This has resulted in an alarming increase of attacks and threats against us. There are thousands of young feminist activists who are at serious risk or have been subjected to different forms of physical, psychological and online violence. &nbsp;</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Screen Shot 2017-06-14 at 8.17.11 PM.png" width="444" /> <br />Photo credit: Deepa Ranganathan </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">In 2016 at the 13th AWID Forum held in Bahia, Brazil, a canvas was dedicated to WHRDs who lost their lives. Participants signed the wall with parting messages as a tribute. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">In this volatile and challenging global context, holistic security is a political strategy that contributes to the preservation and sustainability of feminist movements. To understand holistic security, one needs to be mindful of the social, political, economic, environmental and other systemic factors that provoke and reproduce inequality, violence and patriarchal attitudes and practices. Holistic security recognizes the specific gendered nature of violence, which can manifest itself on the physical, emotional and psychological level, takes into account the way public and private spheres interact with each other and offers a complete self care solution in continuum that serves to counter that. It also contextualises our needs, privileges and risks.</p><p dir="ltr">Self-care is a security mechanism that can help WHRDs cope with physical and digital risks and prevent burnout and vulnerabilities at an early stage of our roles as activists. At its core, self-care challenges the patriarchal vision of women as carers of the family and community, at the cost of undermining our own sanity and health. Often, self-care is only related to the individual level. But it cannot be separated from the collective well-being within our organizations, shared efforts, and movements. Collective self-care, as an essential part of integrated security, is a feminist act of resistance and resilience that contributes to transformative social change and strengthens the sustainability of our work.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Picture2.png" width="444" /> <br />Words by Maryam Alkhawaja, Urgent Action Fund's board member. Art by @mosaiceye. Original Insta post by @urgentactionfund. </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">Urgent Action Fund recently launched an Instagram feed dedicated entirely to posting about self-care and well-being. "As a human rights defender, you are not just putting yourself at risk. You put everyone you love at risk. Your family, your relatives, your friends, your colleagues." </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">At FRIDA, some of the young feminist groups that form a part of our community often include self-care as part of their work strategy. As many of them work on eradicating different forms of violence, it is necessary to take frequent breaks from all intense workshops and sessions. Often, at global and regional gatherings that we organize with our grantee partners, staff and advisors, we start with positive affirmations for each other, hold hands, offer hugs, and do rituals and breathing exercises together. These tools are an essential part of our convening/meeting methodology. In addition, we always carve out safe spaces during meetings for self-care sessions, such as stress management, feminist self-defense, eating, dancing, and practising collective yoga. Resorting to breaks and taking concrete steps to care for each other becomes especially important for us, as a global organization that only gathers everyone together in the same space about twice a year.</p><p dir="ltr">At an organizational level, we regularly build and reconstruct our politics and collective self-care practices. We prioritize holistic security in our internal policies and translate it into actions. &nbsp;<a href="http://youngfeministfund.org/2016/09/fridas-working-style-and-principles/" target="_blank">As a team working from different time zones</a>, we always try to find online and in-person spaces that are safe and dedicated to team building and collective reflections. &nbsp;Our weekly team meetings begin with casual check-ins talking about everything except work, before jumping into any strategizing or planning: what did we cook, what shoes are we wearing, what song are we humming today. To verbalise such seemingly insignificant things has become a welcome breather and has had a huge impact on our mental well-being. It makes us feel closer to each other, despite being miles apart and playing diverse roles. In fact, last year, our team co-wrote <a href="http://youngfeministfund.org/2016/10/practising-individual-and-collective-self-care-at-frida/" target="_blank">this blog post</a> about some of our own practices for individual and collective self care. It was the first collaborative piece for our team and it was fitting that it was about self care and well-being.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;Fighting for human rights is an everyday task for many of us and our interaction happens both on the field and off it. Either way, it could be an isolating and thankless experience. In such situations, to know that your team has got your back matters a great deal. To stay motivated every single day to continue our fight can sometimes be a daunting task. That is why we must often seek support and solidarity from our peers and other fellow feminists around us, to make sure we are never isolated. To take care of our mental well-being is necessary to be able to contribute to the movement fully.</p><p dir="ltr">As WHRDs, we must lead the way in ensuring holistic security as part of our work. As young feminist leaders, we must resist falling into the trap of replicating the systems we challenge in organizations and movements. This can lead to exhaustion of members, unequal power dynamics, eventually contributing to an unbalanced and unhealthy work environment. It is important to incorporate comprehensive self-care policies in our organizations, and ensure resources are available for us to be able to promote this culture of feminist collective well-being in our movements. &nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" border="0" alt="“Data" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/shena-cavallo-jocelyn-berger-michelle-truong/revolutions-are-built-on-hope-role-of-">Revolutions are built on hope: the role of funders in collective self-care</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meerim-ilyas-tatiana-cordero-vel-squez/collective-care-in-human-rights-funding-poli">Collective care in human rights funding: a political stand</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kristi-pinderi/when-advocacy-work-builds-resilience-everyone-benefits">When advocacy work builds resilience, everyone benefits</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/zelalem-kibret/ready-for-anything-how-preparation-can-improve-trauma-recovery">Ready for anything: how preparation can improve trauma recovery</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/holly-davis-magda-adamowicz/security-and-well-being-two-sides-of-same-coin">Security and well-being: two sides of the same coin</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate">Turning weakness into strength: lessons as a new advocate</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sam-dubberley/when-watching-violence-is-your-job-workers-on-digital-frontline">When watching violence is your job: workers on the digital frontline</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights María Díaz Ezquerro Deepa Ranganathan Global Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Thu, 15 Jun 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Deepa Ranganathan and María Díaz Ezquerro 111675 at https://www.opendemocracy.net A levy in the African Union could be a step towards independence https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/amandine-rushenguziminega/levy-in-african-union-could-be-step-towards-independence <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/RushenguziminegaJune.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">A new levy in the African Union could lead to more financial independence—but who is funding human rights? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/funding-for-human-rights" target="_blank">funding for human rights.</a>&nbsp;<strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/amandine-rushenguziminega/au-sein-de-l-union-africaine-une-taxe-pourrait-marquer-un" target="_blank">Français</a></em></strong>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Many scholars and critics have commented on the African Union’s (AU) financial dependence on external partners. As <a target="_blank" href="https://www.pambazuka.org/governance/au%E2%80%99s-dependency-donors-big-shame">Oyoo Sungu</a> said: “The AU has the bark of a bulldog, and the bite of a poodle. This is because it’s yet to become independent financially—and ultimately, politically.” Who really owns the AU agenda and, more importantly, its human rights institutions, such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (<a target="_blank" href="http://www.achpr.org/">ACHPR</a>), the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (<a target="_blank" href="http://en.african-court.org/">AfCHPR</a>), and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (<a target="_blank" href="http://www.acerwc.org/">ACERWC</a>)?<br class="kix-line-break" /></p><p dir="ltr">While human rights institutions receive operational money from the AU, they receive very little funding for their programs. For example, for the <a target="_blank" href="https://au.int/web/sites/default/files/decisions/9664-assembly_au_dec_569_-_587_xxiv_e.pdf">2016 budget</a> for the AfCHPR, the operating budget was financed by Member States while the program budget was 100% funded by donor partners.</p><p dir="ltr">To combat this issue, in 2011 former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo proposed to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/selemani-kinyunyu/tax-on-texting-getting-creative-with-funding-human-rights-in-afri">raise money through taxes</a> on airline tickets, text messages and hotel stays. However, countries whose main income derived from tourism <a target="_blank" href="http://www.newzimbabwe.com/news-20271-Tax+to+fund+African+Union+on+the+cards/news.aspx">criticized</a> the proposal for focusing on the tourism sector while ignoring the oil and mineral sectors. Since then, the AU has made several decisions to move closer to financial independence. For example, during the January 2015 Heads of State and Government Summit, leaders made decisions on the <a target="_blank" href="https://au.int/web/sites/default/files/decisions/9665-assembly_au_dec_546_-_568_xxiv_e.pdf">report of alternative sources of financing</a> the African Union and highlighted the need for an appropriate scale of assessment for Member States’ contributions. In the end, the leaders decided that: a) Member States would fund the operational budget at 100%; b) Member States would fund the program budget at 75%;
c) Member States would fund the Peace support the operations budget at 25%.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">The dependence on external partners—and the failure of states to pay their dues—only reinforces the image of the AU as a weak institution.</p><p dir="ltr">Also, the July 2016 <a target="_blank" href="https://au.int/web/sites/default/files/decisions/31274-assembly_au_dec_605-620_xxvii_e.pdf">Heads of State and Government Summit</a> gave practical decisions on the way forward. They took note of Dr. Donald Kaberuka’s report (former President of the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.afdb.org/en/">African Development Bank [AfDB])</a> and appointed him as High Representative for the <a target="_blank" href="https://au.int/web/en/peace-fund">AU Peace Fund,</a> which is meant to fund mediation and preventive diplomacy, institutional capacity and peace support operations. They also <a target="_blank" href="https://au.int/web/sites/default/files/decisions/31274-assembly_au_dec_605-620_xxvii_e.pdf">entrusted H.E. Paul Kagame</a>, President of the Republic of Rwanda, to prepare a report on the institutional reform of the AU. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.gsdpp.uct.ac.za/sites/default/files/image_tool/images/78/News/FInal%20AU%20Reform%20Combined%20report_28012017.pdf">The report</a>, among other things, reminded African Member States that only 25 out of 54 of them had paid their assessment for the financial year 2016 in full.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The dependence on external partners—and the failure of states to pay their dues—only reinforces the image of the AU as a weak institution that doesn’t set its own programmatic agenda. Among other things, Kagame’s report recommends that the current scale of assessment for Member States should be revised based on other criteria such as the ability to pay, solidarity, and equitable burden sharing. But most importantly, he proposed that the penalties for Member States for failure to fulfill their contribution obligations should be revised and tightened.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">It is not surprising, then, to see <a target="_blank" href="http://allafrica.com/stories/201702220043.html">Rwanda</a> leading the implementation of the new 0.2% levy on imported goods to finance the Union. In February 2017, Members of the Rwandan Parliament approved a Bill, which, if enacted into law, will help the Rwandan Government to raise Rwf 1.5 billion per year to sponsor AU affairs. If the other 54 African Member State do the same, the potential for self-funding is significant.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Nonetheless, it is still not completely clear where this 0.2% levy fund will be attributed. The 2016 <a target="_blank" href="https://au.int/web/sites/default/files/pages/31902-file-guidelines20english2028129.pdf">Guidelines</a> explain that the 0.2% will be instituted to finance the 100% Operational budget of the AU, the 75% Program budget, 25% of Peace Support Operations (PSOs) and the Peace Fund. Yet human rights institutions are completely left out of the picture. Although 75% of programs will be covered by the levy, nothing is mentioned about the ACHPR, the AfCHPR or the ACERWC. <a target="_blank" href="https://au.int/web/en/program-budget">The explanation</a> instead highlights the need of funds for political or social emergencies such as Ebola, climate change and migration issues. While those are highly important topics and need specific responses from African Member States, the continental human rights institutions also need to be reinforced. </p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"><img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/RushenguziminegaJune.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br /> Flickr/GovernmentZA (Some Rights Reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">During the July 2016 Summit, the leaders declared the next ten years as “the Human and Peoples’ Rights Decade in Africa”. Three AU human rights institutions are developing the African Human Rights Action and Implementation Plan 2017-26. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Most importantly, during the July 2016 Summit, <a target="_blank" href="https://au.int/web/sites/default/files/decisions/31274-assembly_au_dec_605-620_xxvii_e.pdf">the leaders declared</a> the next ten years as “the Human and Peoples’ Rights Decade in Africa”. The three key AU human rights institutions, along with the <a target="_blank" href="http://lawyersofafrica.org/">Pan African Lawyers’ Union (PALU)</a>, are in the process of developing the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.africanhuriplan.org/">African Human Rights Action and Implementation Plan 2017-26</a>. But the question remains, where will the money come from to develop this Action Plan, and how can we be sure that enough funds will be dedicated to its implementation?</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;Having the programmatic budget of human rights institutions funded by external partners leads to a crippling lack of flexibility in the AU. The donor-led situation makes it difficult for the AU to own and decide which kind of programs/areas should be prioritized or not, leading to the crucial question of priorities for Africa. While peace and security on the continent is a prerequisite to economic growth and social development, and to the right of African citizens to leave in peace and dignity, we often forget that human rights violations are usually the first step in a chain of events that end up in violence and conflict. Therefore, promoting and protecting human and peoples’ rights is the first step in ensuring democracy, governance and peace and security. Human rights violations can come from different corners, such as corruption, illicit financial flows, trafficking, and money laundering. Investing in human rights is investing in the general economic and social growth of the continent. For example, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tanaforum.org/y-file-store/Tana_2017/tana_2017_theme_infographics-1.pdf">Africa</a> owns 12% of global oil reserves, 8% of global natural gas, approximately 30% of global mineral reserves and 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land, which is 60% of the global total. But the continent has weak international negotiating power with external partners and more importantly, weak protection of rights of Africans when being forcibly evicted from lands. Human rights are part of a much bigger picture, and the current situation makes Africa grow at a slower pace than it should be.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Although Africa has the most comprehensively developed human rights framework in the world, covering the rights of humans in general but also defining peoples, women, disabled and children’s rights, African Member States are making very little effort to ratify the relevant AU legal instruments and in contributing to the development of human rights on the continent. Words are being spoken but actions are missing. The AU needs to put more focus and funds into financing its human rights institutions, creating both credibility and results.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/funding-for-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_2.png'" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_1.png'"> <img src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Funding for human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/amanda-fazano/exploring-new-possibilities-beyond-foreign-funding-in-brazil">Exploring new possibilities beyond foreign funding in Brazil</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow-jos-kaire-and-james-ron/monetizing-human-rights-brand">Monetizing the human rights “brand”</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-jos-kaire/ordinary-people-will-pay-for-rights-we-asked-them">Ordinary people will pay for rights. We asked them</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/maina-kiai/from-funding-projects-to-funding-struggles-reimagining-role-of-donors">From funding projects to funding struggles: Reimagining the role of donors</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lotta-teale/how-to-pay-for-legal-empowerment-alternative-structures-and-sources">How to pay for legal empowerment: alternative structures and sources</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/burkhard-gn-rig/old-world-of-civic-participation-is-being-replaced">The old world of civic participation is being replaced</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/edwin-rekosh/to-preserve-human-rights-organizational-models-must-change">To preserve human rights, organizational models must change</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Amandine Rushenguziminega Sub-Saharan Africa Middle East & North Africa Funding for Human Rights Wed, 14 Jun 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Amandine Rushenguziminega 111654 at https://www.opendemocracy.net ‘If I lose my freedom’: preemptive resistance to forced confessions in China https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/michael-caster/if-i-lose-my-freedom-preemptive-resistance-to-forced-confessions-in- <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/CasterJune.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">Human rights defenders in China are increasingly using pre-recorded statements to control narratives to protect themselves against forced confessions. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/michael-caster-0" target="_blank">简体中文.&nbsp;</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">On May 3, 2017 security forces in Southern China abducted human rights lawyer Chen Jiangang and drove him over 3,000 kilometres back to Beijing. He remained in their custody for over 80 hours, missing the trial of his client, Xie Yang, whose torture he had <a target="_blank" href="https://chinachange.org/2017/01/19/transcript-of-interviews-with-lawyer-xie-yang-1/">exposed</a> in January.</p><p dir="ltr">At his trial, Xie Yang “admitted” to having been brainwashed by foreign agents, and on Hunan state TV repeated that he had sensationalised cases and denied having been tortured. But Xie Yang had anticipated this forced confession.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“If, one day in the future, I do confess—whether in writing or on camera or on tape—that will not be the true expression of my own mind."</p><p dir="ltr">Xie, detained in July 2015, wrote in a <a target="_blank" href="https://chinachange.org/2017/03/07/xie-yangs-handwritten-statement-on-january-13-2017/">January 2017 affidavit</a>: “If, one day in the future, I do confess—whether in writing or on camera or on tape—that will not be the true expression of my own mind. It may be because I've been subjected to prolonged torture, or because I've been offered the chance to be released on bail…”. Soon after his trial, Xie was released on bail, but he <a target="_blank" href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/05/china-human-rights-lawyer-released-on-bail-amid-relentless-crackdown/">remains under constant surveillance</a>. &nbsp;Speaking to Radio Free Asia, his wife, Chen Guiqiu, who escaped to the United States with their two daughters, <a target="_blank" href="https://chinachange.org/2017/03/07/xie-yangs-handwritten-statement-on-january-13-2017/">put it bluntly</a>, “They are pretending to set him free. It's a joke; I want to make that very clear. He must be under unimaginable pressure.”</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/CasterJune.jpg" width="444" /> <br />By Chris McKenna (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">In his televised “confession,” Gui, a Swedish citizen, asked not to receive diplomatic assistance and renounced his Swedish citizenship. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">It seems that the police abducted Chen Jiangang to ensure his silence during Xie’s trial, but as soon as he was taken, reasonable fears circulated that he would be “disappeared”. Like Xie, Chen’s understanding of the cruelty of China’s police state bred prescience. Three months earlier he had recorded a video statement to be released if he lost freedom. It was published on the <a target="_blank" href="https://chinachange.org/2017/05/03/breaking-lawyer-chen-jiangang-with-family-and-two-friends-seized-by-armed-police-in-yunnan/">China Change website</a> soon after he was taken.</p><p dir="ltr">In the sombre five-minute video, Chen states that he has committed no crimes and would not accuse others. He states that any spoken, written, or video confession would only have been made under duress, threat or torture. He also asks for forgiveness if in the future he ends up on television accusing others or revealing names. Emotionally, he ends with, “If I am seized, dear kids, your father loves you. If I lose my freedom, release this video.”</p><p dir="ltr">While such pre-recorded statements are becoming more common for human rights defenders in China, others can learn from those like Chen Jiangang that protection also involves controlling narratives. Such statements are an important innovation in protection tactics in response to China’s increasing use of disappearances and forced confessions.</p><p dir="ltr">Forced confessions clearly violate Chinese law and international norms. For those awaiting trial, broadcasting forced confessions violates their right to a fair trial. Many forced confessions come following hundreds of days in pre-trial detention, which itself should be the exception, never the rule, and only for the shortest time necessary. The risk of torture is high in a criminal justice system reliant on confessions, while the pursuit of forced confessions drastically increases the risk. Victims of enforced disappearance and secret detention are especially vulnerable to torture.</p><p dir="ltr">Emblematic is the case of my friend and former colleague, lawyer <a target="_blank" href="https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/12/09/times-china-must-release-imprisoned-lawyer-wang-quanzhang/">Wang Quanzhang</a>, whose exact fate and whereabouts have not been verified since police abducted him in August 2015. In January 2017, it was revealed that he had been tortured. Likely, Wang’s ongoing abuse is due to his refusal to perform a forced confession.</p><p dir="ltr">Following the “<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2016/07/one-year-since-chinas-crackdown-on-human-rights-lawyers/">709 Crackdown</a>”—a sweep by Chinese authorities that began on July 9, 2015 and resulted in nearly 300 lawyers and activists being questioned, detained or charged—several prominent human rights lawyers have been forced to deliver televised confessions. These include <a target="_blank" href="http://www.smh.com.au/world/a-confession-few-believe-chinese-rights-lawyer-wang-yus-is-freed-20160801-gqipos.html">Wang Yu</a>, parts of whose “confession” were so flagrantly similar to China’s then recent denouncement of a Hague Tribunal decision on the South China Sea that nobody questioned who had designed her “confession.” It also includes Zhang Kai, who later disappeared a second time after he publicly recanted his initial “confession.” A couple of months before Zhang’s disappearance, in June 2016, Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing Kee also revealed that he and his colleagues at Mighty Current publishing had been forced into confessing, including <a target="_blank" href="https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/10/17/the-last-missing-bookseller-one-year-on-the-anniversary-of-gui-minhais-abduction-demands-action/">Gui Minhai</a>, a Swedish citizen, who remains incommunicado.</p><p dir="ltr">In his televised “confession,” Gui asked not to receive diplomatic assistance and renounced his Swedish citizenship. This was rightly dismissed as arising from coercion but what if Gui, like Chen Jiangang, had left a video preemptively dismissing such absurdity? For many who disappear into China’s Orwellian darkness, and re-emerge to “confess”, their last credible speech act may be what they leave with others, which in turn may offer some protection.</p><p dir="ltr">Contentious politics scholar <a target="_blank" href="https://books.google.ca/books/about/Comparative_Perspectives_on_Social_Movem.html?id=8UamWMisjtkC">Doug McAdam</a>, and others, have identified the dramatisation of glaring state contradictions as creating opportunity for resistance. In terms of practical protection for rights defenders in hostile environments such as China, if preventive measures against certain forms of repression are increasingly adopted, the authorities are more likely to abandon them, ultimately protecting human rights defenders from being subjected to them in the first place</p><p dir="ltr">Once taken, it is often too late to ask that person what assistance they want. Even if allowed to meet a lawyer, pressure often limits what one is able to say. This is why recording in advance is crucial. Gui Minhai, for example, could have expressed that he had already given up Chinese citizenship and would never renounce Swedish citizenship. For others it could be stating that they would never accept a state appointed lawyer. Some might want to issue a statement about family members, that except if subjected to threat or torture they would never deny access to the family bank account, a measure the state has used to target family members’ economic livelihood.</p><p dir="ltr">Video is more powerful than written statements, and rights defenders at risk of disappearance or forced confession should record their statements—after conducting a thorough threat assessment—rather than just writing them down.</p><p dir="ltr">It is, of course, a damning indictment of China’s war on the rule of law that human rights defenders need to think of preemptively recording their own defence against baseless charges and forced confessions. But if more human rights defenders did so then the power of these repressive measures could ultimately be lost through the unmasking of contradictions.&nbsp;</p><p>This piece was adapted from an article originally published <a target="_blank" href="https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/05/16/i-lose-freedom-chinas-human-rights-defenders-preemptively-resisting-forced-confessions/">here</a> on the Hong Kong Free Press.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href=" https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img width="140" src=" https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png " /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/aseem-prakash-nives-dol-ak/international-organizations-and-crisis-of-legitimacy">International organizations and the crisis of legitimacy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/yonatan-lupu/following-orders-how-expectations-might-reduce-human-rights-abuses">Following orders: how expectations might reduce human rights abuses</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/robert-precht/engagement-versus-endorsement-western-universities-in-china">Engagement versus endorsement: Western universities in China</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/jessica-m-wyndham-margaret-weigers-vitullo/why-right-to-science-matters-for-everyone">Why the right to science matters for everyone</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alicia-ely-yamin/speaking-truth-to-power-call-for-praxis-in-human-rights">“Speaking truth to power:” a call for praxis in human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/douglas-mathew-mawadri/fighting-stigma-protecting-mental-health-of-african-rights-a">Fighting stigma: protecting the mental health of African rights advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates">Evidence of trauma: the impact of human rights work on advocates</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Michael Caster East and South-East Asia Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Michael Caster 111611 at https://www.opendemocracy.net International organizations and the crisis of legitimacy https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/aseem-prakash-nives-dol-ak/international-organizations-and-crisis-of-legitimacy <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Dolsak and PrakashJune.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr"> When international organizations face legitimacy problems, they need to address governance issues, conflicts of interest, and poor leadership.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">In one of Donald Trump’s <a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/813500123053490176?lang=en">numerous tweets</a>, he wrote, “The United Nations has such great potential but right now it is just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!” While perhaps an oversimplification—and insulting to the many people who work there—Trump’s reference to the ineffectiveness of the UN echoed a frequent accusation that the organization has become a talk-prone organization that accomplishes little. In addition, just this week, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-warns-it-may-pull-out-of-un-human-rights-body-over-abuses-treatment-of-israel/2017/06/06/3a42b78e-4a9b-11e7-9669-250d0b15f83b_story.html?utm_term=.9468ced744b8&amp;wpisrc=nl_most&amp;wpmm=1">the Trump administration announced</a> that it may pull out of the UN Human Rights Council, accusing the UN body of shielding regimes that it should be condemning.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">There are three additional issues that international organizations confront if they want to enhance legitimacy and trust: governance issues, conflicts of interest and poor leadership.</p><div>There is considerable scholarship examining the effectiveness of international organizations across issue areas including <a target="_blank" href="file:///C:\Users\Alexander%20Prakash\Downloads\Hafner-Burton,%20E.%20M.%20(2008).%20Sticks%20and%20stones:%20Naming%20and%20shaming%20the%20human%20rights%20enforcement%20problem.%20International%20Organization,%2062(04),%20689-716">human rights</a>, <a target="_blank" href="file:///C:\Users\Alexander%20Prakash\Downloads\Rose,%20Andrew%20K.%20%22Do%20we%20really%20know%20that%20the%20WTO%20increases%20trade%3f.%22%20The%20American%20Economic%20Review%2094.1%20(2004):%2098-114">trade</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.routledge.com/International-Organizations-in-Global-Environmental-Governance/Biermann-Siebenhuner-Schreyogg/p/book/9780415469258">environmental protection</a>, and <a target="_blank" href="http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/yhurdvl7&amp;div=4&amp;id=&amp;page=">labor rights</a>—some positive, and some not. There are several reasons why such organizations are sometimes not perceived as functioning effectively and efficiently. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/S002081839944086X">Scholars</a> note that these organizations get afflicted by specific pathologies that make them bureaucratic and unresponsive to the needs of their stakeholders. Others find that this bureaucratic model fosters <a target="_blank" href="file:///C:\Users\Alexander%20Prakash\Downloads\Dahl,%20Robert%20A.%20%22Can%20International%20Organizations%20be%20Democratic%3f%20A%20Skeptic’s%20View.%22%20The%20Cosmopolitanism%20Reader%20(2010):%20423">democracy deficits</a>. &nbsp;The <a target="_blank" href="file:///C:\Users\Alexander%20Prakash\Downloads\Zürn,%20Michael.%20%22Democratic%20governance%20beyond%20the%20nation-state:%20The%20EU%20and%20other%20international%20institutions.%22%20European%20Journal%20of%20International%20Relations%206.2%20(2000):%20183-221">European Union</a>, in particular, has been subjected to this criticism because of the relatively <a target="_blank" href="http://limudbchevruta.wiki.huji.ac.il/images/Rohrschneider_AJPS_(HLM_-_applied).pdf">weak role of the</a> European Parliament, the only body with the EU system that is directly elected by the people, and the power vested in the <a target="_blank" href="http://homes.ieu.edu.tr/aburgin/IREU%20426%20Governance%20of%20the%20EU/Follesdal_Hix_Why%20there%20is%20a%20democratic%20deficit_S2_Spring2010.pdf">European Commission</a>, an unelected bureaucracy, to initiate legislations</div><p dir="ltr">But there are three additional issues that international organizations confront if they want to enhance legitimacy and trust: governance issues, conflicts of interest and poor leadership.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Governance and Oversight failures</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Multilateral organizations are often accused of being poorly managed, and spending far too much on overhead costs, instead of on specific initiatives that solve problems. &nbsp;For example, a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/whos-annual-travel-budget-200-million/2017/05/21/342f0a62-3e7c-11e7-adba-394ee67a7582_story.html?utm_term=.06ee4c370681">recent exposé</a> suggests that the WHO spends about $200 million on travel. Compare this to money it spent of specific programs in 2015: $71 million to AIDS and hepatitis and $61 million to malaria and $59 million to tuberculosis.</p><p dir="ltr">The same report criticizes the WHO’s director-general, Dr. Margaret Chan, for traveling overseas in first class. In addition, during her travel to Guinea to celebrate the world’s first Ebola vaccine, she stayed in a hotel suite with an advertised price of $1,008 per night (this is twice the per capita income of Guinea, which stands at about $532).</p><p dir="ltr">Apart from overhead costs and wastage, these sorts of expenditures signal that leaders of these organizations are divorced from the realities that ordinary people face and do not use organizational resources to serve the organizational mission. This is a critical issue because some academics and policymakers portray international organizations as pillars of the emerging “<a target="_blank" href="http://www.ir.rochelleterman.com/sites/default/files/meyerbolietal1997.pdf">world society</a>.” For them, these organizations transmit global norms that support human rights, environmental protection, and so on. Some go even further by claiming that international organizations serve as “<a target="_blank" href="https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5f73/f738c870e29cb2c376150196aac2ad18b840.pdf">teachers</a>” for national governments. Hence, even when a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.globalpolicy.org/un-finance/48642-us-ignored-un-aid-agencys-fraud-and-mismangement-.html">handful of these organizations</a> are faced of accusations of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/22/thousands-of-refugees-left-in-cold-as-un-and-eu-accused-of-mismanagement">mismanagement</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/05/28/world-food-program-badly-mismanaged-special-donor-trust-funds-auditors-say.html">hypocrisy</a>, it potentially creates negative <a target="_blank" href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-un-mismanagement-idUSKCN0WK2VV">reputational spillovers</a> for all. This undermines the legitimacy of such organizations, raises questions about their abilities and motivations to help solve global problems, and creates an impression that these organizations serve as clubs of the well connected.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Conflict of Interest</strong></p><p dir="ltr">The Trump administration is often criticized for packing regulatory agencies with industry lobbyists. The logic underlying this criticism is that some actors, by virtue of their background or past experience, do not have the credibility or incentives to effectively perform regulatory roles. With such actors in leadership positions, the legitimacy of the organization to pursue its goals probably is undermined. International organizations can also suffer from these issues.</p><p dir="ltr">Of course, an obvious recent case is the WHO’s decision to declare H1N1 as a pandemic. Reports suggest that experts who advised the WHO to declare H1N1 a global pandemic had significant <a target="_blank" href="http://www.bmj.com/content/340/bmj.c2912">conflicts of interest</a>, namely that they had close financial ties with pharmaceutical companies that manufactured the H1N1 vaccines.</p><p dir="ltr">However, there seems to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.commentarymagazine.com/articles/how-corrupt-is-the-united-nations/">be a history, at least in UN, to these sorts of episodes involving allegations of corrupt practices</a>, such as the Oil-for-Food relief program in Iraq (in the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/impact-un-oil-food-scandal">Volcker Report</a>), the misappropriation of UN funds earmarked for tsunami relief in Indonesia, and the corrupt practices of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s son Kojo, who allegedly secured financial rewards from UN contractors.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Dolsak and PrakashJune.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Flickr/Isriya Paireepairit (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">Even when a handful of these organizations are faced of accusations of mismanagement and hypocrisy, it potentially creates negative reputational spillovers for all.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Poor Leadership </strong></p><p dir="ltr">But there is a deeper problem, not necessarily related to issues of bureaucratic incompetence. This pertains to the questionable credentials of actors that are elected to lead these organizations. Efforts to recruit organizational leaders through a democratic process can lead to the election of highly problematic individuals. While these problems are often discussed in the context of domestic politics, it seems international organizations are not immune from it.</p><p dir="ltr">Consider the recent <a target="_blank" href="http://canadafreepress.com/article/u.n.-elects-genocidal-sudan-vice-chair-of-committee-on-ngos">election of Sudan</a> as Vice-Chair of the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, a standing committee of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that accredits and oversees human rights NGOs to the UN. Yet Sudan has a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2017/country-chapters/sudan">terrible human rights record</a>: the <a target="_blank" href="https://borgenproject.org/human-rights-violations/">Borgen Project</a> ranks it among the five worst countries in this regard. <a target="_blank" href="https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2015/sudan">Freedom House</a> gives it a score of 7 (0=best, 7=worst) on both Freedom rating, Political Rights, and Civil Liberties. Additionally, Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, has been indicted for human rights abuses by the International Criminal Court.</p><p dir="ltr">There are other instances where countries with problematic track records on specific issues are elected to important roles in a UN forum that oversees these issues. Saudi Arabia, for example, widely known for government sanctioned gender inequality, was appointed to the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/05/03/saudi-arabia-where-women-arent-allowed-to-drive-was-just-elected-to-the-u-n-womens-rights-commission/?utm_term=.74ab83586523">UN Commission on the Status of Women,</a> a body whose mission is to promote gender equality and empower women. With Sudan playing an important role in a UN human rights forum and Saudi Arabia in a UN gender rights forum, the legitimacy, and arguably the effectiveness, of the UN to act on these issues is undermined. These examples also damage the credibility of multilateral organizations during a time when the world arguably needs to strengthen such forums for multilateral action.</p><p dir="ltr">The problems facing the world are becoming more complex, and require cooperative solutions. If international organizations are to serve as effective instruments of global governance, they will need to be better managed and become more accountable. At the same time, they will need to adopt rules which lead to the selection of only those actors to leadership positions who embody the organization’s mission. &nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href=" https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src=" https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png " width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/yonatan-lupu/following-orders-how-expectations-might-reduce-human-rights-abuses">Following orders: how expectations might reduce human rights abuses</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/robert-precht/engagement-versus-endorsement-western-universities-in-china">Engagement versus endorsement: Western universities in China</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/jessica-m-wyndham-margaret-weigers-vitullo/why-right-to-science-matters-for-everyone">Why the right to science matters for everyone</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alicia-ely-yamin/speaking-truth-to-power-call-for-praxis-in-human-rights">“Speaking truth to power:” a call for praxis in human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/douglas-mathew-mawadri/fighting-stigma-protecting-mental-health-of-african-rights-a">Fighting stigma: protecting the mental health of African rights advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates">Evidence of trauma: the impact of human rights work on advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/luis-felipe-cruz-olivera/collapse-of-authority-violence-against-prisoners-in-latin-">The collapse of authority: violence against prisoners in Latin America</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Nives Dolšak Aseem Prakash Global Fri, 09 Jun 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Aseem Prakash and Nives Dolšak 111530 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Evicted rights in Spain: no room of one’s own https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/koldo-casla/eviction-rights-in-spain-no-room-of-one-s-own <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/no se vende_0.png" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Thousands of people are being evicted in Spain due to austerity measures, and women are disproportionately affected by structural inequality. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/debating-economic-and-social-rights" target="_blank">economic and social rights</a>. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/koldo-casla/desahucios-en-espa-sin-habitaci-n-propia" target="_blank">Español</a></em></strong>.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">If Virginia Woolf needed a room of her own to write fiction (and much more), Paula needs a place to call home to live her life and to raise her kids. But ineffective policies are blocking her at every turn. Paula is just one of thousands of women who cannot escape the trap of insecure housing after going through an eviction in Spain.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">More than 30,000 households&nbsp;were evicted from their rented homes last year alone.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.poderjudicial.es/cgpj/es/Temas/Estadistica-Judicial/Estudios-e-Informes/Efecto-de-la-Crisis-en-los-organos-judiciales/" target="_blank">More than 30,000 households</a> were evicted from their rented homes last year alone, as in the previous one, and the one before. The number of households evicted from mortgaged properties does not fall far behind.</p><p dir="ltr">Going through an eviction is a traumatic experience for everyone, but Amnesty International has <a href="https://www.es.amnesty.org/en-que-estamos/noticias/noticia/articulo/diez-anos-despues-del-inicio-de-la-crisis-las-autoridades-continuan-violando-el-derecho-a-la-viv/" target="_blank">documented</a> that women often experience it differently—and more frequently. Women are overrepresented in part-time jobs, find themselves at the lower end of the pay gap, and regularly bear domestic care duties. Single-parent families, which are predominantly headed by women (in <a href="http://www.inmujer.gob.es/estadisticas/consulta.do?area=2" target="_blank">more than eight out of ten cases</a>), often live in rental accommodations. <a href="http://www.ine.es/ss/Satellite?c=INESeccion_C&amp;p=1254735110672&amp;pagename=ProductosYServicios%2FPYSLayout&amp;cid=1259941637944&amp;L=1" target="_blank">Official statistics</a> show that these families also face higher than average rates of poverty, social exclusion and material deprivation.</p><p dir="ltr">Amnesty International interviewed 19 women and four men who either have gone through an eviction or are at risk of being evicted. At least seven of them complained that the judge had not enquired about their personal circumstances. “We did not get the chance to explain our situation to the judge,” said Ana. A female judge in Barcelona confirmed this problem, saying: “When we receive the eviction suit, we have absolutely no idea who lives there.”</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/no se vende_0.png" width="444" /> <br /> Amnesty International 2017 (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Despite some optimistic market and macroeconomic projections, the housing rights crisis in Spain is far from over.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p>Paula, a single mother of three and a survivor of gender-based violence, was evicted from a social apartment sold in 2013 by the Regional Housing Authority of Madrid to an investment trust, alongside nearly 3000 other properties. Relying on unstable part time work, bills piled up and Paula could not keep up with payments. It was not long before she received the eviction order. “My daughter left a note asking the new tenants to let us stay. My five-year-old son still asks when we are going back home.” At the time of this writing, Paula and her family are still waiting for an alternative housing solution from public authorities in Madrid.</p><p dir="ltr">Most women interviewed by Amnesty International reported that social services recommended people facing an eviction, including those with children, to move in with their parents, relatives or friends. Municipal social workers explained to us that this was necessary due to insufficient resources made available to them. Sometimes social services may recommend people to look for and rent a room in the private market, offering to cover the costs. However, this is not always a feasible alternative for single mothers and women with care responsibilities, and it is not adequate for children either.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/ai report cover (1).png" width="444" /> <br /> Amnesty International 2017 (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Given the largely insufficient public housing stock, even survivors of gender-based violence that are granted a restraining order are forced to wait for a long time without assurances.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Survivors of gender-based violence are even more exposed to the consequences of uncoordinated and poorly resourced housing policies and social services. Whilst the <a href="https://www.eurofound.europa.eu/observatories/eurwork/articles/new-gender-based-violence-law-has-workplace-implications" target="_blank">2004 Comprehensive Law on Gender-Based Violence</a> established that survivors should be treated as a priority group to access social housing, authorities in the Region of Madrid make this conditional upon a court conviction or a restraining order. This effectively means that most survivors of gender-based violence do not get the necessary support to satisfy their right to housing. It is encouraging to see that, only three weeks after the publication of Amnesty International’s report, the Government of the Region of Madrid has <a href="http://www.elmundo.es/madrid/2017/05/31/592ec021e2704ead738b45f8.html" target="_blank">announced</a> its intention to put an end to this restrictive policy. That said, given the largely insufficient public housing stock, even survivors of gender-based violence that are granted a restraining order are forced to wait for a long time without assurances, as in the case of Paula. What is supposed to be a protective measure becomes no more than an empty promise.</p><p>Housing is clearly not a priority for Spanish authorities. Spain’s central/federal public spending on housing and community amenities lies well below that of most OECD countries. The <a href="http://www.sepg.pap.minhap.gob.es/sitios/sepg/es-ES/Presupuestos/Estadisticas/Documents/2016/01%20Presupuestos%20Generales%20del%20Estado%20Consolidados.pdf" target="_blank">2016 federal budget</a> on access to housing and support for housing renovation was €587 million, less than 37% of the €1.6 billion allocated in 2009. The <a href="https://www.idealista.com/news/finanzas/economia/2017/04/04/745993-la-vivienda-solo-supone-10-centimos-de-cada-100-euros-de-gasto-de-los-presupuestos-de" target="_blank">2017 proposed budget</a>, soon to be formally approved in Parliament, reduces the allocation 20% more. Even considering the severe austerity imposed in the county, no other budget item experienced such a significant reduction during the economic crisis. In no other OECD-member country have house prices outpaced income as much as in Spain. Spain is also the EU Member State with the <a href="http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/documents/2995521/7747215/2-29112016-AP-EN.pdf/39954d6e-eb8a-4b1b-98db-ad1d801128aa" target="_blank">highest growth in personal housing expenditure</a> in the last decade.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite <a href="http://www.imf.org/external/country/ESP/" target="_blank">some optimistic market and macroeconomic projections</a>, the housing rights crisis in Spain is far from over. With the exceptions of the <a href="http://noticias.juridicas.com/base_datos/CCAA/555512-l-3-2015-de-18-jun-ca-pais-vasco-de-vivienda.html" target="_blank">Basque Country</a> and the <a href="http://www.dogv.gva.es/datos/2017/02/09/pdf/2017_1039.pdf" target="_blank">Region of Valencia</a>, Spanish laws do not recognize that housing is a human right. Existing policies both at the federal and the regional levels clearly lack the necessary gender perspective to address the structural inequalities too many women fight with every day. This would entail higher investment in social housing but also, among other things, requiring judges to assess the proportionality of an eviction on a case-by-case basis, and providing a comprehensive response to survivors of gender-based violence, in line with the <a href="http://www.coe.int/en/web/istanbul-convention/home" target="_blank">Istanbul Convention</a> of the Council of Europe.</p><p>Put bluntly, human rights are not worth the paper they are written on when thousands of women, men and children lack a place to call home.</p><p class="p1">**<i>Koldo Casla authored Amnesty International’s "</i><a href="https://www.es.amnesty.org/uploads/media/Inf.Vivienda_FIN2.pdf">The housing crisis is not over</a>"&nbsp;<i>report.</i></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/debating-economic-and-social-rights" target="_blank"> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Economic_Social_Inset_1.png" border="0" alt="Debating economic and social rights – Read on" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/sakiko-fukuda-parr/human-rights-are-not-losing-traction-in-global-south">Human rights are not losing traction in the global South</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/eric-posner/twilight-of-human-rights-law">The twilight of human rights law</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/steven-l-b-jensen/decolonization-not-western-liberals-established-human-rights-on-g">Decolonization—not western liberals—established human rights on the global agenda</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/stephen-hopgood/human-rights-past-their-sell-by-date">Human rights: past their sell-by date</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/samuel-moyn/human-rights-and-age-of-inequality">Human rights and the age of inequality</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/beth-simmons/twilight-or-dark-glasses-reply-to-eric-posner">Twilight or dark glasses? A reply to Eric Posner</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/wendy-h-wong/human-rights-aren%E2%80%99t-revolutionary-good">Human rights aren’t revolutionary? Good!</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Koldo Casla Western Europe Debating economic and social rights Wed, 07 Jun 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Koldo Casla 111447 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The moral hazards of conflating what is useful with what is right https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mythri-jayaraman/moral-hazards-of-conflating-what-is-useful-with-what-is-right <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/JayaramanJune.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>To suggest that we should only seek to understand perpetrators if it’s “useful” is contrary to the universality of human dignity. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/engaging-with-perpetrators-for-human-rights" target="_blank">engaging perpetrators</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">As a public defender, many of my clients have been the victims of police abuses, from being subjected to public humiliation to being shot—unarmed—by the police. In late 2015, while in the West Bank working with the International Legal Foundation and local Palestinian public defenders, part of my assignment was to attend roundtable meetings with representatives from the Palestinian Public Prosecution and the police force, among others. I had never engaged with police officers in this way, and the intimacy of understanding brought on by rounds of dialogue was initially disorienting. However, the local public defenders leading these meetings strove to understand the officers while never softening their stance against police abuses. These lawyers maintained that the officers, like our clients, had to be understood as a matter of principle. </p><p dir="ltr">The question of whether activists should engage by attempting to understand state perpetrators of violence is very different from the question of whether activists should engage by collaborating with them. It may be that, in the end, the answer to one is yes while the other is no. But to maintain a position that activists should not attempt to understand perpetrators of state violence is untenable from an activist perspective. As <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/rachel-wahl/working-with-enemy-pros-and-cons-of-collaborating-with-perpetrators">Rachel Wahl</a> eloquently puts it, “An irony persists when those who affirm universal human dignity cast some people as beyond understanding.” Understanding and engaging with security officers is useful, especially with the goal of disrupting groupthink and harmful norms. More important, however, is that engaging with such perpetrators is right. As human rights advocates we cannot hold anyone to be beyond worthy of understanding, even as we proclaim their actions to be so.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">Being a public defender means acknowledging the inherent dignity of every human being.</p><p dir="ltr">One concern that arises when public defenders and other human rights advocates engage with security sector organizations is that others may see it as a compromise. This could delegitimize human rights efforts in the eyes of the public at large, the loved ones of the victims, and—worst of all—the security organizations themselves. Presumably, one “moral hazard” is that we may end up diminishing criminal liability, undermining the prosecutions of such state perpetrators of violence, and ultimately excusing their violence as deterministically compelled.</p><p dir="ltr">While many people find such defenses distasteful in the context of civilian-on-civilian crimes, the idea that an entire security organization/police force could successfully deflect responsibility is even more frightening. One way to avoid this hazard is to distinguish between perpetrators’ reasons and the causes of their actions. This is the kind of work done by ethnographic interviews with police, such as in work by<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.com/Just-Violence-Torture-Stanford-Studies/dp/1503601013/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1494254435&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=rachel+wahl"> Rachel Wahl</a> and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.com/Evil-Men-James-Dawes/dp/0674416791/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1494254464&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=James+Dawes">James Dawes</a>, for example. By accepting that individual perpetrators have reasons for their behaviors, we are granting them the rational ability to reason—which is required for moral accountability and prosecution. We do not assume, however, that officers’ self-understanding explains or excuses their actions.</p><p dir="ltr"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/danielle-celermajer/navigating-minefield-of-working-with-perpetrators">Danielle Celermajer</a> makes a compelling argument for why it could be beneficial to collaborate with state perpetrators of violence. Rather than endorsing the pursuit of such collaboration, she suggests that if understanding such perpetrators allows the human rights community to stop these abuses, then we should pursue this understanding.&nbsp;</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/JayaramanJune.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/ Rusty Stewart (Some rights reserved). </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">If we in the human rights community see state security officers who do immoral things as similarly “other”, do we not simply become the next link?</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Respectfully, I would push us to go further. Being a public defender means acknowledging the inherent dignity of every human being—parents and priests, child soldiers and child molesters, police and pedophiles. We value human dignity for its own sake. To suggest that we should only seek to understand perpetrators if the data says it’s a good idea is contrary to the universality of human dignity.</p><p dir="ltr">There is no moral quandary—let alone moral hazard—in understanding the humanity (and therefore, the human reasons) of people who perpetrate crimes, while repudiating the crimes themselves.</p><p dir="ltr">As a public defender I have represented people who have been accused of, and have sometimes been guilty of, violent crimes—shootings, robberies, and murders. Many human rights activists are comfortable distinguishing these crimes from crimes perpetrated by official state actors because of the power differential between security officer perpetrators and their victims. This, perhaps, is one reason that these same human rights activists become uneasy when I discuss with them some of the other offenses of which my clients are accused—domestic violence, rape of children, and other crimes where the power differential is similar to that between state actors and civilians. </p><p dir="ltr">Perhaps this very repugnance can aid us in understanding perpetrators of violence, from my clients to state security personnel. Typically, such violence is perpetrated by people who perceive the victim as being completely “other”. In turn, the police who apprehend them see my clients as similarly completely “other”. &nbsp;Many sheriffs have asked me, “How can you defend that guy after what he did to that woman? &nbsp;How can you say that guy is still a human being after what he’s done? &nbsp;He’s a monster.” &nbsp;This “other-ness” allows the police to dehumanize my clients and engage in violent acts against them, with that same inability to empathize. In each link, this objectification seems to allow them to engage in otherwise unthinkable acts. Just as we see them (errant police officers) as an impediment to truth and justice, so in turn do they see my clients (their inmates)—as an impediment to a just society. </p><p dir="ltr">If we in the human rights community see state security officers who do immoral things as similarly “other”, do we not simply become the next link? When we cheer the punishment that some violent security/police officer has received for his immoral acts, without wondering for a moment about the loved ones he is leaving behind or his own well-being, aren’t we just as guilty of denying his humanity? This understanding does not mean that we should not prosecute and punish these perpetrators. Indeed, in the past ten years, Philadelphia police officers have fired their weapons at civilians 435 times; 103 of these times the shots were fatal. And not one of these officers was charged criminally. Understanding these officers does not require a subscription to some probabilistic determinism on their behalf. Rather, it means that these officers are credited with the same rational thinking that we allow others and they are held accountable for the actions that they rationally choose. </p><p dir="ltr">But why is it worthwhile to engage given the “risks”? A greater moral hazard exists in not engaging with and understanding perpetrators. &nbsp;By failing to engage, we simultaneously miss the opportunity to cement the perpetrators’ personal responsibility for their crimes and discredit our own work by failing to affirm the basic tenet of humanity in all. Human dignity cannot be selectively afforded. Doing so poses a greater moral dilemma than acknowledging the dignity of perpetrators and engaging with them.</p><p dir="ltr">If we could characterize our work as simply advocating for the underdog, we could work hard but sleep easy. True activism is uncomfortable. Should we seek to understand and engage with violent perpetrators and human rights abusers? Our belief in human dignity mandates that we must.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/engaging-with-perpetrators-for-human-rights" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Perps_inset_1.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Perps_inset_2.png'"><img width="140" alt="“Perpetrators" border="0" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Perps_inset_1.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/navaz-kotwal/engage-when-we-can-confront-when-we-must">Engage when we can, confront when we must</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/mahmood-monshipouri/why-engaging-with-perpetrators-isn-t-possible-in-iran-yet">Why engaging with perpetrators isn’t possible in Iran (yet)</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/danielle-celermajer/navigating-minefield-of-working-with-perpetrators">Navigating the minefield of working with perpetrators</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/james-dawes/to-understand-perpetrators-we-must-care-about-them">To understand perpetrators, we must care about them</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-wahl/working-with-enemy-pros-and-cons-of-collaborating-with-perpetrators">Working with the enemy: the pros and cons of collaborating with perpetrators</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kiran-grewal/to-change-torture-practices-we-must-change-entire-system">To change torture practices, we must change the entire system</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/christine-monaghan/accountability-versus-access-collaborating-with-rights-violators">Accountability versus access: collaborating with rights violators in conflict zones</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Mythri Jayaraman Global Engaging with Perpetrators in Human Rights Tue, 06 Jun 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Mythri Jayaraman 111393 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Revolutions are built on hope: the role of funders in collective self-care https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/shena-cavallo-jocelyn-berger-michelle-truong/revolutions-are-built-on-hope-role-of- <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Berger et. alMay.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Funder practices are vital to alleviate partner advocates’ stress, anxiety, and burnout from uncertainty or rigid requirements. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights">mental health and human rights</a>. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/jocelyn-berger-shena-cavallo-michelle-truong/las-revoluciones-se-construyen-partir-" target="_blank">Español</a></em></strong>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">What can activists do when traditional advocacy efforts are often deemed “subversive” or “undermining national interests”? Globally, we see space for civil society decreasing and government repression increasing—from Brazil to Egypt to India. At the <a href="http://www.iwhc.org" target="_blank">International Women’s Health Coalition</a>, we support feminist organizations advocating for the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of women and girls around the world. Among our partners, we’re seeing a rise in alternative approaches in response to these troubling global trends, and among them: collective self-care. </p><p dir="ltr">As social justice champions, collectivizing our struggles, including our self-care, exponentially ensures our survival and sustains our movements. This is especially crucial because the potential <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates" target="_blank">to feel despair, stress, anger, burnout, trauma and isolation increases</a> when working in oppressive contexts.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">In settings where human rights and social justice activists are subjected to intense repression, structural inequalities and threats, surviving is a major achievement.</p><p dir="ltr">One of our strategies to accomplish this is to explicitly structure our financial support to prioritize our partners’ autonomy. Grants should reflect the cost of doing business in the countries where our partners work, and organizations should not be forced to operate on a shoestring budget or make sacrifices that funders do not. Flexible funding is essential for partners who do advocacy work, because this funding allows them to be agile and respond to threats and opportunities as they emerge. Our grantmaking often provides partners with unrestricted funding that can be used towards institutional costs, such as salaries, professional development, rent, or digital security. This is an essential component of a <a href="http://thewhitmaninstitute.org/purpose/approach/" target="_blank">trust-based grantmaking strategy</a> that foregrounds partners’ freedom to allocate resources as they see fit, including covering costs not directly linked to specific activities or projects. When possible, we also provide our partners with long-term support and eliminate unnecessary bureaucratic burdens. These funder practices, in our organization and others, can help to alleviate partners’ stress, anxiety, and burnout from uncertainty or rigid requirements, freeing up time and energy for resistance work, and to plan ahead.</p><p dir="ltr">This type of grantmaking approach also affirms the collective self-care approaches that partners are using as part of their resistance strategies. In settings where human rights and social justice activists (not to mention marginalized and/or minority identities), are subjected to intense repression, structural inequalities and threats, surviving is a major achievement. In the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cfemea.org.br/images/stories/publicacoes/folder_cuidado_entre_ativistas_english.pdf">words of Brazilian feminist musician Lidi de Oliveira</a>, “Self-care is a political act, it is something revolutionary for us and dangerous for those who want to oppress us.” Many advocates are focusing on building coalitions, strengthening cross-movement collaboration, and operationalizing solidarity as a way that will ultimately strengthen direct advocacy. Embattled causes must align to strengthen one another and support each other’s survival. Banding together is also a powerful way to resist divide and conquer strategies and &nbsp;scapegoating tactics typical of repressive regimes.</p><p dir="ltr">For example, the Indian Coalition for Maternal-Neonatal Health and Safe Abortion, <a href="http://www.commonhealth.in" target="_blank">CommonHealth</a>, recently invited representatives from various social movements to join its annual members’ meeting. By immersing in each other’s struggles, participants demonstrate several important aspects of collective self-care. First, this relationship-building creates an environment that fosters care for all, rather than relegating the challenges of survival onto the individual when they need support the most. Second, by embodying solidarity across movements, members amplify their collective resilience and capacity to resist government repression. Sharing responsibilities across a specialized division of labor within a coalition (advocates, researchers, providers, etc.) reduces the labor and emotional burden borne by each individual and organization. Third, it’s a smart strategy for CommonHealth: increasing inclusivity and diversity allows the coalition to more accurately represent the full range of Indians’ SRHR needs, which is necessary for better policy analysis, implementation and change.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Berger et. alMay.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/ Tribes of the World (Some rights reserved). </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">As social justice champions, collectivizing our struggles, including our self-care, exponentially ensures our survival and sustains our movements..</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">It is important, however, to recognize that approaches vary across regions, and partners’ notions of self-care must lead the way. For example, our flexible, long-term funding to <a href="http://www.cfemea.org.br/" target="_blank">CFEMEA</a> (Centro Feminista de Estudos e Assessoria – Center for Feminist Studies and Advisory Services, in Brazil), supported them to begin training the next generation of activists on advocacy with the Brazilian Congress, while also offering trainings for activists working on environmental and racial justice issues. In the Middle East and North Africa, where many activists face imprisonment and harassment, organizations choose to focus on low-cost, low-profile activities, while hiring consultants to bolster digital security and setting aside funds for legal defense.</p><p dir="ltr">Additionally, IWHC’s learning, monitoring and evaluation team creates space for reflection that enable our partners’ collective self-care. In doing so, we not only have the opportunity to help sustain movements, but to learn from them—and to better advocate for and support our partners. For example, we funded a Uruguayan feminist organization, <a href="http://www.mysu.org.uy" target="_blank">Mujer y Salud en Uruguay</a> (MYSU – Women and Health in Uruguay), to commission a<a href="http://www.mysu.org.uy/multimedia/noticia/mysu-presenta-el-libro-abortus-interruptus/" target="_blank"> study</a> analyzing its contributions to a long, successful fight to expand abortion rights. While this exercise ensured that the feminist activists’ contributions were not erased from this historic, monumental struggle, it also served to celebrate their win and rejuvenate the activists before launching into another uphill battle—ensuring the new law’s implementation. This opportunity to document, celebrate and share victories is one way to measure success and encourage sustainability of the ongoing work of feminist resistance and movement-building. </p><p>Funders can also support the wellbeing and sustainability of partners by adjusting expectations of grantees: perhaps survival in the face of constant opposition is itself a measure of success. Funders can attempt to measure resilience as a positive outcome through documentation and evaluation projects. We have found that activists rarely have time to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate. With this in mind, funders must strive to support partners’ efforts to pause, learn, and recharge both for the sake of improving learning in the field, and to buoy mental and emotional wellbeing.</p><p dir="ltr">As feminist and rights-based funders, we often consider the implications of shrinking civil society space and mounting repression. And while there is no magic bullet, funders should reflect the ways in which we are supporting grantees and/or overburdening them. A paradigm shift is necessary for funders to see ourselves as promoters and supporters of collective self-care. We can do this by offering flexible and long-term support, encouraging collaboration, creating space for restorative reflection, and above all, centering our partners’ needs and solutions.</p><p dir="ltr">Professor Cornell West famously said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” For us at IWHC, supporting collective self-care and love in service of justice is itself a profound and radical act of resistance, and integral to our feminism.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_2.png'" target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights"><img alt="“Data" border="0" name="Imgs" width="140" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meerim-ilyas-tatiana-cordero-vel-squez/collective-care-in-human-rights-funding-poli">Collective care in human rights funding: a political stand</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kristi-pinderi/when-advocacy-work-builds-resilience-everyone-benefits">When advocacy work builds resilience, everyone benefits</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/zelalem-kibret/ready-for-anything-how-preparation-can-improve-trauma-recovery">Ready for anything: how preparation can improve trauma recovery</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/holly-davis-magda-adamowicz/security-and-well-being-two-sides-of-same-coin">Security and well-being: two sides of the same coin</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate">Turning weakness into strength: lessons as a new advocate</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sam-dubberley/when-watching-violence-is-your-job-workers-on-digital-frontline">When watching violence is your job: workers on the digital frontline</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/fred-abrahams/healthy-for-long-haul-building-resilience-in-human-rights-workers">Healthy for the long haul: building resilience in human rights workers</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Michelle Truong Jocelyn Berger Shena Cavallo Global Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Wed, 31 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Shena Cavallo, Jocelyn Berger and Michelle Truong 111288 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Exploring new possibilities beyond foreign funding in Brazil https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/amanda-fazano/exploring-new-possibilities-beyond-foreign-funding-in-brazil <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/FazanoMay.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">Brazil has a potentially large philanthropy market, and social media may be key to tapping into this resource. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/funding-for-human-rights" target="_blank">funding and human rights.</a>&nbsp;<em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/amanda-fazano/explorando-novas-possibilidades-al-m-do-financiamento-estrangeiro-no-brasil" target="_blank">Português</a>. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/amanda-fazano/explorando-nuevas-posibilidades-m-s-all-del-financiamiento-extranjero" target="_blank">Español</a>.&nbsp;</strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">For many years, large foreign financiers, such as foundations and multilateral funds, were the only source of funding for Brazilian human rights organizations. However, more recently, critics—such as conservative elements of society and government—have been questioning the dependence on these funders..</p><p dir="ltr">Reassessing their business models and, most importantly, diversifying sources of funding, could be the first steps that human rights NGOs need to take to achieve legitimate support for their cause. This shift could create benefits that go beyond financial sustainability, bolstering a human rights movement in Brazil that needs to be strengthened in light of the current complex political scenario.</p><p dir="ltr">Edwin Rekosh <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/edwin-rekosh/to-preserve-human-rights-organizational-models-must-change" target="_blank">recently argued</a> that the current human rights business model is not keeping up with trends in technology, philanthropy, business, and society. A change of business model and the diversification of sources of funding—exploring other means such as individual contributions—demand that an organization reinvent itself, moving away from traditional structures and processes. Such a change would also require remaining open to the new digital and communication trends that are becoming essential to mobilize and engage citizens.</p><p dir="ltr">Organizations that were established in Brazil in the early 1990s, such as Médecins Sans Frontières and Greenpeace, created solid communication, fundraising, and marketing structures that assured their brands’ strong presence in the country. The robust individual giving market that these organizations created then called the attention of other international NGOs such as Oxfam and International Amnesty, who started their operations in Brazil in 2012 with ambitious fundraising goals.&nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Latin America is nearly uncharted territory, full of possibilities for the fundraising market.</p><p dir="ltr">Evidently, large organizations can rely on sizeable initial investments from their headquarters’ annual budget to set out the conditions that maintain national budgets that are in the millions. In 2015, for example, Greenpeace Brazil had an annual budget of over R$ 29 million. Beyond financial investments, these organizations also invested in people, training an army dedicated to mobilizing and fundraising in order to reach people online and on the streets with a simple, emotional and concise message. </p><p dir="ltr">Unfortunately, such large sums are not available for Brazilian human rights NGOs that are struggling just to keep programs running—they cannot afford to make significant investments into fundraising and establishing a brand. Is there space for national organizations to diversify their sources of funding and fundraise with individuals under such diverse conditions?</p><p dir="ltr">The answer is not simple, but Latin America is nearly uncharted territory, full of possibilities for the fundraising market. <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-jos-kaire/ordinary-people-will-pay-for-rights-we-asked-them" target="_blank">James Ron’s</a> research in Mexico suggests that if human rights organizations use fundraising strategies based on solid data, transparency and their credibility, the general public will be more likely to contribute.</p><p dir="ltr">In Brazil, IDIS (the Institute for the Development of Social Investment) led research on the philanthropic behavior of Brazilians—donors and non-donors were included in the study—and the findings are promising. At least 52% of Brazilians made a contribution in 2015 and, among those who did not donate, 29% stated that they were simply not approached. These findings indicate that Brazil is indeed open for the development of a larger philanthropy market.</p><p dir="ltr">The Brazilian organization Conectas Human Rights has been investing in the reformulation of its business model since 2015 to address these issues. The first step we took was a brand renewal project that started after a detailed analysis to rethink communication and marketing strategies, mainly to build empathy with Brazilians through relevant narratives that match the aspirations of a diversity of audiences.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"><img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/FazanoMay.jpg" width="444" /> <br /> Flickr/WOCinTech Chat (Some Rights Reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">Digital fundraising allows us to experiment with different messages and audiences, performance indicators can be measured more easily and it is significantly cheaper.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">We need to acknowledge that we work with an unpopular cause. In Brazil, the most conservative segments of society know how to use new technologies and the media to build the idea that human rights “protect criminals”. Historically, the Brazilian human rights movement did not know how to effectively confront this narrative and keep up with marketing and communication trends.</p><p dir="ltr">In response, Conectas made another important choice: to exclusively invest in digital fundraising with individuals. Although this source traditionally results in smaller monthly contributions than others, for instance, street and telephone fundraising, digital fundraising allows us to experiment with different messages and audiences, performance indicators can be measured more easily and it is significantly cheaper, costing 50% less to reach the intended audience. &nbsp;In addition, online donor retention rates are higher than other individual fundraising channels. Conectas, for example, retained more than 80% of all online donors acquired in the last six months.</p><p dir="ltr">There are a number of necessary measures for the implementation of a digital fundraising program. First, having a communications staff working in partnership with the fundraising team is essential to achieving successful strategies; moreover, both teams need to have aligned narratives and coherent messages. Often, the messages from the fundraising and communications teams can diverge, as if coming from two separate organizations, which hampers the general public’s understanding of the cause. This confusion directly affects the credibility of the narrative and, consequently, can damage fundraising results.</p><p dir="ltr">The second step is an investment in systems. Today, having a CRM—Customer Relationship Management—platform integrated with payment methods and donation forms is not a luxury only for large operations, but a necessity for smaller organizations too. Without an adequate CRM tool, our donor’s data security is at risk. Payment mistakes may cost us a good relationship with a donor, who will likely share the bad experience on social media, jeopardizing all of our work dedicated to building a positive image.</p><p>Although this seems to be a strenuous process with long-term financial returns, setting up fundraising with individuals brings other institutional benefits that are more immediately apparent. This is an opportunity to both rethink how NGOs address different audiences and to revisit their structures, so that they can be ready for new and challenging scenarios. Moreover, progress in this sector depends on effective collaboration among these organizations, which can no longer expect to rely on a single funding source but can, together, effectively create a solid philanthropy market in Brazil by sharing knowledge and good practices.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_1.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_2.png'" target="_blank" href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/funding-for-human-rights"> <img alt="Funding for human rights – Read on" border="0" name="Imgs" width="140" src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_1.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow-jos-kaire-and-james-ron/monetizing-human-rights-brand">Monetizing the human rights “brand”</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-jos-kaire/ordinary-people-will-pay-for-rights-we-asked-them">Ordinary people will pay for rights. We asked them</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/maina-kiai/from-funding-projects-to-funding-struggles-reimagining-role-of-donors">From funding projects to funding struggles: Reimagining the role of donors</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lotta-teale/how-to-pay-for-legal-empowerment-alternative-structures-and-sources">How to pay for legal empowerment: alternative structures and sources</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/burkhard-gn-rig/old-world-of-civic-participation-is-being-replaced">The old world of civic participation is being replaced</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/edwin-rekosh/to-preserve-human-rights-organizational-models-must-change">To preserve human rights, organizational models must change</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/laura-piazza/fast-and-flexible-support-ingredients-to-enrich-lgbti-campaigning">Fast and flexible support: ingredients to enrich LGBTI campaigning</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Amanda Fazano Central and South America, & the Caribbean Funding for Human Rights Tue, 30 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Amanda Fazano 111234 at https://www.opendemocracy.net New strategies for tackling inequality with human rights https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mart-n-abreg/new-strategies-for-tackling-inequality-with-human-rights <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Abregu.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>To confront inequality, the Ford Foundation is harnessing the human rights framework to address political and socio-economic systems. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/economic-inequality-and-human-rights" target="_blank">economic inequality and human rights</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">In the two years since the Ford Foundation identified inequality as the central focus of all our grantmaking, I have been asked countless times: "What does this mean for the foundation’s support for human rights work?"</p><p dir="ltr">Put simply, we will continue to be a major funder in this field, supporting human rights actors and practices to overcome inequality. But this does not mean business as usual for us. Rather, it represents a more complex mix of continuity and disruption.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">The human rights community has secured a framework and an approach that has been embraced by a broad array of other movements. </p><p dir="ltr">Over the last several decades, the human rights community has secured a framework and an approach that has been embraced by a broad array of other movements, focused on everything from indigenous peoples to internet freedom. There is also ample evidence that the human rights framework has been effective in confronting authoritarian regimes and, more broadly, in addressing violations related to political systems that persecute or discriminate against specific groups.</p><p dir="ltr">But its success in responding to human rights violations related to unfair or biased socio-economic systems has been much more limited. This observation does not hinge on comparing civil and political rights with economic, social, and cultural rights. It does suggest, however, that there is a common set of structural causes underlying human rights violations of all types that the human rights movement has not yet been able to address. </p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Abregu.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/UN Women Asia and the Pacific (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Human rights defenders in Vrindavan, India.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">For example, if you live in Brazil today your chances of being tortured for (strictly) political reasons are fairly limited. However, if you are black and poor your chances of being abused or killed by local or federal security forces are basically the same as 50 years ago.</p><p dir="ltr">This is not a new challenge, nor a new conversation, for the human rights movement. For at least 20 years now, one of the movement’s key questions is whether the human rights framework of the last 50 years can now be harnessed in new ways that suit the framework and fit our times.</p><p dir="ltr">Our response at the Ford Foundation has been, and continues to be, an unequivocal “yes”. It is clear to us that this remarkable framework can—and should—be applied to confronting inequality at its roots. And if inequality is a structural problem that also implicates social, cultural, and political systems, it is incumbent upon us to think about our human rights work in a different way. But how?</p><p dir="ltr">One important difference between addressing human rights violations that derive from flawed political systems, versus human rights violations based on socio-economic patterns, is that setting human rights standards is much more effective in addressing the former than the latter. Human rights standards, as a moral barrier to authoritarianism, may be extremely effective in the battleground of ideas. But those same standards are not that effective among a complex system of socio-economic norms and practices.</p><p dir="ltr">This is the challenge when we talk about “making human rights real”—the need to go beyond standard-setting to actual enforcement and implementation. The main reason that the movement has struggled to convincingly enter this terrain is that making human rights real for the vast majority of the world's people requires the movement to go beyond reporting abuses, developing norms, and litigating cases—and to engage in more comprehensive and collaborative work with non-human rights sectors. The foundation has been supporting these efforts for many years, and we now have a number of solid cases demonstrating that when human rights initiatives are put to work in alliance with other actors and social movements, the results are very promising.</p><p dir="ltr">This is not just about new tactical alliances, but a more in-depth form of collaboration that responds to the need to bring diverse knowledge and activism together. But given the times we live in, and its unprecedented challenges—from the digital revolution to a global order in distress—this new form of collaboration is essential. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">There are already some very powerful examples of this kind of integration among our partners and within the foundation. Our incipient work around criminalization is a case in point. We have defined this work as confronting a global trend to use the criminal system not as the “last resort” but rather as a “first response”. Societies across the globe are using the criminal system to contest values (persecuting LGBT people, criminalizing sexual and reproductive rights), to control specific groups (over-policing minorities), to protect private or corporate interests (criminalization of indigenous leaders in Latin America), and to suppress dissident voices (closing civic space).</p><p dir="ltr">Looking at criminalization as an intersectional issue touching on many parts of our work, we have asked our team working on gender, racial and ethnic justice to focus on criminalization when it harms people on the basis of their identity; our team working on civic engagement and government takes the lead when the focus is how criminalization limits civic engagement or trust in government; and our internet freedom team addresses the role of new technologies in the global trend toward criminalization.</p><p dir="ltr">Our work around natural resources and climate change, for example, has a strong focus on human rights, the same way that we aim to ensure that our work on inclusive economies continues our efforts around business and human rights. Our Mexico office is putting human rights at the very center of its work around impunity, while in other regions we are looking at more specific actors (extractive industries) or rights issues (housing).</p><p dir="ltr">Yet, in recent months there has been a renewed urgency among our key partners and within Ford to question if, instead of integrating human rights, we should actually go “back to the basics” and support international human rights bodies and institutions in a global context that is increasingly challenging.</p><p dir="ltr">There is no easy answer. But if this context teaches us anything, it is that we need to make human rights a local reality if rights are going to continue as a key part of our global culture. Integration needs to be the new international standard. </p><p>Yet our decision not to have a free-standing program focusing on the international human rights systems—as we have for the last 30 years at least—does not mean our funding is shifting away from this critical work.</p><p dir="ltr">As we confront inequality, we are working to redesign how we work to ensure that the successful human rights framework is harnessed to address the political and socio-economic systems that reinforce inequality. We believe human rights can and should be a powerful contributor to these efforts, not as a stand-alone sector but as an integrated part of a 21st century movement to achieve the promise of human dignity.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><p><i>***A version of this article <a href="http://www.fordfoundation.org/ideas/equals-change-blog/posts/what-strengthening-human-rights-has-to-do-with-challenging-inequality/" target="_blank">first appeared</a> on the Ford Foundation’s Equals Change Blog.</i></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Economic_Inequality_1_0.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Economic_Inequality_2.png'" target="_blank" href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/economic-inequality-and-human-rights"> <img alt="Economic Inequality and human rights – Read on" border="0" name="Imgs" width="140" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Economic_Inequality_1_0.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kate-donald/tackling-inequality-potential-of-sustainable-development-goals">Tackling inequality: the potential of the Sustainable Development Goals</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-barrett/tackling-economic-inequality-with-right-to-non-discrimination">Tackling economic inequality with the right to non-discrimination</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/uwe-gneiting/inequality-business-and-human-rights-new-frontier">Inequality, business and human rights: the new frontier?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/chris-albin-lackey/who-will-take-lead-on-economic-inequality-and-who-should">Who will take the lead on economic inequality, and who should?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/leonard-seabrooke-duncan-wigan/how-to-get-inequality-on-global-policy-agenda">How to get inequality on the global policy agenda</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/savio-carvalho/everyone-does-better-when-everyone-does-better">Everyone does better when everyone does better</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/ignacio-saiz-gaby-or-aguilar/introducing-debate-on-economic-inequality-can-human-ri">Introducing the debate on economic inequality: can human rights make a difference? </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Martín Abregú Global Economic Inequality and Human Rights Thu, 25 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Martín Abregú 111130 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Why it’s getting harder (and more dangerous) to hold companies accountable https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/ciara-dowd-elodie-aba/why-it-s-getting-harder-and-more-dangerous-to-hold-companies- <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/1024px-Sierra_Leone_Road.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Corporations are using defamation lawsuits to shut down their detractors—and the problem is only getting worse. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/ciara-dowd-elodie-aba/por-qu-se-est-haciendo-m-s-dif-cil-y-m-s-peligroso-responsabi" target="_blank">Español</a>. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/ciara-dowd-elodie-aba/pourquoi-il-est-de-plus-en-plus-difficile-et-plus-dangereux-d" target="_blank">Français</a>.</em></strong>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">There is a crisis of impunity for corporate human rights abuses and it is getting worse. In our work with the <a href="https://business-humanrights.org/" target="_blank">Business &amp; Human Rights Resource Centre</a>, we track the latest legal developments in holding companies accountable for human rights abuses, to share knowledge among lawyers and ultimately strengthen accountability. For years, we have highlighted increasing barriers for victims to obtain justice. As companies are rarely brought to account, there have been few reasons for optimism.</p><p dir="ltr">So bad is the crisis of impunity that we have had to dedicate a significant portion of space in our latest <a href="https://business-humanrights.org/en/corporate-legal-accountability-annual-briefing" target="_blank">Annual Briefing</a> to the threats directed at advocates and lawyers working on corporate accountability. In 2016, we even saw Pavel Sulyandziga, a well-known indigenous leader in Russia and member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, speak out about the harassment he and his family are facing because of his work supporting local communities to retain control of their land from extractives companies.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">Human rights defenders working on corporate accountability have faced killings, beatings and threats and are rarely, if ever, able to obtain justice.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>The law as a weapon</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Human rights defenders working on corporate accountability have faced killings, beatings and threats and are rarely, if ever, able to obtain justice. Moreover, the law is often used as a weapon. In the last two years, the Business &amp; Human Rights Resource Centre <a href="https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/business-human-rights-defenders-portal" target="_blank">has tracked</a> over 450 cases of attacks against human rights defenders working on corporate accountability. The most common is judicial harassment (40% of cases). </p><p dir="ltr">In February 2016, six activists opposing the use of villagers’ land for Socfin plantations were <a href="https://business-humanrights.org/en/sierra-leone-ngos-denounce-imprisonment-of-community-members-opposing-socfin-plantations-includes-company-response" target="_blank">jailed</a> after a Sierra Leone court found them guilty of destroying 40 palm oil plants. The activists <a href="https://business-humanrights.org/sites/default/files/documents/MALOA%20Position%20Paper%20%2010032016.pdf" target="_blank">say</a> they are innocent and see the trial as a “tactic to get us into prison so that we cannot raise our voice on the unacceptable land deals in Malen Chiefdom.”</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/1024px-Sierra_Leone_Road.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Wiki Commons/LindsayStark (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">Six activists opposing the use of villagers’ land for Socfin plantations were jailed after a Sierra Leone court found them guilty of destroying 40 palm oil plants. The activists say they are innocent.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">These types of legal harassment are often not intended to be successful claims, but rather are designed to silence human rights defenders by tying them up in costly litigation processes. In France, the NGO Sherpa has been sued by the company Vinci for <a href="https://business-humanrights.org/en/french-builder-vinci-accused-of-forced-labour-in-qatar-company-denies-claims" target="_blank">defamation</a>, after the NGO filed a criminal complaint in March 2015 against the company and its Qatari subsidiary over alleged forced labour on their construction sites in Qatar. <a href="https://www.asso-sherpa.org/legal-action-vinci-qatar-vinci-institutes-defamation-proceedings-claiming-exorbitant-damages-sherpa-organisation-employees" target="_blank">Sherpa said</a> of the lawsuits: “[b]y involving us in these costly proceedings, Vinci is plainly seeking to pressure us into withdrawing our action for lack of resources.”</p><p dir="ltr">These lawsuits are often a disproportionate response to statements as small as social media posts. During a mission to Indonesia in September 2016, we met with the NGO KontraS, which is currently campaigning against criminalisation of human rights defenders. They told us of an activist from the NGO WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) who <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa21/4833/2016/en/" target="_blank">faced a criminal defamation complaint</a> by supporters of a land reclamation project in Bali, over a Twitter post that mocked them. In the US, <a href="https://www.aclu.org/news/environmental-protesters-fight-defamation-lawsuit-filed-coal-ash-landfill" target="_blank">community activists were sued</a> for USD 30 million by Green Group Holdings after they complained on social media about the company’s landfill and its impact on the local resident’s health. Lee Rowland, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who worked on the case, said: “No one should have to fear a multi-million dollar lawsuit just for speaking up about their community—but our clients did.” </p><p dir="ltr">Lawsuits like these have a chilling effect on human rights activism and advocacy. The inequality of power and resources between large corporations with teams of lawyers and grassroots human rights defenders means that many activists may give into the demands of corporations rather than enter a costly legal battle. This chilling effect is immeasurably worse when defenders are threatened with physical assaults and death. </p><p dir="ltr"><strong>From impunity to accountability</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Companies benefit from an environment where there is freedom of speech, satisfied workers, and an increased consumer base, and governments attract investment when there is a strong <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/03/civil-rights-are-under-attack-here-s-why-the-business-world-should-care?utm_content=buffer1f2a8&amp;utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=twitter.com&amp;utm_campaign=buffer" target="_blank">rule of law</a>. Governments should decriminalise defamation as advocated by international and regional organizations and leading NGOs, enact laws to protect human rights defenders and their lawyers from harassment, and provide an enabling environment and open civic space for those working on corporate legal accountability. &nbsp;(Of course, detractors would argue that criminal defamation laws are needed to protect their reputation, but there are still civil liabilities.) Governments should pass legislation to address strategic lawsuits against public participation, like those passed in <a href="https://anti-slapp.org/your-states-free-speech-protection/" target="_blank">several US states</a> and <a href="https://canadians.org/blog/win-ontario-passes-anti-slapp-legislation" target="_blank">Canadian provinces</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">Corporations can influence governments to improve by voicing opposition to governmental action or legislation that threatens to close the civic space. Natural Fruit filed a defamation lawsuit in Thailand against Andy Hall, a British labour rights activists and researcher, over a &nbsp;report &nbsp;that &nbsp;alleged &nbsp;labour &nbsp;abuse against &nbsp;migrant workers in the company's factories. The Senior Vice President of S Group, a Finnish retailer that sourced from Natural Fruit, <a href="https://innovation-forum.co.uk/analysis.php?s=thai-court-case-thats-redefining-corporate-activist-relationships" target="_blank">testified in support of Andy Hall</a> in the Thai criminal defamation lawsuit against him in July 2016. S Group’s action in this case demonstrates the steps companies can take to support human rights defenders under legal attack. Companies can also draft a dedicated policy on human rights defenders, like <a href="http://www.adidas-group.com/media/filer_public/f0/c5/f0c582a9-506d-4b12-85cf-bd4584f68574/adidas_group_and_human_rights_defenders_2016.pdf" target="_blank">adidas</a> has done, explaining why human rights defenders are important to their work and setting out expectations towards the company’s suppliers.</p><p dir="ltr">Everyone benefits from the work of human rights defenders and the promotion of the rule of law, so businesses and governments should work to support and protect them. The legal system should only be used to bolster the rule of law, not burden its defenders.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/mauricio-lazala-joe-bardwell/%E2%80%9Cwhat-human-rights%E2%80%9D-why-some-companies-speak-out-while">“What human rights?” Why some companies speak out while others don’t</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/asuncion-lera-st-clair/corporate-concern-for-human-rights-essential-to-tack">Corporate concern for human rights essential to tackle climate change</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/kevin-jennings/global-economic-scorecards-that-ignore-rights-reward-intoler">Global economic scorecards that ignore rights reward intolerance</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/sif-thorgeirsson/doors-closing-on-judicial-remedies-for-corporate-human-rig">Doors closing on judicial remedies for corporate human rights abuse</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/gast%C3%B3n-chillier/prosecuting-corporate-complicity-in-argentina%E2%80%99s-dictatorship">Prosecuting corporate complicity in Argentina’s dictatorship </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-petrasek/new-powers-won%E2%80%99t-play-by-old-rules">New powers won’t play by old rules</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Elodie Aba Ciara Dowd Global Tue, 23 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Ciara Dowd and Elodie Aba 111061 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Collective care in human rights funding: a political stand https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meerim-ilyas-tatiana-cordero-vel-squez/collective-care-in-human-rights-funding-poli <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Ilyas and CorderoMay.jpeg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">To support the activists and groups that we fund, donors must engage in honest conversations around our own burnout and ethics. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank">human rights and mental health</a>.<em><strong>&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meerim-ilyas-tatiana-cordero-vel-squez" target="_blank">العربية</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meerim-ilyas-tatiana-cordero-vel-squez/el-cuidado-colectivo-en-la-financiaci-n-de-l" target="_blank">Español</a>.&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/meerim-ilyas-tatiana-cordero-vel-squez/o-cuidado-coletivo-no-financiamento-de-direitos-humanos-uma-a" target="_blank">Português</a>. &nbsp;</strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">What is the responsibility of donors regarding the care practices of frontline activists? And how does our own well-being affect that of the people we fund? As a rapid response fund for women’s rights, we gather daily to discuss new applications for funding, which often involve issues of sexual violence. We take turns to offer analysis and debate on whether each request “fits our mandate”. This is a skill learned over time, a difficult one, which can make one feel expedient yet overwhelmingly responsible. And through each case of a woman activist risking her life, or an urgent situation where women’s and LGBTIQ rights are, once again, under threat, there is always a potential for a trigger. We, as women, often share similar histories, experiences and traumas with the activists we support. However, we have learned how crucial it is to heal oneself in order to support others facing similar issues. This is the only way to make collective transformation possible.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">The experiences of women activists can be different than those of men, because of the gendered nature of threats and burnout.</p><p dir="ltr">The experiences of women activists can be different than those of men, because of the gendered nature of threats and burnout. The use or threat of sexual violence against women activists is very common, but it is also poorly documented, because it is often not reported or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.awid.org/publications/our-right-safety-women-human-rights-defenders-holistic-approach-protection">recognized</a>. Women human rights defenders are also <a target="_blank" href="https://ncdalliance.org/news-events/blog/fighting-for-equality-carries-massive-health-risks-particularly-if-you-are-a-woman">more likely to burn out</a> because of societal pressure and condemnation due to their gender, and responsibilities to support their children and other family members.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Ilyas and CorderoMay.jpeg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Urgent Action Fund (All rights reserved). </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Regional Convening on Sustainable Activism, El Salvador 2015. Urgent Action Fund-Latin America.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">We at the Urgent Action Sister Funds are deeply passionate about supporting women human rights defenders, but we are not the ones at the frontlines. We are not the ones who will be jailed, who will get beaten or harassed, or threatened with rape for fighting for justice and basic human rights. For most of us in the donor world, this is not the reality of everyday life. Yet we experience triggers and secondary trauma, and the sense of frustration and responsibility can drive us to the point of emotional and physical exhaustion. As one colleague shared, “I try to compartmentalize things and will try to turn off work, but I do have dreams about traumatic cases.”</p><p dir="ltr">As advocates and funders, we must be honest about our own sustainability. How do we begin? Caring practices are deeply individual, cultural, and even depend on economic background and political beliefs. An ethic of care is both individual and collective. For many, separating their work from their personal lives can support overall well-being; but, unfortunately, this is not always possible for those of us working in the field of human rights. As women working to protect and promote women’s rights, it can be challenging to separate our work from our own personal struggles and obstacles as women. As funders in general, we must be aware of our own privileges and assumptions around care.</p><p dir="ltr">To support the activists and groups that we fund, we must engage in honest conversations around our own burnout, which stems from our internalized practices and habits, and a lack of healthy polices. To be an ethical donor, we must include funding for well-being and safety for grantees, which can only happen if we understand and utilize care practices, as individuals and as organizations, collectively. We must move away from an “us” (donors) and “them” (activists) mentality in this field. Only then will we stop exhausting activists by demanding ever-more measurable results and lengthy reports rather than funding their basic healthcare needs or providing unrestricted funds to support their secure transportation, maternity leave, pensions, or basic security measures for their offices and homes.</p><p dir="ltr">Well-being includes proper time and space to assess the hidden risk of workload and activism. It includes funding adequate time for rest for an activist, after she spent several months or years in jail, so she does not have to worry about sustaining her family. It includes not scheduling 12-hour day seminars and conferences, because we as funders often have the luxury of influencing, if not setting, the agenda. It includes funding an assistant for the activist with a disability, so she can be fully present and comfortable during a meeting or conference, and not forcing people to eat while they work. We must practice awareness and respect for cultural expressions of well-being. If our aim is to support movement building, we need to be open to the ways in which different social movements and people understand and define care practices. For example, many indigenous people define well-being as an everyday holistic practice that enables balance in life and with every living being, not as an individual act or of an organization alone. If we are to make transformation happen, we must broaden our scopes and worldviews.</p><p dir="ltr">Establishing sustainable care practices requires ongoing exploration and engagement to find what works. In their brilliant guide “<a target="_blank" href="https://www.awid.org/resources/strategies-building-organisation-soul">Strategies for Building an Organization with a Soul</a>,” two African feminists, Hope Chigudu and Rudo Chigudu, offer concrete suggestions for how to create an organizational culture where “impassioned people go to work every day, inspired by working in an environment that increases both their well-being and productivity.”</p><p dir="ltr">If an organization engages in an ethic of care, well-being practices become collective and incorporated institutionally, and individuals will be motivated to create and sustain their habits. For example, Urgent Action Fund fosters such culture by holding two “Getting Nothing Done Days” per year, during which staff take a complete break from their work to rest and spend time with each other. At Urgent Action Fund - Latin America, staff members responsible for rapid response grantmaking are provided with ongoing psychosocial support to help with processing their frustration, pain, and difficult workload. In addition, “Sustaining Activism” has been incorporated as a cross-cutting program in an effort to institutionalize well-being across the organization. Many of our grantees have already incorporated care practices out of necessity, and there is much that human rights funders can learn from their practices. Other organizations, such as FRIDA, have been incorporating <a target="_blank" href="http://youngfeministfund.org/2016/10/practising-individual-and-collective-self-care-at-frida/">individual and collective care tools</a> in their everyday practice. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Only when these conversations and practices take place in both directions—from funders to grantees and back again—can we begin to understand the importance of funding and sustaining activism of frontline defenders.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_2.png'" target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights"><img alt="“Data" border="0" name="Imgs" width="140" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kristi-pinderi/when-advocacy-work-builds-resilience-everyone-benefits">When advocacy work builds resilience, everyone benefits</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/zelalem-kibret/ready-for-anything-how-preparation-can-improve-trauma-recovery">Ready for anything: how preparation can improve trauma recovery</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/holly-davis-magda-adamowicz/security-and-well-being-two-sides-of-same-coin">Security and well-being: two sides of the same coin</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate">Turning weakness into strength: lessons as a new advocate</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sam-dubberley/when-watching-violence-is-your-job-workers-on-digital-frontline">When watching violence is your job: workers on the digital frontline</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/fred-abrahams/healthy-for-long-haul-building-resilience-in-human-rights-workers">Healthy for the long haul: building resilience in human rights workers</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nzik-awad/we-cannot-afford-to-be-traumatized-reality-for-grassroots-advocates">We cannot afford to be traumatized: the reality for grassroots advocates</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Tatiana Cordero Velásquez Meerim Ilyas Global Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Thu, 18 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Meerim Ilyas and Tatiana Cordero Velásquez 110912 at https://www.opendemocracy.net International recognition and public opinion towards conflict and violence https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/yael-zeira/international-recognition-and-public-opinion-towards-conflict-and-violen <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/ZeiraMay.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">Experiments show international recognition of statehood could change popular support for violence in self-determination conflicts. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/social-science-experiments-human-rights" target="_blank">social science experiments</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">What reduces individual support for the use of violence in self-determination conflicts? Violence against civilians is considered a “grave breach” of international law. Yet, support for the use of violence in self-determination conflicts, including violence against civilians, varies over time. When will ordinary people favor the use of violence over nonviolent methods of resistance? In recent research conducted with <a target="_blank" href="https://polisci.wisc.edu/people/faculty/nadav-shelef">Nadav Shelef</a> (University of Wisconsin, Madison), we show that popular support for violence is fluid, and that a new variable—international recognition—can significantly reduce it.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">Without at least tacit support, militant groups may lack access to food, shelter, hiding places, information or other resources.</p><p dir="ltr">Understanding the sources of popular support for violence is important because militant groups are not immune to public opinion. Without at least tacit support, militant groups may lack access to food, shelter, hiding places, information or other resources, threatening their very ability to survive. Public opinion about violence can also shape the political strategies of militant groups. When popular support for the use of violence increases, leaders may face popular pressure to abandon negotiations or not enter them in the first place. When popular support for the use of violence decreases, leaders may become more willing to accept the political risks of negotiation.</p><p dir="ltr">Our research investigates how international recognition affects public opinion about violence and other conflict-related issues. International recognition is one of the main political goals of self-determination movements and is also sometimes pursued by militant groups seeking control of the central state. International recognition also endows self-determination movements with international legitimacy. As a result, <a target="_blank" href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/552d41f7e4b07a7dd6a00db8/t/57221089d210b8464d94dac3/1461850253279/ShelefZeira_JCR_Published.pdf">our previous research argues</a> that international recognition improves the negotiating position of self-determination movements. As the outcome of a nonviolent strategy of diplomacy and international engagement, international recognition may also convince skeptics that “diplomacy works.”&nbsp;</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/ZeiraMay.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Flickr/Rusty Stewart/ Some rights reserved. </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Our research on international recognition implies that international diplomatic engagement can play a significant and previously underappreciated role in shaping public opinion about conflict and violence and, thereby, affect conflict dynamics more generally.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/552d41f7e4b07a7dd6a00db8/t/58ff6911e3df280d3d09dff9/1493133588564/ShelefZeira_Violence_Feb152017_ForBlog.pdf">In recent work</a>, we examine the impact of international recognition on popular support for violence using a survey experiment centered on the 2012 UNGA recognition of Palestine. In the fall of 2012, the UNGA recognized Palestine as a “non-member observer state” of the United Nations. Our study examines how this decision affected support for violence among ordinary Palestinians using a survey experiment, which we conducted in the West Bank in the wake of the UN decision. Survey experiments are, essentially, experiments embedded within survey questionnaires. In recent years, they have gained popularity for studying human rights and international relations because they allow researchers to isolate the effects of events—such as international recognition—over which they do not have control.</p><p>Our survey experiment was conducted among a random sample of 226 Palestinian residents of the West Bank. The experiment randomly assigned some survey respondents to read a news article about the UNGA recognition of Palestine. Following standard procedures in such experiments, the remaining respondents were assigned to read a neutral, nonpolitical, news article. We then compared support for violence between the two groups to see if reading the article about UNGA recognition—and, in turn, bringing recognition to the forefront of people’s minds (known as “priming”)—affected their support for violence.</p><p dir="ltr">It did. We found that international recognition significantly reduced popular support for violence among nonpartisans. Nonpartisans, importantly, constitute a plurality of the Palestinian population. Among this group, international recognition reduced support for violence by nearly half a standard deviation—a substantively large effect that is greater than the effects of gender, education, and generation found in recent studies.</p><p dir="ltr">Why is this effect of international recognition concentrated among nonpartisans? In conflict contexts, political parties are often polarized around the use of violence. Nonpartisans—that is, individuals who do not identify with any political party—are not committed to a particular party and its position on the use of violence. Therefore, we argue, they are more likely to change their minds on the issue of violence in response to an external shock like international recognition.</p><p dir="ltr">International recognition also shapes other conflict-relevant attitudes. <a target="_blank" href="https://static1.squarespace.com/static/552d41f7e4b07a7dd6a00db8/t/57221089d210b8464d94dac3/1461850253279/ShelefZeira_JCR_Published.pdf">In a previous article</a>, we find that international recognition also has a meaningful impact on popular support for territorial compromise. This impact, however, is not unidirectional. International recognition increases support for territorial partition as a strategy of conflict resolution, even as it decreases support for compromise on the specific territorial terms of partition. This finding suggests that international recognition may make it easier for leaders to accept a negotiated settlement that involves partition but may make it harder for them to reach agreement on its terms.</p><p dir="ltr">Our research on international recognition implies that international diplomatic engagement can play a significant and previously underappreciated role in shaping public opinion about conflict and violence and, thereby, affect conflict dynamics more generally. Scholars and policymakers alike often express skepticism about the relevance and efficacy of such engagement. For example, in 2005, then US Ambassador John Bolton argued that the UNGA’s resolutions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were “purely symbolic” and “meaningless.” In contrast, our research suggests that one such resolution—UNGA 67/19—had a significant and positive impact on Palestinians’ attitudes about conflict and violence. In particular, UNGA recognition dramatically reduced support for violence among Palestinian nonpartisans who, as in other developing countries around the world, make up a large and growing segment of the population. While a survey experiment like ours cannot predict how long-lasting this drop in support for violence may be, it suggests that international recognition could be an important first step in a broader conflict resolution strategy.</p><p>To the best of our knowledge, our research is the first to demonstrate that international diplomatic engagement can reduce popular support for violence. Previous research on this subject has identified a number of important determinants of popular support for violence, including—to name just a few—gender, socioeconomic status, generation, and religious identity and piety. Building on this prior work, our research suggests that international factors—specifically, international recognition—also exert an important effect on public opinion towards conflict and violence. This is important because many of the factors previously found to shape popular support for violence are either very difficult to change or change very slowly. In comparison, international recognition provides policy-makers with a potential policy instrument that they can use to shape public attitudes, reduce support for violence, and promote territorial compromise.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/data-and-human-rights" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_2.png'"> <img width="140" alt="“Data" border="0" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ana-bracic/discrimination-in-action-value-of-experiments-in-human-rights">Discrimination in action: the value of experiments in human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow-jos-kaire-and-james-ron/monetizing-human-rights-brand">Monetizing the human rights “brand”</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/gulnaz-anjum-adam-chilton/using-experiments-to-improve-women-s-rights-in-pakistan">Using experiments to improve women’s rights in Pakistan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/michele-leiby-matthew-krain/human-rights-lab-using-experiments-to-craft-effective-m">The human rights lab: using experiments to craft effective messaging</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-jos-kaire/ordinary-people-will-pay-for-rights-we-asked-them">Ordinary people will pay for rights. We asked them</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/will-h-moore/is-public-opinion-effective-constraint-on-torture">Is public opinion an effective constraint on torture?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/human-rights-data-used-wrong-way-can-be-misleading">Human rights data used the wrong way can be misleading</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Yael Zeira Middle East & North Africa Social Science Experiments & Human Rights Tue, 16 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Yael Zeira 110878 at https://www.opendemocracy.net When advocacy work builds resilience, everyone benefits https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/kristi-pinderi/when-advocacy-work-builds-resilience-everyone-benefits <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Pinderi1May.jpeg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>For many, activism can be healthy and healing. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank">human rights and mental health</a>.&nbsp;<span><em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/kristi-pinderi/kur-puna-e-advokimit-fiton-rezistenc-t-gjith-p-rfitojn" target="_blank">Shqip (Albanian)</a>. <strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/kristi-pinderi/cuando-el-trabajo-de-promoci-n-aumenta-la-resiliencia-todos-nos-bene" target="_blank">Español</a>.&nbsp;</strong></strong></em></span></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">In this forum, many submissions have discussed the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates">traumatic events</a> that human rights activists <a target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate">witness</a> or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/nzik-awad/we-cannot-afford-to-be-traumatized-reality-for-grassroots-advocates">experience</a> and the mental health struggles that can result. Yet very few people are speaking out about the benefits they derive from their activism—a sense of purpose, a strong identity, a common goal, a community. In some cases, human rights work can lead to stress and trauma. But in other cases, such as mine, it has been profoundly therapeutic.</p><p dir="ltr">As a teenager, I was supposed to spend time with friends, playing football and gossiping about girls. Instead, I often found myself behind a World War I bunker in my hometown of Pogradec, Albania, hiding from my peers, my family, and the world.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">Over time, however, I slowly gained a better understanding of who I was, emerging from behind the bunker, until finally I recognized myself.</p><p dir="ltr">My depression grew over the next decade: I cried myself to sleep during the day, then battled tears by drinking in the afternoon. At night I stayed awake to write. Over time, however, I slowly gained a better understanding of who I was, emerging from behind the bunker, until finally I recognized myself. At the age of 27, I found the courage to come out to my family, to their shock and disappointment. I then met a kindred soul on Facebook, my now close friend and confidante, Xheni Karaj—the first lesbian I had ever met.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Pinderi1May.jpeg" width="444" /> <br />ATSH (Albanian Telegraphic Agency)/All rights reserved. </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Xheni at the Tirana Gay (P)Ride.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Xheni and I wanted to do something that mattered with our lives. We "activated" each other that day we first met in 2008. Over the next years we began to meet other like-minded people and started to gather on a daily basis, forming our own "group" without even noticing it.</p><p dir="ltr">This posed risks in Albania, a small and very conservative country that was just emerging from four decades of repressive and isolated rule, slowly opening to the world. The role of civil society was poorly understood and the rights of LGBTI people were unknown. On the contrary, fear, discrimination and even violence against our community was the norm. We saw this as a challenge and calling. After one of our passionate, late-night discussion sessions in 2011, we went out and painted sayings on the main streets of the capital, Tirana: “I am a boy and I am in love with a boy"; "I am a girl and I am&nbsp;in love with a girl."</p><p dir="ltr">Until that moment, few had dared to publicly express sexual orientation and gender identity in a society where most people consider homosexuality a disease. Painting the walls with love was an act to make ourselves feel better and a strategy to spark public debate.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Eriona-Cami.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Historia Ime/All rights reserved. </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Gay (P)Ride event in Tirana, Albania.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">The next morning, we recorded our graffiti and posted the footage on Facebook and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Biyw329Zxn8">YouTube</a>.&nbsp;We returned to those spots a few weeks later to record the public reaction, but most of our declarations had been erased. That didn’t matter; the authorities could delete words from a wall, but they could not diminish our feeling of empowerment. And they cannot delete videos from YouTube where people can still watch. That year, we began to organize gatherings, street actions and underground parties for gays and lesbians. At one of those events, I met Erjon, who became my partner.</p><p dir="ltr">As I look back and compare today's reality with the situation five or six years ago, I can't help but notice a significant change. It took over 20 years for me to understand and accept myself, but in five years we helped to shift the political landscape in Albania and to create space for the LGBTI community. Xheni and I both came out publicly and now help lead the LBGTI movement in our country (<a target="_blank" href="http://www.aleancalgbt.org/">Aleanca LGBT</a> and <a target="_blank" href="https://sq-al.facebook.com/pages/Pro-LGBT-Te-bashkuar-Pro-kauzes-LGBT-ne-Shqiperi/385187758223042">Pro LGBT</a>, respectively). Erjon's "diary" was the first <a target="_blank" href="http://www.historia-ime.com/">human rights portal</a> in the Albanian language, with thousands of visitors each day. The footage of our graffiti actions was made into a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJoK4M5UKKI">LGBTI documentary</a>, which has won international acclaim.</p><p dir="ltr">Today, our organizations work across the country, lobbying for legislation and demanding accountability from politicians about our issues. The once underground parties have become much needed services for our communities, including the first residential center for at-risk, young and homeless LGBTI members.</p><p dir="ltr">High barriers remain, both to change government policy and the attitudes of people. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ilga-europe.org/what-we-do/our-advocacy-work/european-institutions/eu-enlargement/submissions-progress-reports">High levels of discrimination remain</a>, despite a modern anti-discrimination law, and Albania does not recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions. LGBTI activists still have to explain to relatives and friends why they do this work. I lost some friends and couldn’t talk with others for years. But things have gotten better: those friends who never came back were apparently not worthy of my friendship and those long talks with family members became the new foundation for stronger and unconditional relationships.</p><p dir="ltr">Although it was not easy, I used activism to overcome my mental and physical isolation. Suddenly, my fears were not mine alone; my struggle was not just mine; my loneliness was not just mine—all these challenges became shared. And rather than wear me down, the solidarity built me up.</p><p dir="ltr">I saved myself by projecting my struggle into a movement. Activism for human rights does not necessarily lead to mental hardship—it saved me and many others.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_2.png'" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png'"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="“Data" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/holly-davis-magda-adamowicz/security-and-well-being-two-sides-of-same-coin">Security and well-being: two sides of the same coin</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate">Turning weakness into strength: lessons as a new advocate</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sam-dubberley/when-watching-violence-is-your-job-workers-on-digital-frontline">When watching violence is your job: workers on the digital frontline</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/fred-abrahams/healthy-for-long-haul-building-resilience-in-human-rights-workers">Healthy for the long haul: building resilience in human rights workers</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nzik-awad/we-cannot-afford-to-be-traumatized-reality-for-grassroots-advocates">We cannot afford to be traumatized: the reality for grassroots advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/douglas-mathew-mawadri/fighting-stigma-protecting-mental-health-of-african-rights-a">Fighting stigma: protecting the mental health of African rights advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates">Evidence of trauma: the impact of human rights work on advocates</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Kristi Pinderi Eastern Europe and Russia Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Thu, 11 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Kristi Pinderi 110791 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Ready for anything: how preparation can improve trauma recovery https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/zelalem-kibret/ready-for-anything-how-preparation-can-improve-trauma-recovery <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/KibretMay.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>When in the field, human rights workers must be better prepared for trauma in order to heal from it. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank">human rights and mental health</a>.<strong>&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-7" target="_blank">العربية</a>&nbsp;.&nbsp;</strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">On August 21, 2012, while I was walking in my hometown of <a target="_blank" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambo,_Ethiopia">Ambo</a>, Ethiopia, a man that I didn’t recognize called me over. As soon as I went to him, he pulled me into a huge compound belonging to Ethiopia’s ruling party, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17531055.2011.642515">EPRDF</a>. I found myself in a very small and confined room in front of two individuals who immediately started hurling insults at me. I was completely disoriented until one of the men asked if I knew where I was.</p><p dir="ltr">I answered: “I’m in an office that belongs to the ruling party.” </p><p dir="ltr">He banged on the table with his fist, “Mr. Zelalem, you are dead wrong. This office belongs to the <a target="_blank" href="https://chilot.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/proclamation-no-804-2013-national-intellegence-and-security-services-establishment.pdf">National Intelligence and Security Service</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">That was the last conversation I had with these two men. For the next three hours, I was repeatedly forced onto the floor and slammed against the wall, flogged with a power cable, beaten, and threatened with a pistol.</p><p dir="ltr">They asked why I criticized the Ethiopian government, why I mocked the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/22/world/africa/meles-zenawi-ethiopian-leader-dies-at-57.html">death of the late Ethiopian prime minster</a>—rather, why I laughed on the date his death was announced—who sponsored my “subversive activities”, and who were my <a target="_blank" href="http://www.martinennalsaward.org/?hrd=zone-9-bloggers-2">collaborators</a>. After three hours of brutal treatment and interrogation, one of the men presented a bundle of papers and told me that they could circumvent all of my work, including my personal blog, whilst waving a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.ginbot7.org/news-paper/">newsletter</a> that belonged to an outlawed opposition group in Ethiopia. When they threw the papers at me, I saw that <a target="_blank" href="https://zelalemkibret.wordpress.com/">my personal blog address</a> was written on the cover page. I was stunned at the blatant forgery and said so. They resumed beating me with a renewed vigor. Finally, they told me to cooperate and to cease all my writing activities. Then they ordered me to leave that place.&nbsp;</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/KibretMay.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/ Andrew Heavens (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> In Ethiopia, the absence of a support structure—at the institutional and individual levels—makes overcoming a traumatic experience challenging for many human rights activists. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">When I finally pulled myself off the floor, I was not able to stand properly for a moment. I staggered home and stayed there for the next five days, unable to go out because of the injuries inflicted on my knees with a pistol-butt. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Over the next few months, I refrained from sharing my experience with anyone beyond my inner circle. I deactivated my social media accounts and destroyed my online persona. I was often sleepless. There were dark spots on my arms and knees that worried me a lot—a reminder of that day tattooed on my body. Thankfully, in the following months, my injured knees recovered and the dark spots on my body faded. But the memories of that day continue to haunt me. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Indeed, overcoming the psychological trauma was much more difficult than the cybercide I committed or recovering from the physical wounds. The memories linger everywhere I go. I tried to avoid seeing the place where I was tortured, and I left my hometown for more than a month, terrified that I would see my attackers. I tried to distract my mind by keeping it busy, but I did not know how to overcome this pain.</p><p dir="ltr">Like many people who experience or witness a violent and unexpected assault, I had <a target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate">not been adequately prepared</a>. Although I had been reading stories of torture by Ethiopian security officials long before this incident, I didn’t expect such horrors to reach my own life. </p><p dir="ltr">After a long cyber disappearance, I slowly crawled back. I cautiously re-created my cyber existence; I avoided befriending people I didn’t know and I curated my political posts so I would only bump up against the safe wall of like-minded people. I tried to stay apolitical with all my public activities. Still, these all were preemptive measures to avoid another ordeal—they did not help me overcome the trauma I had sustained. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Later, upon self-reflection, I realized that I was consumed with these post-traumatic symptoms because I was not prepared. I was not ready or expecting to face such violence, even if living in a <a target="_blank" href="http://www.voanews.com/a/ethiopia-faces-era-of-one-party-rule-101007229/124113.html">one-party tyrannical state like Ethiopia</a> calls for such vigilance.</p><p dir="ltr">After months of contemplation and sitting with trauma, I have found that expectation, readiness, and communication are essential tools in such situations. Expecting the worst can ease the suddenness of the event, readiness minimizes the post-traumatic effect, and communication with others can ease the pain. At the same time, we must keep this in balance because fear can have a crippling effect on work, and chronic stress can have harmful health effects. </p><p dir="ltr">In Ethiopia, the absence of a support structure—at the institutional and individual levels—makes overcoming a traumatic experience challenging for many human rights activists. The fact that torture and ill-treatment are <a target="_blank" href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2013/10/18/ethiopia-political-detainees-tortured">rampant</a> makes us vulnerable, and the lack of preparedness and support networks harms those who are victimized. Many activists have left their work after a traumatic event. Realistic expectations and adequate preparations, along with a support network and avenues for communication, are imperatives for human rights workers. </p><p dir="ltr">In mid-2014, a year and a half after that first terrifying ordeal, members of the National Intelligence and Security Service came to my office again. This time I was <a target="_blank" href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2014/apr/30/press-freedom-ethiopia">arrested</a> and transported from my hometown to the capital, Addis Ababa. While on the road, they asked why I refused to quit working on human rights issues—after I was warned (tortured) back in 2012. In that moment, the memories of my previous ordeal came flooding back, and I steeled myself for another assault. I promptly found myself in a <a target="_blank" href="http://addisstandard.com/analysis-maekelawi-ethiopia-still-running-torture-chamber-past/">torture chamber</a>. And unlike my previous three hours of suffering, this time they held me for three months. And yet, this second experience did not have nearly the same traumatic effects as the first one. Did experience diminish its effect? Was I more prepared? I’m not sure. But it seems that expecting the worst, making oneself ready and communicating the story with others helped me to endure the experience. I transitioned more smoothly from trauma to normalcy—and then to helping others.</p><p>p&gt;<span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_2.png'" target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights"><img alt="“Data" border="0" name="Imgs" width="140" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/holly-davis-magda-adamowicz/security-and-well-being-two-sides-of-same-coin">Security and well-being: two sides of the same coin</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate">Turning weakness into strength: lessons as a new advocate</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sam-dubberley/when-watching-violence-is-your-job-workers-on-digital-frontline">When watching violence is your job: workers on the digital frontline</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/fred-abrahams/healthy-for-long-haul-building-resilience-in-human-rights-workers">Healthy for the long haul: building resilience in human rights workers</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nzik-awad/we-cannot-afford-to-be-traumatized-reality-for-grassroots-advocates">We cannot afford to be traumatized: the reality for grassroots advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/douglas-mathew-mawadri/fighting-stigma-protecting-mental-health-of-african-rights-a">Fighting stigma: protecting the mental health of African rights advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates">Evidence of trauma: the impact of human rights work on advocates</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Zelalem Kibret Sub-Saharan Africa Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Thu, 11 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Zelalem Kibret 110752 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Security and well-being: two sides of the same coin https://www.opendemocracy.net/holly-davis-magda-adamowicz/security-and-well-being-two-sides-of-same-coin <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Davis &amp; AdamowicsMay.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>By not paying enough attention to self-care, activists are compromising their own security—and that of their organizations. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank">mental health and well-being</a>. <strong><em><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/holly-davis-magda-adamowicz/seguridad-y-bienestar-dos-caras-de-la-misma-moneda" target="_blank">Español</a>.</em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">There has never been a time when being a human rights defender is so challenging and fraught with risk. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/resource-publication/annual-report-human-rights-defenders-risk-2016">According to Front Line Defenders</a>, “[m]ore than 1,000 human rights defenders were killed, harassed, detained, or subjected to smear campaigns and other violations in 2016.” More human rights activists are victims of deadly violence in more places than ever before—<a target="_blank" href="https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/latin-america-s-environmental-defenders-find-themselves-crosshairs">especially those defending environmental rights in Latin America</a>—while made-up charges, unfair trials, and obstructive laws targeting rights defenders and their work have become the norm in many parts of the world.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">Defenders face exhaustion and trauma and struggle with burnout. </p><p dir="ltr">In addition to threats against their personal safety and security, defenders face exhaustion and trauma and struggle with burnout. For example, one of our partners, an activist living in exile, was followed multiple times by government officials and security forces because she was highlighting human rights violations in her home country. She had been threatened physically and her home had been broken into. She was terrified for the physical safety of her children and family members and confided that there was no place where she felt safe. Despite this, she refused to give up, saying, “[I’m] so motivated to continue. I believe the work I’m doing is very important. If I’m not there, it will be very difficult for others.”</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Davis &amp; AdamowicsMay.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Flickr/ CDIH (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A vigil held for Berta Cáceres, an environmental activist who was murdered on March 3, 2016 in Honduras. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Talking to defenders like this about their personal security is difficult. Well-being, self-care, and managing stress and burnout seem like self-indulgent luxuries for which they do not have time. Their day-to-day work may involve keeping their organization afloat, whether financially, politically, or otherwise; protecting community members from myriad threats and harms, some of them deadly; or struggling to respond to incessant ideological attacks that stigmatize human rights and usually lead to attacks on individuals. Non-profit organizations are often understaffed; as a result, employees and volunteers are often overworked. Taking care of themselves is at best an afterthought or at worst not even on the radar. There is simply no time.</p><p dir="ltr">Recently, we attended digital security trainings for human rights defenders in South and Southeast Asia, organized to support digital security needs and emotional resilience techniques that participants identified as being important to continue their work as lawyers, human rights defenders, and journalists. We observed that the majority of participants were under so much stress that they were barely able to focus on new information, especially about new technologies, let alone make smart decisions while under threat. One participant, a human rights lawyer, commented that while creating a plan for personal well-being was easy, the challenge would be to implement and sustain it among all the demands of her life and work. Another participant reflected on the importance of prioritizing self-care: “Before our session, we were unable to process our stress and trauma. Now I feel lighter, like I have the capacity and tools to process.”</p><p dir="ltr">This kind of experience pushes us to think more consciously about the issue of self-care of human rights defenders. To ensure that human rights workers understand the importance of taking care of themselves—and have the time to implement it—we identify three crucial steps. First, the human rights sector must redefine security to include everything from a human rights organization’s physical, digital, and financial security to an individual defender’s intellectual and emotional well-being. If human rights activists are constantly afraid for their safety, it’s nearly impossible to consider participating in therapy or taking time off.</p><p dir="ltr">Second, donors and others supporting human rights activists must include individual health when assessing the health and sustainability of the organizations, communities, and networks that constitute the human rights movement. If staff are overworked, the chances that they will take time for self-care are even more diminished. This concern leads to the third step: incorporating security and well-being practices into the day-to-day work of defenders and the organizations they serve. This means mainstreaming security and well-being. It also means moving towards organizational cultures in which self-care is inherently understood to be critical to the security of human rights defenders and the sustainability of their work.</p><p dir="ltr">What does this look like in practice? We believe that both funders and trainers have an important role to play. Our role is to create environments where talking about mental health and well-being is not associated with stigma but rather used to underline that there is no healthy human rights movement without healthy human rights practitioners. What we need is an honest conversation where funders do not shy from asking, “How are you?” Funders and trainers also need to be ready to search for answers with their partners and adapt grant making to focus on resilience, not only emergency/transactional support. Creating spaces and opportunities for human rights professionals to make good practices more well-known and transferrable may be one way to go. Such efforts should involve not only human rights professionals, but also digital security trainers, psychologists, and therapists. Based on our experience we also advocate for integrating psychosocial support and self-care principles into existing training efforts, especially those on digital security.</p><p dir="ltr">By including and addressing well-being, trainers have a critical role to play in expanding defenders’ understanding of security and increasing their capacity to adopt new habits. These changes can happen only by integrating security and self-care into the everyday work and culture of human rights defenders and organizations.</p><p dir="ltr">Each organization and individual will have different needs. They may include:</p><ul><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">•Allowing time and dedicated funding for staff retreats, peer support groups, psychological or supervision support, or other individual practices. </p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">•Creating space to discuss people’s well-being at the team or organizational level.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">•Connecting activists with peers from other organizations so they can find solidarity and support.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">•Designing an organizational self-care plan with clear goals, expectations, and boundaries that are transparent and to which teams are accountable. Such a plan might include expectations for work hours and off-hours availability, the option to work from home, time for a true break during the workday, offering activities like stretching and meditation, or simply scheduling a block of quiet time without meetings. </p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">•Consistently implementing an organizational self-care plan, with staff supporting each other, and regularly checking-in with each other through meetings that include a well-being status update.</p></li><li dir="ltr"><p dir="ltr">•Challenging what is truly a crisis requiring immediate action, breaking a cycle of stress where people feel like they cannot afford to stop working.</p></li></ul><p dir="ltr">Above all, human rights organizations and funders need to remember that prioritizing the safety and health of defenders, preventing burnout, and treating trauma are not self-indulgences. Rather, they are best practices. Individual and organizational attitudes and behavior must evolve. This means mainstreaming security and moving towards organizational cultures in which self-care is inherently understood to be critical to success. The old refrain of “toughen up or leave” is obsolete.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_2.png'" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png'"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="“Data" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate">Turning weakness into strength: lessons as a new advocate</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sam-dubberley/when-watching-violence-is-your-job-workers-on-digital-frontline">When watching violence is your job: workers on the digital frontline</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/fred-abrahams/healthy-for-long-haul-building-resilience-in-human-rights-workers">Healthy for the long haul: building resilience in human rights workers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nzik-awad/we-cannot-afford-to-be-traumatized-reality-for-grassroots-advocates">We cannot afford to be traumatized: the reality for grassroots advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/douglas-mathew-mawadri/fighting-stigma-protecting-mental-health-of-african-rights-a">Fighting stigma: protecting the mental health of African rights advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates">Evidence of trauma: the impact of human rights work on advocates</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Magda Adamowicz Holly Davis Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Wed, 10 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Holly Davis and Magda Adamowicz 110719 at https://www.opendemocracy.net To strengthen digital security for human rights defenders, behavior matters https://www.opendemocracy.net/michael-caster/to-strengthen-digital-security-for-human-rights-defenders-behavior-matters <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/CasterMay.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>When approaching digital security for human rights defenders in hostile environments, we need to think more about practical behavior. A contribution the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/data-and-human-rights" target="_blank">data and human rights</a>. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/michael-caster/para-fortalecer-la-seguridad-digital-de-los-defensores-de-derechos-h" target="_blank">Español</a></strong></em>. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/michael-caster" target="_blank">简体中文</a></strong></em><strong>.</strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Most conversation about digital security for human rights defenders (HRDs) tends to focus on privacy and data protection. This is necessary, but what good is a strong passphrase or Virtual Private Network (VPN) when you are at risk of enforced disappearance and torture by the police? In such situations, even the most seasoned HRD is likely to give up access. A strong digital security strategy adds to protection from physical threats, but for many HRDs operating in hostile environments such threats are sadly inescapable and protection strategies need to be more practical.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">The typical emphasis on privacy and data protection means that conventional digital security thinking often stresses technical advice for communication security to prevent detection and HRD detention.</p><p dir="ltr">The typical emphasis on privacy and data protection means that conventional digital security thinking often stresses technical advice for communication security to prevent detection and HRD detention. But technical tools only extend so far after an HRD is detained or subjected to torture by police intent on gaining access. I know very tech savvy HRDs who have quickly given over their passphrases at the threat of torture. No one can judge them. In such horrific, and sadly common, scenarios, a more holistic approach to digital security is needed.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"><img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/CasterMay.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br /> Max Pixel/Some rights reserved </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Through ongoing support for local initiatives that take a practical approach to digital security, the hope is that more secure behavior will develop in tandem with technology for the authentic holistic security of HRDs in hostile environments.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, addressed these multiple insecurities in a February 2016 <a target="_blank" href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=1&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjhlaH2r57TAhWLOY8KHXEKCUAQFgggMAA&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ohchr.org%2FEN%2FHRBodies%2FHRC%2FRegularSessions%2FSession31%2FDocuments%2FA%20HRC%2031%2055_E.docx&amp;usg=AFQjCNHfSkeeO5Qn6gNhr0unpo4uFKZALg&amp;bvm=bv.152180690,d.c2I&amp;cad=rja">report</a>, calling for HRDs to foster a culture of ‘holistic security’ that interlinks physical security with digital security and psychosocial well-being. The notion of ‘holistic security’ has been gaining traction in HRD protection frameworks since before 2016 but often in otherwise compartmentalized ways.</p><p dir="ltr">On the ground, however, this often means transplanting digital security tools from one context into another alongside other physical or psychosocial strategies, and thinking less holistically about the physical and psychosocial realities of digital security. </p><p>This problem is crucial for HRDs operating within authoritarian regimes and shrinking civic spaces, where absent the rule of law there are no such legal protections as habeas corpus, the right to counsel, or freedom from torture. And, as Zara Rahman <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/zara-rahman/fine-print-seeing-beyond-hype-in-technology-for-human-rights">recently articulated</a>, “technologies are sometimes mentioned or adopted not because they are the most strategic or necessarily useful tools for the job,” but due to uninformed pressure.</p><p dir="ltr">Take the most common technical advice offered for enhancing digital security: encryption. Most digital security literature recommends, among others, encryption tools like Protonmail, Signal Messenger, or Vera Crypt. Such tools are necessary but insufficient. Yes, encryption done right ensures that only the intended parties have access, protecting data from third-party monitoring, except the most sophisticated and time-intensive intrusion efforts. But this only offers short-term security in authoritarian regimes.</p><p dir="ltr">For several years, I have been working with rights defenders in China, and elsewhere, to develop practical approaches to various protection challenges, including digital security. The project I’m part of is based on the active participation of local feedback groups among the target beneficiaries, and is ongoing with support from <a target="_blank" href="https://rsf.org/en">Reporters Without Borders</a> and others. Initial conclusions of this project arguably offer transferrable value for HRDs in other repressive environments.</p><p dir="ltr">After considerable reflection, my collaborators and I have found that more attention to behavior is critical in providing digital security for HRDs in hostile environments. This means addressing how HRDs relate to and act with the digital security tools they choose to use, how HRDs understand local realities, and how HRDs are supported (or not) based on their specific contexts and threats. This can be called localizing a behavioral approach to digital security.</p><p dir="ltr">Here are a few examples for securing behavior from our work so far.</p><p dir="ltr">For practical purposes, relying on secure communication tools is important under authoritarianism but, once in detention the concern is less about preventing access than limiting what is accessible. HRDs should adopt dedicated emails for work and maintain a Zero Inbox Policy—that is, always deleting content, either manually or through automatic destruction such as offered in Protonmail, or Signal and Telegram for chat-based communication. This should be standard HRD communication behavior.</p><p>Another, often-overlooked behavioral issue, is how HRDs delete sensitive information. Encrypting sensitive data from intrusion is meaningless if it is left easily accessible after deletion through file recovery programs. Several HRDs I spoke with recounted that during police interrogations they were questioned based on whole or partially recovered documents they had thought they had deleted. In short, the way we usually ‘delete’ something does not necessarily delete anything.</p><p dir="ltr">Ultimately, any approach to digital security must combine increasing security with a realistic understanding of what behavior is practical. For example, realistically, most people aren’t going to remember the login information to sign into every account they hold, including for shopping or friendly chatting. They would be happy for some passphrases or account details to be saved, and would quickly abandon a procedure that requires otherwise. As such, one of the most practical behavioral approaches is maintaining a dual browser strategy. HRDs should keep one browser, say Firefox, for all rights defense work. Here they use the relevant browser extensions and conventional best practices, with automatic erasure upon exit. On the other hand, they should keep a separate personal browser for entertainment, say Chrome or Opera, in which, for example, non-sensitive passwords can be saved for easy use.</p><p dir="ltr">The approach should also be local. This means language localization, as far too many technical tools remain available only with English language interfaces, but above all it means contextualization and regionalization. This is in line with a recent <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/danna-ingleton/ethics-technology-and-human-rights-navigating-new-roads">piece</a> by Danna Ingleton, on the importance of recognizing agency and centralizing the experiences of HRDs in their own protection.</p><p dir="ltr">In this sense, developing practical digital security strategy requires extending a greater degree of agency to the HRDs who are most affected and who will most benefit. One way to achieve this is for donors to support the creation of local feedback groups, which has been the foundation of the project I have been involved with, whether to inform the creation of new versions of existing digital security guidebooks, identify the most practical behavior for how technology is used, or devise bottom up advise for institutional support.</p><p>Through ongoing support for local initiatives that take a practical approach to digital security, the hope is that more secure behavior will develop in tandem with technology for the authentic holistic security of HRDs in hostile environments.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/data-and-human-rights" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_2.png'"> <img width="140" alt="“Data" border="0" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/danna-ingleton/ethics-technology-and-human-rights-navigating-new-roads">Ethics, technology and human rights: navigating new roads </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/zara-rahman/fine-print-seeing-beyond-hype-in-technology-for-human-rights">The fine print: seeing beyond the hype in technology for human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/zara-rahman-johnny-west-lila-caballero/why-local-power-and-self-interest-can-be-good-for-transparenc">Why local power and self-interest can be good for transparency</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/ana-bracic/discrimination-in-action-value-of-experiments-in-human-rights">Discrimination in action: the value of experiments in human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/gulnaz-anjum-adam-chilton/using-experiments-to-improve-women-s-rights-in-pakistan">Using experiments to improve women’s rights in Pakistan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/michele-leiby-matthew-krain/human-rights-lab-using-experiments-to-craft-effective-m">The human rights lab: using experiments to craft effective messaging</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/merrill-sovner/how-new-data-can-and-can-t-support-academic-research">How new data can—and can’t—support academic research</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Michael Caster East and South-East Asia Data and Human Rights Tue, 09 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Michael Caster 110681 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Following orders: how expectations might reduce human rights abuses https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/yonatan-lupu/following-orders-how-expectations-might-reduce-human-rights-abuses <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/LupuMay.png" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Understanding the logic of expectations could help us predict why some people follow orders to violate human rights—and others don’t. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/yonatan-lupu/cumpliendo-rdenes-c-mo-las-expectativas-podr-reducir-las-violaciones-d" target="_blank">Español</a></em></strong>.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">In attempting to reduce human rights abuses, both academics and practitioners focus on two mechanisms that can, at least at times, lead to respect for human rights. First, when social norms change, individuals may come to see themselves as human rights compliers or respecters and may come to view some government practices as improper. This is the logic of appropriateness. Second, legal rules, when enforced, can impose costly sanctions on those who violate human rights. This is the logic of consequences.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Leaders do not generally commit human rights abuses themselves; they order them.</p><p dir="ltr"><span style="text-align: center;">In </span><a style="text-align: center;" href="http://yonatanlupu.com/Dragu%20Lupu%20Nov%202016.pdf" target="_blank">our research</a><span style="text-align: center;">, </span><a style="text-align: center;" href="https://wp.nyu.edu/tiberiu_dragu/" target="_blank">Tiberiu Dragu</a><span style="text-align: center;"> and I use a game-theory model to argue that a third mechanism can also work to improve human rights practices under certain conditions: the logic of expectations. A key point in developing this logic is that leaders do not generally commit human rights abuses themselves; they order them. The leader’s agents—be they military, police, or other security agents—are tasked with violations, and whether they follow those orders depends in part on whether they expect others to do so.</span></p><p dir="ltr">Let us conduct a thought experiment. Put yourself in the shoes of a soldier in an authoritarian leader’s army. Protestors are in the streets en masse, and your unit has been ordered to fire on them. If the protest is put down, your boss will stay in power; otherwise, he might be deposed. You must quickly choose whether or not to obey the order.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/LupuMay.png" width="444" /> <br />Wiki Commons/Abkhazian Network News Agency (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A Syrian army sniper.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Perhaps you believe that firing on unarmed civilians is wrong, in which case you might revolt. But what would happen to you if the rest of your unit fires and you don’t? You might be next to face the firing line. Your deeply held norms may not be strong enough to prevent you from firing, especially if you expect that others don’t share them.</p><p dir="ltr">Perhaps you believe that firing on unarmed civilians could expose you to future legal sanctions. &nbsp;If the other soldiers obey the order, the protest will likely be put down, and the regime will remain in place. &nbsp;In that event, &nbsp;a leader is unlikely to put his own troops on trial for following his orders. Similarly, if you do follow the order to fire but no one else does, the regime may be toppled and you could face trial under the new regime (if the protestors don’t get to you first). </p><p dir="ltr">In both cases, your decision depends, in part, on what you expect the other soldiers to do. This is the heart of the logic of expectations. Individuals act, in part, on what they expect others to do. In the scenario above, even if you don’t hold human rights norms, you might disobey the order to fire if you think others hold such norms. Likewise, even if you don’t expect to face consequences for firing on civilians, you might disobey the order if you believe others have such expectations. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The idea underlying our work is hardly new to social science. In game theory, this type of scenario is referred to as a coordination game; its wide-ranging applications to business, politics, and social life have been studied by scholars such as Russell Hardin, David Lewis, and Barry Weingast. In 1960, <a href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674840317" target="_blank">Thomas Schelling</a> wrote of an experiment he conducted with his students. They were given a hypothetical scenario in which they were to meet another person somewhere in New York City. The students were asked where they would go to meet this person if the location were not explicitly known to them. The most common answer was Grand Central Terminal. Why? Schelling argued this location was not necessarily preferable to others. Instead, students answered Grand Central because they expected the other person to expect to meet there. In this scenario, Grand Central is what Schelling calls a focal point: a choice individuals make because they expect others to make it. </p><p dir="ltr">The logic of expectations applies this concept to the human rights context. The central implication of our argument is that the logic of expectations can reduce &nbsp;rights abuses to the extent that respect for rights protection becomes a focal point among those who have the potential to abuse human rights: government operatives, agents, and soldiers. </p><p dir="ltr">This has important implications for human rights advocacy. The potential effects of advocacy are not limited to persuading individuals that human rights abuses are immoral or that such abuses could lead to negative consequences. Advocacy could be highly effective to the extent it can be used to make government agents believe that other government agents expect to face legal sanctions or hold norms against human rights norms. </p><p dir="ltr">This means that messaging could focus on influencing regime agents’ beliefs about their peers. Publicizing examples of disobedience among security forces may be especially effective. </p><p dir="ltr">But governments can also play the game. Authoritarian leaders, in particular, seem to have an intuition for the kind of argument we make. They organize their security forces in ways that prevent disobedience from becoming focal, like the multiple layers of security forces in the Saddam Hussein regime. They also try to control the information available to their forces, such as when Syria's Bashar al-Assad created a housing complex in a suburb of Damascus specifically for military officers. Among other things, this type of structure can prevent advocacy from reaching its targets.</p><p>As many in the human rights community are well-aware, information is crucial. Getting the message to the right audience is often a key challenge. While the logic of expectations does not provide a solution to this problem directly, it helps deepen our understanding of how and when information can be effective in reducing repression.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href=" https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img width="140" src=" https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/openPagesidebox.png &#10;" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow-jos-kaire-and-james-ron/monetizing-human-rights-brand">Monetizing the human rights “brand”</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/laurence-janta-lipinski/know-thy-audience-effective-messaging-in-human-rights-campa">Know thy audience: effective messaging in human rights campaigns</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nat-kendalltaylor/why-framing-matters%E2%80%94and-polls-only-give-you-so-much">Why framing matters—and polls only give you so much </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-jos-kaire/ordinary-people-will-pay-for-rights-we-asked-them">Ordinary people will pay for rights. We asked them</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/joachim-j-savelsberg/how-we-talk-about-mass-violence-cultural-effects-of-darfur-cam">How we talk about mass violence: the cultural effects of Darfur campaigns</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-krys/in-uk-public-discourse-undermines-support-for-human-rights">In the UK, public discourse undermines support for human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nat-kendall-taylor/to-advance-more-humane-refugee-policies-we-must-reframe-debate">To advance more humane refugee policies, we must reframe the debate</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Yonatan Lupu Middle East & North Africa Mon, 08 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Yonatan Lupu 110674 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Discrimination in action: the value of experiments in human rights https://www.opendemocracy.net/ana-bracic/discrimination-in-action-value-of-experiments-in-human-rights <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/friday piece.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>A video game experiment in Slovenia reveals discriminatory practices against the Roma—what else might experiments teach us about human rights? A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on&nbsp;<a rel="tag" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/social-science-experiments-human-rights" target="_blank">Social Science Experiments &amp; Human Rights</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Although many rights advocates might be wary of experiments, this form of inquiry can offer valuable insights to our understanding of human rights. Take, for example, the common strategy of discrediting reports of discrimination by saying that the disparate treatment was justified. Many widely held prejudices—such as women not being suitable for the hard sciences, or black American men being “predisposed” to criminality, or the Roma all being cheaters and thieves—are frequently used to justify discrimination. And as ludicrous as these claims are, demonstrating that such treatment is not justified can be quite challenging.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">In the case of the Roma, quantitative data that might reveal discrimination are either not collected or not available to human rights researchers.</p><p dir="ltr">In the case of the Roma, for example, quantitative data that might reveal discrimination are either not collected or not available to human rights researchers. Asking non-Roma people directly whether they discriminate against the Roma likely won’t yield accurate results; direct questions after all, get at what people say they do, rather than what they actually do. Asking Roma to report discrimination is similarly problematic. Such questions might be upsetting, or people might not want to report discrimination because they fear reprisals. Others might be embarrassed, or perhaps some are so used to disparate treatment that they don’t recognize discrimination for what it is.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"><img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/friday piece.jpg" width="444" /> <br /> World Bank Photo Collection/Some rights reserved </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Among some non-Roma in Europe, discussions on cooperation for sustaining public goods often label the Roma as cheaters and thieves.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">How, then, do we capture discrimination? I have been using video game experiments to try and study such behavior. I began by examining a basic building block of a thriving community: cooperation. When members of a community cooperate, life is better for everyone. With public goods such as clean air, national public radio, or a neighborhood watch, everyone can benefit, regardless of whether they help sustain them. If, however, &nbsp;no one contributes to keeping them up, the goods will eventually peter out.</p><p dir="ltr">Among some non-Roma in Europe, discussions on cooperation for sustaining public goods often label the Roma as cheaters and thieves. The Roma have been stereotyped as such for centuries, and regardless of how individual Roma behave or have behaved in the past, the stereotype persists. While non-Roma view other non-Roma as good citizens who cooperate to help sustain public goods, they view <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/1104093/exiting-eu-may-be-the-only-way-britain-can-dump-gypsy-gangsters-building-lavish-mansions-with-your-cash/" target="_blank">Roma as takers</a>, or free riders who benefit from the good without contributing to its upkeep. As a result, some non-Roma are less interested in contributing to a public good when Roma stand to benefit from it. Often, they do not seem to consider such behavior as discrimination, because they think that the Roma deserve disparate treatment. That is, if you don’t trust a cheater you’re not discriminating—you are merely avoiding being cheated. This intractable viewpoint is profoundly damaging as it not only contributes to the negative reputation of an entire minority but it also excuses abuse. This is the notion I put to a test. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Last year, I found that <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/ana-bracic/discrimination-cooperation-and-building-communities" target="_blank">Roma people were less likely</a> to contribute to the public good if they had experienced discrimination. I then wanted to test the opposite: is it true that Roma behavior is the cause of discrimination against the Roma?</p><p dir="ltr">To find an answer, I constructed an experiment that simulates a public goods scenario like those described above. In the game, a participant and seven other simulated players (avatars) build a tower. They do this over 12 rounds. The more people help build the tower, the better off everyone is. Since everyone benefits from the rising tower, regardless of contributing, and since contributing is costly, the temptation to not contribute (and still benefit) is high. Contributing, however, makes all players better off. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Using these simulated avatar players allowed me to assign different identities and thus create a control and treatment group. In one version of the game, all of the avatars were members of the majority group. In a second version, half of them were members of the majority group and half were Roma. Everything else, including how those avatars behaved, was exactly the same.</p><p dir="ltr">To conduct the study, I recruited non-Roma participants from a Slovene town to play the videogame, and paid them a small honorarium; they knew it was a videogame and that the other players were simulated. I wanted to see how often they would contribute to the public good in the two scenarios.</p><p dir="ltr">If it is true that non-Roma do not discriminate, or, as popularly claimed, they only treat Roma differently because the Roma “cheat” or free ride, non-Roma behavior in this videogame should be the same in both scenarios. The avatars, after all, contributed identical amounts to the public good, which participants saw—the only thing about them that differed was their ethnic identity. Even if initial behaviors of non-Roma participants were informed by their expectations that the Roma would cheat, they had time to learn that this was not the case and could adjust their behavior. If, however, non-Roma gave the ethnic identity of the avatars more weight than they did to the information on how those avatars behaved, they might have still discriminated.</p><p dir="ltr">How did the non-Roma participants behave? In this medium-sized Slovene town, non-Roma widely discriminated against the Roma. When all avatars were non-Roma, a participant would on average contribute to the tower 78% of the time. When half of the avatars were Roma, s/he would contribute significantly less: on average, 59% of the time. There was no learning—even as participants had the opportunity to observe that the Roma avatars were contributing to the tower as much as non-Roma avatars did, they did not adjust their contributions. This, then, suggests that Roma behavior is not the cause of discrimination against the Roma. Instead, it seems that the Roma identity invites mistreatment.</p><p dir="ltr">The experimental set-up allowed me to capture non-Roma discriminating against the Roma under circumstances that left no room for doubt as to why. But how might these methods be used in other contexts? There are contentious debates about whether women are underrepresented in the hard sciences because of merit or some form of discrimination—scholars have used experimental methods to show that these disparities are <a href="http://www.pnas.org/content/109/41/16474.short" target="_blank">not based on merit</a>. Similarly, experiments have demonstrated that <a href="http://www.popmatters.com/review/marked-by-devah-pager/" target="_blank">black men without a criminal history face discrimination</a> strong enough to put their odds of getting a job equivalent to those of white men who had been in prison. Experiments have shown that a <a href="https://18798-presscdn-pagely.netdna-ssl.com/ericarias/wp-content/uploads/sites/641/2017/04/AriasCommonKnowledge.pdf" target="_blank">public broadcast of a soap opera</a> raising awareness on violence against women can bolster rejection of such violence. Finally, experiments have also given insight into how to reduce human trafficking; for example, when individuals feel deprived relative to those who live around them, they can be more risk-seeking, putting themselves and their children at <a href="http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11109-017-9401-0" target="_blank">greater risk for exploitation</a>. These problems are not easy for policymakers to solve. But experiments can help provide the tools to know where to start.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><p><i>***Author’s note: A couple of months ago, Will Moore asked me to contribute this post. At the time, it seemed fitting to write about this particular project as I began working on it after a series of conversations I had with Will in 2013. To me, Will was a role model and I am grateful for every bit of advice he gave me. I cherished his honesty. I'm honored to contribute to this series, now dedicated to him. And I promise to pay it forward.</i></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/data-and-human-rights" target="_blank"> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png" border="0" alt="“Data" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/ana-bracic/discrimination-cooperation-and-building-communities">Discrimination, cooperation, and building communities</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow-jos-kaire-and-james-ron/monetizing-human-rights-brand">Monetizing the human rights “brand”</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/gulnaz-anjum-adam-chilton/using-experiments-to-improve-women-s-rights-in-pakistan">Using experiments to improve women’s rights in Pakistan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/michele-leiby-matthew-krain/human-rights-lab-using-experiments-to-craft-effective-m">The human rights lab: using experiments to craft effective messaging</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-jos-kaire/ordinary-people-will-pay-for-rights-we-asked-them">Ordinary people will pay for rights. We asked them</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/ana-bracic-amanda-murdie/to-discredit-victims-call-them-terrorists">To discredit victims, call them terrorists</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Ana Bracic Eastern Europe and Russia Social Science Experiments & Human Rights Data and Human Rights Fri, 05 May 2017 07:30:00 +0000 Ana Bracic 110618 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Monetizing the human rights “brand” https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/david-crow-jos-kaire-and-james-ron/monetizing-human-rights-brand <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/David et. al_0.jpeg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Marketing research can help Mexican rights groups monetize their “brand” and boost public donations. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on&nbsp;<a rel="tag" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/social-science-experiments-human-rights" target="_blank">Social Science Experiments &amp; Human Rights</a>. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/david-crow-jos-kaire-y-james-ron/c-mo-monetizar-la-marca-de-los-derechos-humanos" target="_blank">Español</a></em></strong>.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">About 54% of Mexican adults—over 44 million people—<a target="_blank" href="http://interamericanos.itam.mx/working_papers/Layton_donaciones.pdf">report having donated</a> to the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.teleton.org/home/index">Teletón</a> and other big Mexican charity fundraisers. In 2012, the Teletón, which helps disabled children, raised some <a target="_blank" href="http://archivo.eluniversal.com.mx/notas/888869.html">$472.5 million</a> Mexican pesos, roughly $35.5 million USD. Yet, <a target="_blank" href="https://jamesron.com/documents/hro-report-mexico.pdf">only 4% </a>of Mexican adults report having ever given money to a human rights organization (HRO) of any kind, at any point in their lives.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">Mexicans feel warmly towards the phrase “human rights”, trust rights groups, and reject claims that human rights are a foreign imposition.</p><p dir="ltr">Why do Mexicans—like so many other people worldwide—give less to rights groups than other organizations? We know it is not because of their beliefs and attitudes; <a target="_blank" href="https://jamesron.com/documents/hro-report-mexico.pdf">our survey research clearly shows</a> that &nbsp;Mexicans feel warmly towards the phrase “human rights”, trust rights groups, and reject claims that human rights are a foreign imposition.</p><p dir="ltr">Nor is it true that Mexicans are too poor to donate. The World Bank <a target="_blank" href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/mexico">classifies</a> Mexico as an “upper middle income country”, and it has been a member of the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.oecd.org/">OECD</a>, a rich-country club, since 1994. Some Mexicans are poor, of course, but others have disposable income. Besides, poor people are sometimes far <a target="_blank" href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2001/dec/21/voluntarysector.fundraising">more generous</a>, relative to their incomes, than the wealthy.&nbsp;</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"><img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/David et. al_0.jpeg" width="444" /> <br /> James Ron (All Rights Reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">An enumerator prepares to conduct the survey experiment in Mexico City, June 2016.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Research shows that <a target="_blank" href="https://www.cemefi.org/">Mexicans do in fact donate</a> to all manner of groups and causes, like many other publics worldwide. They are not the most generous of donors, globally speaking; the&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="https://www.cafonline.org/docs/default-source/about-us-publications/1950a_wgi_2016_report_web_v2_241016.pdf?sfvrsn=4">World Giving Index recently ranked</a>&nbsp;Mexico at 105 of 140 countries in the “donating money" category. Still, Mexicans donate; in 2016, according to our research, 15% of Mexico City residents said they had donated to parent-teacher associations, while 14% had donated to religious organizations. Only 6%, however, reported having donated to a human rights organization of any kind, broadly defined.</p><p dir="ltr">One reason Mexicans don’t donate to rights groups is because of the way these NGOs <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-jos-kaire/ordinary-people-will-pay-for-rights-we-asked-them">market themselves</a>. Many emphasize testimonials from individual victims; our study, however, showed that evidence of fiscal transparency and effectiveness would do better. The bigger story, though, is <a target="_blank" href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09692290.2015.1095780">&nbsp;habit</a>: human rights groups simply aren’t on Mexicans’ everyday radars as logical recipients of routine charitable giving.</p><p dir="ltr">Can the Mexican public’s donation habits be changed? To find out, we explored the effects of what we call the human rights “brand”. Marketers think of brands as the sights, sounds and ideas that consumers associate with value. Human rights organizations in Mexico have good reputations, but are not the only organizations vying for Mexicans’ pocketbooks. Large corporations often establish charitable foundations such as the Teletón, and many Mexicans give to religious organizations. Our first question, then, is this: in Mexico, how does the human rights brand compare to those of the corporate and religious sector?</p><p dir="ltr">Of course, rights NGOs also compete with one another. Extending our marketing analogy, potential Mexican donors can choose among multiple “product lines” within the human rights “brand,” including political rights, women’s rights, LGBT rights, and more. Thus, our second question is: which human rights advocacy areas can attract the most donations? &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Non-profit groups everywhere are also distinguished by their decision to either offer direct support to persons in need (for example, giving cash to needy families) or to work on long-term policy and legal change. In our Mexico City focus groups, for example, many told us they prefer the direct assistance of the Mexican Red Cross to the more indirect work of public policy advocates. As a result, we identified our third question: will Mexicans donate to policy-focused rights NGOs?</p><p dir="ltr">To investigate these questions (human rights “brand value”, the appeal of different advocacy areas, and charitable assistance vs. structural change), the <a target="_blank" href="https://jamesron.com/hrpp/">Human Rights Perceptions Polls</a> at the University of Minnesota teamed up with the Mexican public research center, <a target="_blank" href="http://cide.edu/">CIDE</a> to conduct a face-to-face, representative survey of 960 Mexico City inhabitants in July 2016, with financial support from the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/">Open Society Foundations</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Our survey contained an experiment designed to find out which organizational types are most likely to inspire donations. We presented each respondent with two sets of four hypothetical organizations and asked them to distribute $100 imaginary pesos among the four groups in each set. We varied the organizations’ attributes to see which garnered the most donations. This experiment simulates the actual choices a potential donor, or consumer, might make when faced with the need to make real decisions (it is known in market research as “<a target="_blank" href="https://www.surveyanalytics.com/conjoint/choice-based-conjoint.html">choice-based conjoint analysis</a>”).</p><p dir="ltr">We varied our hypothetical organizations on three attributes. The first was “brand”, identifying groups either as a Mexican organization of “lay Catholics” (religious brand), “business leaders” (corporate brand), “movement of Mexican citizens” (social movement brand), or “Mexican human rights organization” (human rights brand).</p><p dir="ltr">Our second attribute was “issue”, noting that organizations worked either on women’s rights, LGBT rights, access to clean water, or forced disappearances, all prominent themes in Mexico. Finally, our third attribute was “activity”: organizations were either engaged in direct relief activities, such as providing economic support to persons in need, or strategic activities, such as pressuring authorities to punish rights abusers. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">We found that “human rights” and “social movements” were the most successful brands. The average donation to human rights-branded groups, regardless of issues or activities, was $26.30 pesos. Social movement-branded groups were slightly higher, at &nbsp;$27.84, and the two lowest were $22.03 for the corporate-branded and $19.77 for the religious-branded. In Mexico City, in other words, the “human rights” brand offers a real competitive advantage. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/image3.png"><img width="460" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/image3.png" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr">Not all rights groups were equally successful, though. The most heavily rewarded issue area was “access to potable water”, with $28.50 pesos, on average, followed by “women’s rights”, a close second ($27.16). The runners-up were Mexican groups combatting forced disappearances ($24.51) and struggling for LGBT rights ($15.71).&nbsp;</p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;" target="_blank" href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Crow2.png"><img width="460" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Crow2.png" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr">Encouragingly, we found that in Mexico City, rights groups can be successful either by committing to short-term assistance or by engaging in long-term advocacy. Average hypothetical contributions to direct relief organizations were only marginally higher, by $2.12 pesos, than contributions to organizations that pressured the government to prosecute abusers. The difference was statistically significant but small.</p><p dir="ltr">It is not news to say that different people support different issues and organizations. Our experiment puts meat on those spare bones, showing that human rights organizations can successfully compete in the Mexico City charitable donations market, and demonstrating which issues are likely to attract more money.</p><p>Monetizing the human rights “brand” will require new financial and cognitive investments in staff, fundraising techniques, communications abilities, donation modalities, accounting systems, and &nbsp;more. Our research suggests these investments will be worth the effort. &nbsp;</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/public-opinion-and-human-rights" target="_blank"> <img src="//opendemocracy.net/files/Public_opinion_Inset_1.jpg" border="0" alt="Public opinion and human rights – Read on" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_1.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src='http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_2.png'" target="_blank" href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/funding-for-human-rights"> <img alt="Funding for human rights – Read on" border="0" name="Imgs" width="140" src="http://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Funding_Inset_1.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-jos-kaire/ordinary-people-will-pay-for-rights-we-asked-them">Ordinary people will pay for rights. We asked them</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-crow/mapping-human-rights-skepticism-in-mexico">Mapping human rights skepticism in Mexico </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow/human-rights-groups-are-secretly-us-agents-true-or-false">Human rights groups are secretly US agents. True or false?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-david-crow-archana-pandya/datadriven-optimism-for-global-r">Data-driven optimism for global rights activists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-shannon-golden-rachid-touhtou/for-moroccan-rights-groups-good-reputations">For Moroccan rights groups, good reputations aren’t enough</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meriem-el-haitami-shannon-golden-james-ron/partners-in-prayer-women%27s-rights-and-re">Partners in prayer: women&#039;s rights and religion in Morocco</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-archana-pandya/universal-values-foreign-money-local-human-rights-organiza">Universal values, foreign money: local human rights organizations in the Global South</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights James Ron José Kaire David Crow Central and South America, & the Caribbean Social Science Experiments & Human Rights Public Opinion and Human Rights Funding for Human Rights Thu, 04 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 David Crow, José Kaire and James Ron 110563 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Using experiments to improve women’s rights in Pakistan https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/gulnaz-anjum-adam-chilton/using-experiments-to-improve-women-s-rights-in-pakistan <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Anjum and ChiltonMay.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Experiments on support for women’s rights in Pakistan could improve the implementation and enforcement of UN treaties. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on&nbsp;<a rel="tag" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/social-science-experiments-human-rights" target="_blank">Social Science Experiments &amp; Human Rights</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Improving women’s rights is important across the globe, but it is of utmost importance in countries like Pakistan. Even though Pakistan was the first Islamic country to have a female head of the state (Benazir Bhutto) and is the home of the youngest female Noble Laureate (Malala Yousafzai), it was <a target="_blank" href="https://www.dawn.com/news/1292347">recently ranked 143 out of 144 countries</a> for gender equality by the World Economic Forum. Women in Pakistan not only regularly experience threats to their safety in the form of rape, assault, and domestic violence, but they are also frequently murdered by their own relatives in so-called “honor killings”.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">One of the primary goals of the international human rights movement is to eliminate this kind of violence.</p><p dir="ltr">One of the primary goals of the international human rights movement is to eliminate this kind of violence; indeed, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was created to outline countries’ obligations to women, and the United Nations (UN) regularly issues reports on the ways that countries need to change their policies to live up to their treaty commitments. </p><p>However, despite all the effort that has been put into the creation of CEDAW and the related UN reports, it’s still not clear whether these steps have helped to improve the rights of women around the world. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/eric-posner/twilight-of-human-rights-law">Many scholars</a> have attempted to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/wade-m-cole/international-treaty-on-economic-and-social-rights-has-positive-impacts">research treaty compliance</a>, and some have suggested that in certain cases <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-blog/emilie-hafnerburton/beyond-law-%E2%80%93-towards-more-effective-strategies-for-protect">human rights actually get worse</a> after a treaty is signed. In the case of CEDAW, <a target="_blank" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_on_the_Elimination_of_All_Forms_of_Discrimination_Against_Women">189 of 193 members of the UN have ratified CEDAW</a>, making it difficult to compare countries that have and have not become states parties to the convention. But even if a sufficient “control group” existed, there would be the problem that <a target="_blank" href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajps.12033/abstract">countries self-select into treaty regimes</a>. Additionally, comparing data <a target="_blank" href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2815272">before and after</a> a country ratifies an agreement is problematic due to the many potential confounding variables or long-running trends that pre-date UN treaties. Finally, the ways that organizations <a target="_blank" href="http://cfariss.com/documents/Fariss2014APSR.pdf">measure human rights violations</a>—and the type and quality of data available—have changed substantially over the last few decades, adding a further complication to assessing change over time.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Anjum and ChiltonMay.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />uusc4all (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Even though Pakistan was the first Islamic country to have a female head of the state (Benazir Bhutto) and is the home of the youngest female Noble Laureate (Malala Yousafzai), it was recently ranked 143 out of 144 countries for gender equality by the World Economic Forum. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Given the difficulty of assessing the effectiveness of CEDAW and other international human rights treaties with conventional data, researchers have recently begun to use experiments <a target="_blank" href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2615143">to test the likely effects</a> of these agreements. The idea is that experiments can be designed to test existing theories about how and why international treaties might change countries’ behavior.</p><p dir="ltr">For instance, one theory—usually attributed to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521712323">political scientist Beth Simmons</a>—suggests that when people learn that a particular policy is based on international human rights law, they will become more likely to support it. A finding that UN endorsement of a policy increases public support would lend credibility to the idea that treaties and the United Nations efforts are making a difference.</p><p dir="ltr">To test this theory, we conducted <a target="_blank" href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2736680">an experiment in Pakistan</a> from December 2014 to January 2015 in which our team of researchers recruited 614 people to take an in-person survey. Since the safety of our team was a major concern, we focused on recruiting students and teachers on the campuses of universities in Islamabad (the capital of Pakistan) to take our survey. This means that our sample was not representative of the overall population of Pakistan, but we do think that it is made up of the people most likely to change their minds based on United Nations proposals.</p><p dir="ltr">The heart of our survey was a series of questions on four proposals that a recent UN report had recommended that Pakistan adopt in order to improve women’s rights. Those proposals were to: (1) increase the quota allocated for women in the national and provincial legislators; (2) end the practice of allowing perpetrators of so-called “honor” crimes to negotiate pardons from their victims; (3) raise the age at which girls are allowed to marry from 16 to 18; and (4) repeat polls in precincts where women cast less than 10% of votes in an election. After telling people about each proposal, we asked if they agreed with each policy on a five-point scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree (see Figure 1).</p><p dir="ltr"><b>Figure 1: Responses to the Experiment on Women’s Rights</b></p> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic;"><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/graphmay.png" target="_blank" style="text-decoration: underline; font-size: 13px; font-style: normal; line-height: 19.5px; text-align: center;"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/graphmay.png" width="460" /></a></div> <p dir="ltr">Using random selection, half of the sample were told that the proposals were from the UN, while the others were just asked about the proposal without learning where it came from. As the above figure shows, being told the proposal came from the UN increased support for each of the four proposals. While 48% of people in the control group “somewhat” or “strongly” agreed with the four proposals, this rose to 65% when were told that the proposal came from the UN. While this increase is substantial, it was also concentrated among those who had confidence in the UN. Those who did not have confidence in the UN were not responsive to being told about the UN role in the proposals.</p><p dir="ltr">Although our experiment did find evidence that awareness of the United Nations’ role in formulating a policy increased stated support for four specific policies to improve women’s rights, this finding has clear limitations. Our experiment only tested one topic area (women’s rights), in one country (Pakistan), on a narrow group of people (educated and urban respondents). Future research is needed to test whether the effects are generalizable more broadly. But we do think our research helps to illustrate how the international human rights movement can begin to use experiments to test the effectiveness of their efforts. </p><p>And there is reason to be hopeful that policy recommendations from the UN are having a positive impact on Pakistan. First, one of Pakistan’s largest provinces, Punjab, <a target="_blank" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protection_of_Women_Against_Violence_Bill_2015">enacted a new law in 2016</a> designed to protect women from violence. Despite the initial resistance, this historic achievement has been increasing optimism that it might improve outcomes for women a province in which <a target="_blank" href="http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-rights-women-idUSKCN0VY1QE">74% of the country’s violent crimes</a> were reported in 2013. Second, <a target="_blank" href="https://tribune.com.pk/story/1195120/new-laws-pakistan-one-step-closer-curbing-rape-honour-killing-women/">the National Assembly of Pakistan passed two bills,</a> one to curb the crimes of rape, and another to restrain honor killings. We can’t say for sure whether the UN endorsement made a difference in the passage of these pieces of legislation, but it is possible that international efforts played a role in passing these laws that promise protection to millions of women.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_2.png'" target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/data-and-human-rights"> <img alt="“Data" border="0" name="Imgs" width="140" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/michele-leiby-matthew-krain/human-rights-lab-using-experiments-to-craft-effective-m">The human rights lab: using experiments to craft effective messaging</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/will-h-moore/is-public-opinion-effective-constraint-on-torture">Is public opinion an effective constraint on torture?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-jos-kaire/ordinary-people-will-pay-for-rights-we-asked-them">Ordinary people will pay for rights. We asked them</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/human-rights-data-used-wrong-way-can-be-misleading">Human rights data used the wrong way can be misleading</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/benjamin-valentino-ethan-weinberg/naming-crimes-genocide-and-public-opinion-in-unit">Naming crimes: genocide and public opinion in the United States</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/ana-bracic/discrimination-cooperation-and-building-communities">Discrimination, cooperation, and building communities</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/k-chad-clay/no-single-dataset-is-sufficient-for-understanding-human-rights-nor-shou">No single dataset is sufficient for understanding human rights, nor should it be</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Adam Chilton Gulnaz Anjum Middle East & North Africa Social Science Experiments & Human Rights Data and Human Rights Wed, 03 May 2017 08:45:00 +0000 Gulnaz Anjum and Adam Chilton 110531 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The human rights lab: using experiments to craft effective messaging https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/michele-leiby-matthew-krain/human-rights-lab-using-experiments-to-craft-effective-m <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Leiby and KrainMay_0.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">Framing issues in different ways can undermine or bolster support of human rights, and experiments can help to explain why. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a rel="tag" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/social-science-experiments-human-rights" target="_blank">Social Science Experiments &amp; Human Rights</a>.&nbsp;<strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/michele-leiby-matthew-krain/el-laboratorio-de-derechos-humanos-utilizar-experimento" target="_blank">Español</a>.</em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Human rights scholarship has seen an increase in the adoption of experimental research methods, particularly to understand the drivers of public opinion. For example, using experiments, scholars have highlighted the power of the media and framing on <a target="_blank" href="http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.467.1546&amp;rep=rep1&amp;type=pdf">social norms, prejudice</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-political-science-review/article/media-framing-of-a-civil-liberties-conflict-and-its-effect-on-tolerance/DDAAC100C1EEDDACFECF81751C38F7AC">tolerance</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://ecommons.udayton.edu/human_rights/2015/rethinkingrights/1/">respect for human rights</a>. Other experiments have shown that Americans support <a href="http://home.gwu.edu/~mallendo/mallendo/Research_files/Allendoerfer2016.pdf">cutting aid</a> to punish human rights violators, and that international <a target="_blank" href="http://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/cjil15&amp;div=9&amp;id=&amp;page=">human rights doctrines</a> affect state behavior by shifting public opinion on rights practices. </p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">Our own research&nbsp;uses experiments to examine what kinds of human rights advocacy campaigns succeed in changing people’s minds and mobilizing them to act.</p><p dir="ltr"><a target="_blank" href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-political-science-review/article/human-rights-organizations-as-agents-of-change-an-experimental-examination-of-framing-and-micromobilization/8CB4BD5905616E6E73E5A75C48136B2E">Our own research</a> uses experiments to examine what kinds of human rights advocacy campaigns succeed in changing people’s minds and mobilizing them to act. In the experiment, we designed mock campaigns (under the name of a fictitious human rights organization) to test the efficacy of the most common messaging strategies (or frames) used by human rights organizations. One third of the people who participated read a campaign ad with a personal frame, which emphasized an individual story of victimization. Another third read an informational frame designed to educate the audience on the issue. The final third read a motivational frame, emphasizing the audience’s agency to make change. &nbsp;</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"><img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Leiby and KrainMay.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br /> Agang South Africa/Some rights reserved </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> We found that personal frames were more likely to lead the audience to identify the abuse (in this case sleep deprivation during police interrogations) as a human rights violation and to sign a petition to end the practice. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Then, they all answered a series of questions to gauge their reactions to what they read, whether they recognize the described incident as a human rights violation, and whether they would participate in a direct action campaign to prevent future such abuses. We found that personal frames were more likely to lead the audience to identify the abuse (in this case sleep deprivation during police interrogations) as a human rights violation and to sign a petition to end the practice. In contrast, both the informational and motivational frames were generally ineffective at mobilizing human rights activism.</p><p dir="ltr">In a <a target="_blank" href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2053168017702988">follow-up study</a>, we found that, contrary to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/sds/docs/loewenstein/SympathyCallous.pdf">previous expectations</a>, the efficacy of personal narratives was not diminished (or enhanced) when the campaign used additional framing strategies simultaneously. </p><p>However, <a target="_blank" href="http://discover.wooster.edu/mkrain/files/2012/12/Ch3-McEntire-Leiby-Krain.pdf">in a third study</a> we discovered that when the aim of the campaign was to encourage pro-social giving (financial donations), information about the nature and scope of the human rights crisis, in addition to a personal story of victimization, was important.</p><p dir="ltr">Digging deeper, scholars have shown that the specific content and details of the personal story matter as well. For example, Courtenay Conrad and colleagues find that Americans are more <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/will-h-moore/is-public-opinion-effective-constraint-on-torture">supportive of the use of torture</a> when a victim is identified with an Arabic name, or when the interrogator is identified as a member of intelligence services, as compared with other scenarios. Ana Bracic and Amanda Murdie’s work shows that governments can discredit prisoners of conscience by <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/ana-bracic-amanda-murdie/to-discredit-victims-call-them-terrorists">framing them as terrorists</a>, thereby undermining efforts to protect their human rights.</p><p dir="ltr">Experiments, like those described here, are particularly valuable in that they can often uncover why some advocacy campaigns succeed while others fail (for the academics in the room, we’re referring to <a target="_blank" href="https://imai.princeton.edu/research/files/mediationP.pdf">“opening the black box” of causal mechanisms</a>). In <a target="_blank" href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-political-science-review/article/human-rights-organizations-as-agents-of-change-an-experimental-examination-of-framing-and-micromobilization/8CB4BD5905616E6E73E5A75C48136B2E">our own work</a>, for example, we have found that the key to personal narratives’ success is in the emotional response they elicit from the audience. The more empathy the audience feels for the victim, and the stronger their emotional reaction to the negative effects the abuse had on the victim’s life, the more likely it is that they will identify the practice as a violation of basic human rights, and take action to stop it. Our most recent study on gender tropes in human rights campaigns finds that <a target="_blank" href="http://ecommons.udayton.edu/human_rights/2015/framinghumanrights/4/">gendered narratives</a> of victims’ lives and experiences change the audience’s perceptions of the victim’s vulnerability and innocence. These perceptions, in turn, determine whether the audience recognizes the abuse as a human rights violation, and chooses to take action to end the practice. </p><p dir="ltr">More importantly, experimental research provides an opportunity for academics to provide a real service to the human rights community. Many human rights organizations do not have the time or resources to carefully vet their messaging strategies. This is a problem, since untested messaging campaigns may be ineffective, may backfire, or may have other, unintended, consequences. For example, Brendan Nyhan and colleagues find that campaigns aimed at correcting misinformation about the effects of vaccines actually <a target="_blank" href="http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/02/25/peds.2013-2365">increased some misperceptions</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264410X14015424">reduced the intent to vaccinate</a> for families most likely to not vaccinate their children. Similarly, critics have argued that efforts to advocate on behalf of “<a target="_blank" href="https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=SrYxwI0u2boC&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PP1&amp;dq=carpenter+women+children&amp;ots=wgM8oobjGd&amp;sig=pVynt_0KubIA4LWrVWluClReN1w#v=onepage&amp;q=carpenter women children&amp;f=false">innocent women and children</a>” have had the unintended consequence of leaving adult and adolescent men at greater risk and insecurity (see, for example, Charli Carpenter’s work <a target="_blank" href="https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=SrYxwI0u2boC&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PP1&amp;dq=carpenter+women+children&amp;ots=wgM8oobjGd&amp;sig=pVynt_0KubIA4LWrVWluClReN1w#v=onepage&amp;q=carpenter women children&amp;f=false">here</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://ernie.itpir.wm.edu/pdf/Articles/Constructivist/3693516.pdf">here</a>, and critiques by <a target="_blank" href="http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/we-need-to-stop-telling-ourselves-that-women-and-children-are-the-only-refugees-who-matter-10493332.html">Emily Cousens</a> and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.newstatesman.com/world/europe/2015/09/why-prioritising-women-and-children-refugee-crisis-terrible-idea">Jennifer Saul</a> of responses to the Syrian refugee crisis).</p><p dir="ltr">Human rights practitioners and scholars both have an interest in evidence-based advocacy. Given our common interests and goals, it is surprising how infrequently and ineffectually we communicate and contribute directly to one another’s work. Experimental research provides an opportunity for that type of collaboration. Advocates can help researchers better understand how and why messaging campaigns are used in the real world, and scholars can use experiments to “field test” advocacy techniques, and to inform practitioners what works and why.</p><p>* An earlier version of this post was previously published in the <a target="_blank" href="http://duckofminerva.com/">Duck of Minerva</a> on November 9, 2015.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/data-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_2.png'" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png'"> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="“Data" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/gulnaz-anjum-adam-chilton/using-experiments-to-improve-women-s-rights-in-pakistan">Using experiments to improve women’s rights in Pakistan</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/will-h-moore/is-public-opinion-effective-constraint-on-torture">Is public opinion an effective constraint on torture?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-ron-david-crow-jos-kaire/ordinary-people-will-pay-for-rights-we-asked-them">Ordinary people will pay for rights. We asked them</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/human-rights-data-used-wrong-way-can-be-misleading">Human rights data used the wrong way can be misleading</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/benjamin-valentino-ethan-weinberg/naming-crimes-genocide-and-public-opinion-in-unit">Naming crimes: genocide and public opinion in the United States</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/ana-bracic-amanda-murdie/to-discredit-victims-call-them-terrorists">To discredit victims, call them terrorists</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nat-kendalltaylor/why-framing-matters%E2%80%94and-polls-only-give-you-so-much">Why framing matters—and polls only give you so much </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Matthew Krain Michele Leiby Social Science Experiments & Human Rights Data and Human Rights Wed, 03 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Michele Leiby and Matthew Krain 110530 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Using the Sustainable Development Goals as a weapon against populism https://www.opendemocracy.net/martin-s-edwards-lis-kabashi/using-sustainable-development-goals-as-weapon-against-populism <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Edwards &amp; Kabashi.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p dir="ltr">The Sustainable Development Goals could give activists the rhetoric they need to hold the Trump administration accountable. A contribution to openGlobalRights’ debate on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/trump-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Trump and Human Rights.</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">As much as it might shock the Republicans calling for the United States to withdraw from <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/paige-berges/republicans-move-to-break-with-united-nations" target="_blank">UN commitments,</a> much of Trump’s populist rhetoric is in fact mirrored in the UN <a href="http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/" target="_blank">Sustainable Development Goals</a> (SDGs)—though not in the way you might think. As the history of human rights activists outside of the US shows, relying on international commitments as a means to lobby politicians and persuade the public is a smart strategy. <a href="http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/peace-justice/" target="_blank">Goal 16</a> in particular is about promoting just, peaceful, and inclusive societies, making it a natural rhetorical launching pad for critiques of the current administration. Goal 16’s focus on inverting populist ideas and its focus on measured outcomes offers a valuable tool for activists determined to push back against an administration focused on unraveling a liberal international order.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Inclusion is a key theme, as is political reform to create a more effective government.</p><p dir="ltr">This specific goal matters because it appropriates rhetoric now thought of as populist. Inclusion is a key theme, as is political reform to create a more effective government. Both of these are elements in the Trump campaign. His references to “returning power to the people,” “draining the swamp,” and empowering “the forgotten people” are echoed in the targets of Goal 16, albeit from a very different partisan standpoint. <a href="http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&amp;Lang=E" target="_blank">Four of the targets</a> in Goal 16 have clear parallels to Trump’s rhetoric: Target 16.3 is about promoting rule of law and equal access to justice; Target 16.5 aims to reduce corruption and bribery; Target 16.6 is about developing effective, accountable, and transparent institutions, and Target 16.7 aims to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making. Each of these targets reflect the rhetoric of the new White House, and this is precisely why they are valuable for activists. They are a means to demonstrate that this presidency is not keeping its promises. US shortcomings in achieving these goals become failings of this president, and calling attention to these shortcomings can only help to turn the tide of public opinion against him.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Edwards &amp; Kabashi.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/UN Photo/Mark Garten (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Sustainable Development Goal 16’s focus on inverting populist ideas and its focus on measured outcomes offers a valuable tool for activists determined to push back against an administration focused on unraveling a liberal international order </p> <hr style=;" color:=" mce_style=" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">How can these goals make a difference? Three key facts about the SDGs (and specifically SDG 16) make them useful tools for human rights advocates to use in policy debates. First, the goals were formed as a result of an inclusive process which brought together states, civil society organizations, and the public through <a href="http://data.myworld2015.org/" target="_blank">an innovative survey</a> which had millions of responses. Because this process of building the goals was an inclusive one, the goals reconnect the US to the rest of the world in ways that depart from President Trump’s rhetoric. It is difficult to promote the seeming unilateralism of “America First” when the US helped to craft these goals in ways that reflect liberal internationalist values. Invoking the goals, then, as American priorities helps reconnect the US to the rest of the world. </p><p>What gives the Sustainable Development Goals added weight is that they are not merely ideas. They are backed by <a style="font-size: 13px; font-weight: normal;" href="https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/files/metadata-compilation/Metadata-Goal-16.pdf" target="_blank">measurable indicators</a>, which is essential for civil society to benchmark the US relative to other countries. Over the next two years, the data indicators for the goals will be refined and put into the field, allowing us to assess relations between victims and law enforcement, the extensiveness of corruption, and the views of the public on the quality of public services. Given the amount of attention that comparisons of test scores of American students to those of other countries receive, similar comparisons based on indicators from Goal 16 will surely find their way into the national media, and this can only strengthen the hand of activists vis-à-vis the White House.</p><p dir="ltr">One final reason why the Sustainable Development Goals have value for human rights activists is that they have broad public support. A <a href="http://betterworldcampaign.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/2015-bwc-fall-poll-executive-summary.pdf" target="_blank">national survey of 800 registered voters</a> conducted in 2015 found that while awareness of the Goals was low, almost seven in ten voters or 69% have a favorable opinion of the Goals when described to them. More importantly, 83% of voters believe the United States should be “very” or “somewhat” involved in a worldwide effort to accomplish these goals by 2030. Rather than being framed as a project written by outsiders, the American public recognizes a natural coincidence between their own policy priorities and those of the UN. Building greater awareness of the Goals, then, can only strengthen the hand of advocates determined to push back against the current administration.</p><p>It is no accident that <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/paige-berges/republicans-move-to-break-with-united-nations" target="_blank">Congressional and White House critiques</a> of the UN claim that it is a powerless organization antithetical to US interests. This is merely intended to disguise the fact that Goal 16 both reflects American values and is a challenge to the Trump White House. As many activists are looking to international law to strengthen their influence, they should be aware that the Sustainable Development Goals are also a powerful tool in their arsenal.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/trump-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Trump_Inset_2.png '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Trump_Inset_1.png '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Trump_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Trump and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/alicia-ely-yamin/speaking-truth-to-power-call-for-praxis-in-human-rights">“Speaking truth to power:” a call for praxis in human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/paige-berges/republicans-move-to-break-with-united-nations">Republicans move to break with the United Nations</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/courtenay-r-conrad-justin-conrad-james-piazza-and-james-igoe-walsh/preparing-for-te">Preparing for terrorism—and potential torture—under President Trump</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/mark-philip-bradley/might-trump-lead-us-activists-to-rediscover-international-human">Might Trump lead US activists to rediscover international human rights? </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stuart-wilson/opportunities-for-resistance-trump-s-authoritarianism-and-law">Opportunities for resistance: Trump’s authoritarianism and the law</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-p-forsythe/death-knell-of-american-exceptionalism-under-trump">The death knell of American Exceptionalism under Trump</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/salil-tripathi/world-is-watching-corporate-action-on-trump-travel-ban">The world is watching—corporate action on Trump travel ban</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Lis Kabashi Martin S. Edwards Canada & the US Trump and Human Rights Mon, 01 May 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Martin S. Edwards and Lis Kabashi 110512 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Turning weakness into strength: lessons as a new advocate https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/alexandra-zetes/turning-weakness-into-strength-lessons-as-new-advocate <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/ZetesApril.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Without adequate preparation, new human rights advocates can be easily traumatized and struggle to understand what they are going through. A contribution openGlobalRights’ debate on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank">mental health and well-being.</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">In 2011, I spent six months working in Rwanda with a local NGO. Through my work, I witnessed traumatic events that affected me deeply and for which I was not adequately prepared. For months after I returned to the United States, I would see amputations that weren’t there and break down in tears over insignificant things and at inappropriate times. I had never cried in Rwanda, and I was surprised by how emotional I was. Because I was new to field and unprepared for the mental health impacts of working with such difficult issues, I didn’t realize that I was just processing the emotional trauma of my work in Kigali. Today, the mental health impacts of my current work are less intense, usually manifesting in waves of fatigue or the inability to focus. Now, as then, I sometimes get frustrated with myself, wondering what is wrong with me or why I am struggling.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">Mental health challenges are&nbsp;common among human rights workers.</p><p dir="ltr">I often feel alone in these moments. I feel as though I am suffering individually, and that my struggles and weaknesses are unique. I have to proactively remind myself that this perception is, in fact, false. Mental health challenges are <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates">common among human rights workers</a>. We face high levels of both acute and chronic stress. We also tend to exhibit character traits such as perfectionism, which make it <a target="_blank" href="http://blogs.msf.org/en/staff/blogs/life-in-the-field/to-continue-to-focus-on-our-patients-we-need-to-look-after-ourselves?utm_medium=social&amp;utm_source=Twitter&amp;utm_campaign=Emily-burnout&amp;utm_content=http://blogs.msf.org/en/staff/blogs/life-in-the-">difficult to recognize</a> and admit that we have a problem, and we are often too worried about stigma to get help. That worry unfortunately seems to be well-placed, as there are often cultural and professional repercussions for speaking up. For example, rights workers know that if they admit that they are struggling, the organization may simply pull them out of the field. There is such <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/douglas-mathew-mawadri/fighting-stigma-protecting-mental-health-of-african-rights-a">stigma around mental health</a> that we can feel isolated and weak for experiencing mental health challenges, and it can be hard to get help.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/ZetesApril.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Pixabay (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> "I didn’t realize that I was just processing the emotional trauma of my work in Kigali. Today, the mental health impacts of my current work are less intense, usually manifesting in waves of fatigue or the inability to focus."</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Exacerbating this issue is the fact that human rights, as a field, generally employs the notion that we are instruments, not people, making it easy for human rights advocates to feel guilty for being human. It also means that we are <a target="_blank" href="https://thedevelopmentset.com/the-cost-of-caring-for-refugees-2d362d9a42e5">often left to cope on our own</a>, with little organizational support. However, not addressing our own humanity and needs distances us from those we are working with and limits our professional capacity by <a target="_blank" href="http://www.istss.org/treating-trauma/self-care-for-providers.aspx">increasing our vulnerability.</a></p><p dir="ltr">It took me a long time to think about my mental health and well-being not in terms of weakness or selfishness, but as part of my job that I must engage with to do this work sustainably. While I am not always successful in this re-framing, a number of realizations have helped me shift my perspective.</p><p dir="ltr">Once I admitted to myself that I wasn’t “fine” after I returned from Rwanda, I started doing research to understand what was happening to me. It was important for me to know and articulate what I was going through. If we know a thing and <a target="_blank" href="http://www.istss.org/treating-trauma/self-care-for-providers.aspx">give it a name</a>, it is easier to address. Trauma makes us feel out of control, and regaining this control is often a significant part of how we work through trauma. I can now more easily recognize when I am having an emotional reaction to the work I do. Once I can name what I am experiencing and thereby re-establish control, I can help myself move past it.</p><p dir="ltr">I also try to remember that I am not the only one facing these challenges. The emotional impacts of our work are usually quite visible among human rights advocates, even if this field has yet to have a comprehensive dialogue about it. Recent research has started to inform what many of us anecdotally know: human rights advocates experience <a target="_blank" href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0145188">high levels of trauma and burnout</a>. Knowing that others also have a hard time dealing with the emotional implications of this work makes me feel less like my feelings are something to be ashamed of, and has given me permission to face those issues honestly.</p><p dir="ltr">Perhaps the most important factor in shifting my perspective is recognizing that—for better or worse—if I don’t address my mental health and holistic well-being, sooner or later, <a target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/nzik-awad/we-cannot-afford-to-be-traumatized-reality-for-grassroots-advocates">I will be unable to continue this work at all</a>. As the late Tooker Gomberg said, I will “<a target="_blank" href="http://greenspiration.org/letter-to-an-activist-earth-day-2002/">become no good to anyone, especially [myself]</a>.” Moreover, it is critical for me to understand and address these issues not just for myself, but also for those I work with. If my speaking out about these challenges and the way I cope can help others in their own struggle, then it is all the more important that I do so.</p><p dir="ltr">However, the pressure for change cannot solely be the responsibility of individual advocates like me. Human rights <a target="_blank" href="https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-for-aid-workers-is-burnout-part-of-the-job-description-89761">organizations have an important role to play</a> in shifting the discourse about mental health and well-being from one of weakness and shortcoming to one of capacity-building and strength. We need strong leadership to start the conversation on how to address these challenges. Organizations must do their part to provide information and resources, and to see advocates as people, not just workers. This is critical given the stigmatizing nature of these issues and the difficult contexts in which we work. We can borrow from other similar fields, such as <a target="_blank" href="https://dartcenter.org/content/self-care-tips-for-news-media-personnel-exposed-to-traumatic-events">field journalists</a>, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/treatment/therapy-med/va-ptsd-treatment-programs.asp">combat veterans</a>, and even <a target="_blank" href="http://www.acepnow.com/article/emergency-medicine-wellness-week-2016-to-focus-on-self-care-for-emergency-physicians/">emergency-room doctors</a> that have already begun to recognize and address these issues with initiatives such as treatment programs, fundraisers and awareness events. However, we also need to develop tools and resources geared specifically to human rights work. It is not an easy task, but we must start by having the conversation.</p><p dir="ltr">I’m still afraid of many things. I am afraid of acknowledging my own limitations and needs. I am afraid that future employers might punish me for admitting that I have them. However, we know that many human rights workers will encounter these challenges at some point during their career, so we have to face this, regardless of whether we want to or not. I hope to be part of a new generation of human rights workers who will reshape our institutions and expectations so that we can be healthier people and be better at the work we do.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_2.png'" target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights"><img alt="“Data" border="0" name="Imgs" width="140" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sam-dubberley/when-watching-violence-is-your-job-workers-on-digital-frontline">When watching violence is your job: workers on the digital frontline</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/fred-abrahams/healthy-for-long-haul-building-resilience-in-human-rights-workers">Healthy for the long haul: building resilience in human rights workers</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nzik-awad/we-cannot-afford-to-be-traumatized-reality-for-grassroots-advocates">We cannot afford to be traumatized: the reality for grassroots advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/douglas-mathew-mawadri/fighting-stigma-protecting-mental-health-of-african-rights-a">Fighting stigma: protecting the mental health of African rights advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates">Evidence of trauma: the impact of human rights work on advocates</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Alexandra Zetes Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Thu, 27 Apr 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Alexandra Zetes 110418 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Engage when we can, confront when we must https://www.opendemocracy.net/kotwal-n/engage-when-we-can-confront-when-we-must-0 <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/KotwalApril.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Indian human rights workers do not want to engage with the police, but to enact real change, both sides must work together. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/engaging-with-perpetrators-for-human-rights" target="_blank">engaging perpetrators</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;The greatest problem of policing in India today is that the police are mostly ineffective. They are ineffective on the streets, in preventing petty or grave crimes, and in defending the rights of the weak or vulnerable. But the most glaring shortfall of the police is that they seldom punish their own. If they could do at least that much, then the public might begin to trust them again. Unfortunately, even if the Indian public want to cooperate with or respect the police, there is currently no basis for them to do so.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">The Indian public’s experience of policing today is marked by illegal arrests and detention, torture, excessive use of force, and corruption. &nbsp;</p><p>The Indian public’s experience of policing today is marked by illegal arrests and detention, torture, excessive use of force, and corruption. This is endemic to the Indian police and has become public knowledge, with methods and patterns of misconduct and illegality carefully documented by civil society and researchers. The Indian State no longer actively denies these practices, but it hasn’t done much to address them either.</p> <p>Over a decade ago, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) began collating information on cases of human rights violations attributed to the police. Human rights violations were defined as disappearance of persons, illegal detentions, fake encounters, extortion, torture and rape. This was an encouraging step forward towards fighting impunity. However, the last NCRB report records a mere 94 instances of human rights violations by the police, and of these, 12 were promptly deemed to be false by the police department after a preliminary inquiry. There is no publicly known procedure of how complaints are deemed to be false—this lies at the discretion of the police department. The investigations led to filing of chargesheets (i.e., official accusations) against only 34 of these complaints. But what is more disturbing is that not a single one of these resulted in a conviction.&nbsp;</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/KotwalApril.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/Jaskirat Singh Bawa (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> The dilemma for civil society begins once they are seen engaging with the police. Engaging would compromise their ability to challenge wrongdoing or to question malpractice.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p>In addition, the 2015 report of the NCRB reported 97 deaths in police custody, but only six were reportedly caused due to injuries sustained in custody. The rest were either due to suicides or natural causes. The police are also not required to report cases of torture that do not result in deaths. Further, during the same year a total of about 55,000 complaints were received against the police across the country, but the government only launched inquiries into 30% of these complaints. Less than 8% went to trial and 0.04% (25 to be exact) resulted in a conviction.</p> <p>These figures, which may just be the tip of the iceberg, reveal that both the judicial and departmental processes are weak in terms of accountability for police wrongdoing. The government is clearly not interested in addressing rights violations by the police, and, it appears, will go to great lengths <a href="http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Do-police-get-away-with-rights-violations/article14634812.ece">to suppress all such data</a> that would demand police accountability.</p> <p>It is thus not surprising that most civil society groups, activists or human rights defenders in India choose not to engage with a police force that refuses to acknowledge its wrongdoings and hold itself accountable. While researchers might see the benefits of this engagement, because of the nature of police violations in India, many human rights workers refuse to engage with the police and would rather (justifiably) focus on individual abuses by police, challenge them in court, or document the malpractices.</p> <p>Court battles against police abuse have had mixed results, however. At the lower courts, there have been very few convictions and these have come after long years of struggle. On the other hand, the Supreme Court of India has delivered some landmark judgements on police functioning and operations, which have given civil society legal leverage to demand reform and accountability. But the Court guidelines have not been entrenched into policing practice; compliance is minimal and that too is only for fear of consequences and not due to any change in beliefs. To change beliefs, we need more than lawsuits in order to reiterate and enforce the principle that this behavior is unacceptable.</p> <p>Moreover, while the documentation of patterns abuses has raised awareness of human rights violations by police, it has also widened the gap between civil society and police to a large extent. Most policing organisations look at “Human Rights NGOs” with suspicion. Many officers feel that human rights get in the way of effective policing, and the expectations of human rights groups for police to adhere to the law <i>at all times </i>(with practically no resources) are unrealistic. As policing is an essential service needed to maintain order in society, these two sides must find ways to work together rather than seeing each other as the enemy. But how?</p> <p>It is not civil society alone that refuses to engage with the state actors. Governments and police departments have also consciously excluded external players from discussions around security and policing issues on the basis that it is a debate only for the government or the police. Wanting to retain control over the police, governments claim that it is not possible for an outsider to comprehend the complexities and challenges of policing. But if the government truly wanted a community-focused police service, then the reform process needs the input of the community.&nbsp;</p> <p>One obstacle to achieving this community focus is that most human rights groups presently do not look at whole systems. Most are concerned with individual abuses, which are imperative issues, but they will not cease unless addressed through systemic and lasting reform. Systemic reform calls for strong oversight mechanisms (for wrongdoing as well as for performance) and for mechanisms to ensure that day-to-day policing is not subject to undue political interference. This reform also calls for good management practices in recruiting, training, assessing and disciplining the police, and the police and civil society must work together to enact such system-wide changes. As much as Indian civil society is reticent to work with the police, refusing to engage with each other is not an option any longer.</p> <p>Unfortunately, most of civil society`s engagement with the police is restricted to trainings either on gender or human rights or law. Police leadership welcome such interventions from civil society groups, as these presentations are not really viewed as a measure to improve behavior or practices but just as a formality completed. The training programmes are neither regular nor are they part of the standardized police-training curriculum. Importantly, the discussion on human rights is done in a manner where it is taken as a face-off between the citizens and the police. In addition, the teaching and training of the various human rights issues has lacked contextualization that locates rights in the everyday functioning and procedural structure of the force. Despite the downsides, for civil society, this is still an important entry point into traditionally closed policing systems, but it remains insufficient.</p> <p>The dilemma for civil society begins once they are seen engaging with the police. Engaging would compromise their ability to challenge wrongdoing or to question malpractice. It also affects their credibility with sometimes deeply threatened civil society actors. However, we all must strike a balance. Police departments need to acknowledge that a truly reformed police service can only be borne of a community focused reform process. Civil society, on the other hand, must accept that police abuse is one of the many problems of policing that needs addressing. We must acknowledge that a "mix" of reforms is required, and we need to get comfortable with engaging when we can and confronting when we must.<i></i></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/engaging-with-perpetrators-for-human-rights" target="_blank"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Perps_inset_1.png" border="0" alt="“Perpetrators" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/mahmood-monshipouri/why-engaging-with-perpetrators-isn-t-possible-in-iran-yet">Why engaging with perpetrators isn’t possible in Iran (yet)</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/danielle-celermajer/navigating-minefield-of-working-with-perpetrators">Navigating the minefield of working with perpetrators</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/james-dawes/to-understand-perpetrators-we-must-care-about-them">To understand perpetrators, we must care about them</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-wahl/working-with-enemy-pros-and-cons-of-collaborating-with-perpetrators">Working with the enemy: the pros and cons of collaborating with perpetrators</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kiran-grewal/to-change-torture-practices-we-must-change-entire-system">To change torture practices, we must change the entire system</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/christine-monaghan/accountability-versus-access-collaborating-with-rights-violators">Accountability versus access: collaborating with rights violators in conflict zones</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Kotwal N. East and South-East Asia Engaging with Perpetrators in Human Rights Wed, 26 Apr 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Kotwal N. 110374 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Engagement versus endorsement: Western universities in China https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/robert-precht/engagement-versus-endorsement-western-universities-in-china <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/PrechtApril.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>The presence of Western universities in China is on the rise, but they are not following UN principles on corporate social responsibility.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">The growing presence of Western universities in China raises clear issues of universities’ corporate social responsibility. Beginning in July 2015, the Chinese government embarked on what many see as a crackdown on the human rights community. Amnesty International<a href="http://dayoftheendangeredlawyer.eu/" target="_blank"> has documented</a> 240 cases of lawyers, legal activists and human rights defenders who have been arrested, secretly detained, and in some cases tortured. The Chinese parliament also enacted new laws that give police legal authority to arrest NGO workers who engage in work deemed ‘politically sensitive.’ In March 2017, the Chief Justice of the Supreme People’s Court <a href="http://en.yibada.com/articles/198194/20170315/chief-justice-zhou-qiang-names-chinese-legal-system-s-top.htm" target="_blank">characterized </a>the arrests and detentions as a helpful means to eliminate security and subversion from the country. Observers see the government actions as part of a campaign to silence critics of the Communist Party regime.</p><p dir="ltr">What is the corporate social responsibility of Western universities in such circumstances? The <a href="http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuidingPrinciplesBusinessHR_EN.pdf" target="_blank">UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights </a>provide a framework for answering this question, but it does not appear that these universities are following it. </p><p class="mag-quote-center">US institutions have the highest number of campuses, at 12, followed by Britain with four and Germany with three. </p><p>Since 2006, <a href="http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/family-education/article/1427882/american-universities-are-setting-campuses-mainland" target="_blank">27 Western institutions</a> have set up branch campuses in on the mainland.&nbsp;US institutions have the highest number of campuses, at 12, followed by Britain with four and Germany with three. The 12 US universities include such prestigious institutions as Carnegie Mellon, Duke, Johns Hopkins, New York University, and the University of Michigan. The Chinese Ministry of Education requires foreign universities to enter into partnerships with local universities, which are all government controlled, and it reviews and approves the partnership agreements.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/PrechtApril.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/the waving cat (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Since 2006, 27 Western institutions have set up branch campuses in on the mainland. The 12 US universities include such prestigious institutions as Carnegie Mellon, Duke, Johns Hopkins, New York University, and the University of Michigan.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">The Chinese government provides generous subsidies, as it sees an advantage to having joint ventures with the Western institutions as a means of &nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/china-hands/american-universities-ope_b_7250306.html" target="_blank">burnishing the reputations</a> of local universities. The US Government Accounting Office, for example, conducted a <a href="http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-16-757?utm_medium=email&amp;utm_source=govdelivery" target="_blank">survey</a> of the 12 US schools to ask how much money they received from Chinese sources. Less than half of these schools responded, but they reported collectively receiving $300 million in support from Chinese government entities. </p><p>The duty of these universities is clear in the Guiding Principles, which clarify baseline global standards on business and human rights. The definition of "business enterprise” in the Guiding Principles is broad and universities certainly fall within it. At the least, as places of higher learning, they should adopt no less a principled position on human rights than for-profit entities.</p><p dir="ltr">According to the Guiding Principles, an enterprise’s corporate responsibility entails making a clear and public policy commitment, implementing due diligence processes, and providing or cooperating in the creation of remedies for human rights violations. Due diligence requires assessing risks of human violations by both the enterprise itself and by its business partners.</p><p dir="ltr">The corporate social responsibilities of Western universities in China are not a mystery; in fact, the Guiding Principles lays out the framework quite clearly. First, Guiding Principle 16 would require the universities to make a clear and public commitment to uphold human rights. None of the foreign universities make such a commitment on their websites describing the China campuses. </p><p>Next, Guiding Principle 17 would require a due diligence process. The purpose of due diligence is to identify risks of human rights harms and develop measures to reduce the risks. For example, the noted Chinese human rights activist Teng Biao believes that the close cooperation of US universities and local government-controlled universities, including substantial subsidies from the Chinese government, creates the appearance within China that the US schools are endorsing the Communist Party. A due diligence process would identify the endorsement risk and offer ways to reduce it—perhaps by means of a statement on the universities’ website to the effect that they are not endorsing the policies of their business partner.</p><p dir="ltr">Guiding Principle 17 also says that the due diligence process needs to be ongoing. In light of what critics portray as a government crackdown on the human rights community, ongoing due diligence would require the universities to identify the campaign as a human rights harm and to propose means of mitigating this harm. For example, it might be feasible for the university presidents to make a joint public statement calling for fair trials for the arrested activists. (To put this in context, nearly 80 university presidents issued a joint statement recently opposing President Trump’s travel ban. In the 1980s <a href="https://dealbook.nytimes.com/2015/02/10/using-anti-apartheid-divestment-strategies-to-battle-fossil-fuels/?_r=0" target="_blank">more than 180 universities</a> opposing apartheid agreed to divest in whole or in part their investments in companies that did business in South Africa.)</p><p dir="ltr">Finally, Guiding Principle 21 states: “Business enterprises whose operations or operating contexts pose risks of severe human rights impacts should report formally on how they address them.” The reporting can be contained in annual reports, corporate responsibility reports or online updates. In the China context, the universities should cover topics and indicators of how the institutions identify and address harmful human rights impacts. No university has formally reported on China.</p><p>In sum, Western universities are operating in a high-risk environment without guidance. Supporters of the Chinese campuses say they offer benefits, including greater academic freedom than allowed in domestic universities. But there are costs with cooperating closely with a government that critics say is persecuting the human rights community. The Guiding Principles don’t dictate to the universities what remedial actions they should take—website policy statements, joint letters, quitting the country or doing nothing at all. But by observing established protocols for respecting human rights, the universities will be ensuring that their decision is guided by international norms rather than expediency.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/qian-cheng/state-owned-enterprises-in-china-could-be-entry-point-for-human-rights">State-owned enterprises in China could be an entry point for human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/tianzhao-yang-jiangnan-zhu/collective-apathy-nationalism-and-human-rights-in-china">Collective apathy: nationalism and human rights in China</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jiangnan-zhu/is-china-challenge-to-existing-international-order">Is China a challenge to the existing international order?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/luis-felipe-cruz-olivera/collapse-of-authority-violence-against-prisoners-in-latin-">The collapse of authority: violence against prisoners in Latin America</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jenna-reinbold/seeing-myth-in-human-rights">Seeing the myth in human rights </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Robert Precht Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Robert Precht 110346 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Accountability versus access: collaborating with rights violators in conflict zones https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/christine-monaghan/accountability-versus-access-collaborating-with-rights-violators <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/MonaghanApril.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>In health care, both access and accountability require understanding and collaborating with rights violators. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/engaging-with-perpetrators-for-human-rights">engaging with perpetrators</a>. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/christine-monaghan/l-obligation-de-rendre-des-comptes-contre-l-acc-s-aux-soins-coll" target="_blank">Français</a></em></strong>.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">For the past year, in my role at <a href="file:///E:/watchlist.org" target="_blank">Watchlist</a>, I have researched the impact on children of armed attacks on health care services, facilities or personnel in Afghanistan and Yemen. From my research in Afghanistan—including<a href="http://watchlist.org/wp-content/uploads/2213-watchlist-field-report-afghanistan-lr.pdf" target="_blank"> interviews</a> with humanitarian actors, health workers, patients, and community shura (council) members—we found that in the past two years, parties to the conflict have carried out more than 240 attacks on health care ranging from threats, extortion, detention, abduction and killing of medical personnel to forced closure, damage or destruction, looting, and occupation of medical facilities. The Taliban and other armed opposition groups (e.g., the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant-Khorasan Province) were responsible for the majority of incidents; however, government forces perpetrated about 20% of the attacks.</p><p dir="ltr">The recommendations in <a href="http://watchlist.org/wp-content/uploads/2213-watchlist-field-report-afghanistan-lr.pdf" target="_blank">the report</a> primarily focus on two interrelated thematic aims—better data collection of attacks, and accountability for perpetrators of attacks, with the hope that more information will lead to better accountability and prevent attacks. However, following the report’s publication, I have been asked multiple times by both journalists and humanitarian workers, “Do you want accountability or access to health care?”</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">So much of health care service provision and delivery of humanitarian aid is contingent upon ongoing negotiations between government officials, members of armed forces, the organizations providing services, community leaders, and members of armed opposition groups.</p><p dir="ltr">This question brings us to the ongoing debate regarding whether or how human rights activists or educators should try and understand or collaborate with state officials who violate human rights. So much of health care service provision and delivery of humanitarian aid in Afghanistan, Yemen, and many other countries is contingent upon ongoing negotiations between government officials, members of armed forces, the organizations providing services, community leaders, and members of armed opposition groups. Human rights activists broadly defined, for example staff members of the <a href="https://www.icrc.org/en" target="_blank">International Committee of the Red Cross</a> (ICRC) who work to uphold international humanitarian law and human rights law in situations of armed conflict, have also been key mediators in many of these negotiations.</p><p dir="ltr">Understanding and collaboration is inherent in negotiation—it’s essential to listen to opposing viewpoints and determine how different parties can reach a mutually agreed upon plan that allows civilians access to health care. And, as some advocates pointed out to me, demanding justice above all else can put this access at risk. “Talking about accountability has a way of keeping people from sitting together at the table,” a humanitarian worker stated. “It’s not unimportant, but at the end of the day access is what matters.”</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/MonaghanApril.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/International Committee of the Red Cross (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> “Talking about accountability has a way of keeping people from sitting together at the table,” a humanitarian worker stated. “It’s not unimportant, but at the end of the day access is what matters.”</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Perhaps the question is not whether human rights activists or educators should or should not try to understand or collaborate with state officials who violate rights, but instead what forms of understanding and collaboration will best safeguard civilians’ rights to critical lifesaving services. After all, understanding is not synonymous with condoning, nor is collaboration with enabling. In this way, we might consider the distinct, even complementary roles different human rights activists and educators can play, as well as the different opportunities and challenges between humanitarian and human rights work. Both endeavor to prevent (and protect against) the violation of rights. However, for humanitarian workers, doing so involves ensuring continued access to essential lifesaving services; for human rights workers, their mandate is arguably broader and includes working towards access, but also seeking redress for acts of omission and commission where access is denied.</p><p>Would more emphasis on prevention, through prosecution, eliminate the need for negotiations in the long term? It’s hard to say. To know for sure would be to know what makes lasting changes to the behavior of human rights violators and to the contexts that allow for widespread violation of rights. Whether such knowledge is even possible is a critical question, though like the matter at hand, insight has remained elusive. While beyond the scope of this essay, <a href="https://ps321.community.uaf.edu/files/2012/10/Fukuyama-End-of-history-article.pdf" target="_blank">liberal institutionalism</a>, a main paradigm of both understanding and action, posits that rights-respecting regimes will multiply with the establishment, in countries throughout the world, of democratic institutions. Yet the expanse of protracted conflict and subsequently mass violations of rights begun in the 1990s has threatened to <a href="http://www.counterfire.org/index.php/articles/book-reviews/16572-the-revenge-of-history-the-battle-for-the-twenty-first-century" target="_blank">upend</a> this approach.</p><p>When it comes to addressing the issue of armed attacks on health care and subsequent denial of civilians’ right to health care, staff members with ICRC and other humanitarian organizations might negotiate, while those with Watchlist and other human rights and advocacy organizations might document and make calls for accountability. Both require understanding and collaboration with rights violators—state officials and in many cases non-state armed groups. The difference is in degree rather than kind.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/engaging-with-perpetrators-for-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Perps_inset_2.png'" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Perps_inset_1.png'"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Perps_inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="“Perpetrators" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/mahmood-monshipouri/why-engaging-with-perpetrators-isn-t-possible-in-iran-yet">Why engaging with perpetrators isn’t possible in Iran (yet)</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/danielle-celermajer/navigating-minefield-of-working-with-perpetrators">Navigating the minefield of working with perpetrators</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/james-dawes/to-understand-perpetrators-we-must-care-about-them">To understand perpetrators, we must care about them</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kiran-grewal/to-change-torture-practices-we-must-change-entire-system">To change torture practices, we must change the entire system</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-wahl/working-with-enemy-pros-and-cons-of-collaborating-with-perpetrators">Working with the enemy: the pros and cons of collaborating with perpetrators</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jill-olivier/faith-and-health-care-in-africa-complex-reality">Faith and health care in Africa: a complex reality</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Christine Monaghan Engaging with Perpetrators in Human Rights Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Christine Monaghan 110344 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How new data can—and can’t—support academic research https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/merrill-sovner/how-new-data-can-and-can-t-support-academic-research <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/SovnerApril.png" alt="" width="140" /></p> <p dir="ltr">Human rights practitioners and researchers often ask very different questions when collecting data—how can we bridge these gaps? A contribution to the openGlobalRights on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/data-and-human-rights" target="_blank">data and human rights</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">The&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="https://ihrfg.org/">International Human Rights Funders Group</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://foundationcenter.org/">Foundation Center&nbsp;</a>recently published&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://humanrightsfunding.org/report-2017/">Advancing Human Rights: Update on Global Foundation Grantmaking</a>, a report analyzing the who, what, where, and how of human rights philanthropy. The latest update gives us an increasingly robust data set on human rights grantmaking around the world. While it provides our colleagues in the human rights philanthropy and NGO communities a snapshot of where money is being spent, a natural follow-up question looms: could academics use this data set in their research? Researchers are always on the lookout for new sources of data, right?</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">This question of bridging the divide between philanthropy practice and scholarship is less simple than it might appear.</p><p dir="ltr">This question of bridging the divide between philanthropy practice and scholarship is less simple than it might appear. As someone who worked for over a decade as a foundation program officer before pursuing a PhD in political science, I’ve found that the questions I would ask as a practitioner differ greatly from those I ask as a researcher and scholar. While my goal as a program officer has always been to promote accountability and democracy, I’ve had to acquire a more detached objectivity as a researcher and ask questions with a broader perspective. I helped to provide some of the early data to the&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://humanrightsfunding.org/">Advancing Human Rights&nbsp;</a>initiative within my foundation, and looking at it now as a researcher provides a different view.</p><p dir="ltr">As a practitioner, I’ve always been impressed with the massive data coding effort that&nbsp;Advancing Human Rights&nbsp;entails. Examining each grant to determine which region, issue, population and strategy it addresses, and then to assure there is no double-counting of grants, is no small feat. From my own experiences trying to cull information from foundation grant databases, I know it is an immensely time consuming effort and one that often leads to further questions and can yield multiple interpretations. This report is part of a larger trend towards greater transparency in the philanthropic sector, and one that should be commended. Academics have already taken advantage of the increasing information available online.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/SovnerApril.png" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />IHRFG (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> "While we agree as practitioners on a certain set of priorities and definitions for human rights and other key terms, to outsiders they may seem limiting." </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr"><a target="_blank" href="https://histphil.org/2017/01/18/foundation-archives-in-the-digital-age/">Lucy Bernholz</a>&nbsp;and<a target="_blank" href="https://histphil.org/2017/01/26/philanthropic-data-and-the-rise-of-llcs-or-what-happens-when-scholars-can-no-longer-follow-the-money/">&nbsp;Sarah Reckhow&nbsp;</a>have recently discussed a number of reasons why academics could find&nbsp;Advancing Human Rights&nbsp;useful—or why not. Their suggestions are instructive. First, the primary audience is those who study human rights philanthropy specifically. For these scholars, the data set provides a snapshot of human rights grantmaking around the world, the important grantors and grantees, and which regions, issues, populations and strategies attract the most funding. It allows researchers to “follow the money” (quoting Sarah Reckhow) without having to delve into individual organizations’ financial reports. This data set can also provide new perspectives for practitioners;&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="https://ihrfg.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/what-surprises-me-about-human-rights-grantmaking/">Melinda Fine’s recent blog</a>, for example, examines some surprising new trends from the most recent edition.</p><p dir="ltr">However,&nbsp;the report also leaves some gaps. What was not funded and why? For further information on the motivations behind funding decisions, researchers can read between the lines of program strategies, or dig into archives to search out strategy memos and grant recommendations. The Rockefeller Archive Center in Pocantico, New York, is a frequent stop for philanthropy scholars, and the Open Society Archives in Budapest and the new home of the Atlantic Philanthropies’ archives at Cornell University may become important resources as well. As a researcher, I urge all funders to capture their institutional memory and make it accessible to future scholars.</p><p dir="ltr">For those studying the NGO sector in various regions (my own research included), the self-reported data shared in&nbsp;Advancing Human Rights only provides part of the story. It shows which NGOs are well connected internationally and perhaps maintain a high level of professional management in order to receive and administer funds. NGOs or less formal civil society groups that subsist on smaller individual donations, in-kind funding, volunteer labor, domestic government funding, corporate philanthropy, or the growing number of community foundations may not be included in this report. As closing space for civil society makes international funding more difficult to report openly, physically send, or accept (as organizations increasingly refuse it in order to safeguard their credibility in the domestic context), important sections of the human rights NGO community may be left out of this data set.</p><p dir="ltr">Finally, while we agree as practitioners on a certain set of priorities and definitions for human rights and other key terms, to outsiders they may seem limiting. I once had a Lithuanian colleague from a partner organization ask why we didn’t fund political parties. Another foundation staff member and I rejected such an idea out of hand and explained how we were barred under US foundation law from being involved in partisan politics. However, it stayed with me that, for my colleague, funding political parties was a logical extension of the work we were doing already and a natural fit. Where do political parties, labor unions and religious institutions, as vital members of a plural and civil society, stand in the disbursement of international resources on human rights? Many European political parties maintain operational foundations that work on human rights issues around the world, as well as the Westminster Foundation for Democracy, International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute. As for labor unions, the Solidarity Center is affiliated with the <a target="_blank" href="https://aflcio.org/">AFL-CIO</a> (American Federation of Labor &amp; Congress of Industrial Organizations) to promote workers’ rights worldwide, and it also works alongside the National Endowment for Democracy, whose grantmaking is included in the&nbsp;Advancing Human Rights&nbsp;research.</p><p dir="ltr">Another example of a challenge of priorities—one which feels particularly relevant in light of Trump’s election in the US, the Brexit vote in the UK, and the rise of right-wing populism across Europe—is that our focus on minority populations as the most marginalized sectors of society may have missed those who feel marginalized or without equal access to opportunity within the majority population. Certainly, 2016 has taught us that the lack of economic and social mobility of all citizens can be a potent force in electoral outcomes, and, by extension, a potential hindrance in the future of legislated human rights protections.</p><p dir="ltr">Having outlined the above limitations of&nbsp;Advancing Human Rights, I am once again of two minds. As a researcher, I recognize these limitations as valid critiques, but as a practitioner, I don’t know what the alternative would be. How would the authors operationalize a different set of choices? How can research balance transparency with the inherent security concerns? How can one devise definitions that are narrow enough to code data but broad enough to include important human rights work outside of our funding priorities? At its core, the&nbsp;Advancing Human Rights&nbsp;research is the field’s only source of qualitative and quantitative data on human rights funding. It is important, however, to periodically discuss and openly debate the scholarly critiques and acknowledge the limitations.</p><p>***A version of this piece was <a target="_blank" href="https://ihrfg.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/how-advancing-human-rights-can-and-cant-support-academic-research/?preview_id=2026&amp;preview_nonce=f8c82a7d65">originally published</a> on the IHRFG blog in March 2017.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/data-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://www.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_2.png'" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png'"> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Data_Inset_1 .png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="“Data" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lawrence-saez/human-rights-datasets-are-pointless-without-methodological-rigour">Human rights datasets are pointless without methodological rigour</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/danna-ingleton/ethics-technology-and-human-rights-navigating-new-roads">Ethics, technology and human rights: navigating new roads </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/zara-rahman/fine-print-seeing-beyond-hype-in-technology-for-human-rights">The fine print: seeing beyond the hype in technology for human rights </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/katie-kraska/cohesion-in-chaos-uniting-human-rights-methodologies">Cohesion in the chaos: uniting human rights methodologies</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/steffen-jensen-tobias-kelly/missing-torture-amongst-poor">Missing torture amongst the poor</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/k-chad-clay/no-single-dataset-is-sufficient-for-understanding-human-rights-nor-shou">No single dataset is sufficient for understanding human rights, nor should it be</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/todd-landman/yes-human-rights-scholars-conceal-social-wrongs-when-they-miss-point">Yes, human rights scholars conceal social wrongs—when they miss the point </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/neve-gordon-nitza-berkovitch/how-human-rights-scholars-conceal-social-wrongs">How human rights scholars conceal social wrongs</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Merrill Sovner Canada & the US Data and Human Rights Fri, 21 Apr 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Merrill Sovner 110246 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Why the right to science matters for everyone https://www.opendemocracy.net/jessica-m-wyndham-margaret-weigers-vitullo/why-right-to-science-matters-for-everyone <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Wyndham and Vitullo April small.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>The right to science influences everything from freeing wrongfully accused prisoners to crop rotation—but what happens when that right comes under threat?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">On April 22, 2017 the March for Science will take place in Washington, DC and hundreds of satellite marches will be held around the world. &nbsp;Changes in the socio-political and economic contexts in which science takes place are challenging the acceptance of scientific evidence as a basis for policy-making, commitment of governments to fund research, and abilities of scientists&nbsp;to communicate their work. As such, there is an urgent need to communicate the value of science as core to human well-being.</p><p dir="ltr">So, what exactly does it mean to have a human right to science?</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Science, its methodologies, its processes, and the truths it can reveal, are vital to human rights.</p><p dir="ltr">Science, its methodologies, its processes, and the truths it can reveal, are vital to human rights. From the use of DNA to free wrongfully convicted prisoners to the analysis of satellite imagery in documenting the destruction of communities and cultural heritage sites in conflict zones, activists and researchers are increasingly using science and technology in support of human rights documentation, monitoring, and litigation. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">In addition, as the world grows more complex and globally connected, science becomes more essential to the basic processes of democracy. The right to vote and the right to participate in public life have little meaning if citizens cannot evaluate policies and proposed interventions in light of scientifically rigorous assessments of both risks and opportunities.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Wyndham and Vitullo April.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/AnubisAbyss (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Protester at the Boston Rally for Science that took place in Feb 2017. For the right to science to have life, it is critical that its unique value in the human rights toolkit be explored, recognized, and articulated both by the scientific and human rights communities.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p>The right to science was first articulated in international law in Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the right to “share in scientific advancement and its benefits.” Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights elaborates on that right, addressing the responsibilities of governments to conserve, develop, and diffuse science; respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research; and encourage international contacts and collaboration in science. In addition to the right to science, Article 15 recognizes the right to participate in cultural life, and the moral and material interests of authors and creators.</p><p>Although nearly 70 years have passed since this right to science was first, the implications of the right and its meaning for individuals and governments have never been fully articulated. In 2007, when the AAAS established the Science and Human Rights Coalition, one of its primary goals was to bring the voices of scientists to this exact question: what does it mean to have a right to science? In the intervening years the Coalition has been engaging scientists, engineers and health professionals in the United States and overseas in an effort to bring their perspectives on the meaning of this right to an ongoing United Nations process of defining it. (The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has committed to developing a General Comment on the right and appears well on the way to achieving that goal in the next 18 months).</p><p>Through these consultations, we’ve learned that the benefits of science are many. They go beyond medicines and crop rotation techniques, beyond electricity and the Internet, to include the scientific method and scientific information as the basis for empirical understandings of policies and programs.</p><p>Secondly, access to these benefits in practice means everything from access to the products of science and knowledge derived from science, to the access that scientists require to data and samples in order to conduct their research. As such, Article 15 provides a framework for supporting and defending the structures, the people, and the institutions that comprise the scientific enterprise. Scientists need to be able to share their findings and data, to travel and to collaborate internationally. They also need to be free from threats, harassment and persecution for doing their job.</p><p dir="ltr">As a person moves along the continuum from layperson to trained scientist, the risks associated with access (e.g., to data, to research subjects) increase. &nbsp;Thus, access also must be correlated with scientific socialization—a person’s motivation, aptitude, and training in science and scientific methods. In order to create and sustain this kind of fluid and expanding access along a continuum, governments must provide adequate funding (and incentives for private sector investment), quality training and education (at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels), and information communication technologies and infrastructure to support the diffusion of scientific information and knowledge.</p><p>As the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights further explores what the right to science means, it will need to address several sticky issues. Among them are: what are the tensions between conceptions of science as requiring technical, formal training and traditional knowledge? How can the right be used to assess and address potentially harmful impacts of technological developments? How can the role of the commercial sector in developing medicines and other products be reconciled with the government funding that underpins the research on which such products are based? How should the right inform articulation of legitimate limitations on scientific research and its applications?</p><p dir="ltr">For the right to science to have life, it is critical that its unique value in the human rights toolkit be explored, recognized, and articulated both by the scientific and human rights communities. The time is ripe to do that: the scientific community is increasingly engaged in discussions about its social responsibilities (e.g., do scientists have a responsibility to give priority to work/research that would have greatest benefit to society?); the pace of scientific and technological advance is outpacing our efforts to consider the human rights, ethical and legal ramifications of these advances (e.g., what is truly known about the potential human rights impacts of artificial intelligence?); and the scientific and human rights communities are partnering to an unprecedented extent in bringing the tools of science to human rights work (e.g., through technical collaborations using scientific methods and tools to document human rights violations). Both communities need now to bring their unique but mutually supportive perspectives to the promotion of the right to science and the realization of the benefits of science for society.</p><p>***The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition will next meet in Washington, DC on July 27-28 (live webcasting will be available). The theme for the meeting is the right to science. Registration will soon be available here: <a href="https://www.aaas.org/program/science-human-rights-coalition" target="_blank">https://www.aaas.org/program/science-human-rights-coalition</a></p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/ellen-platts-claire-sabel/collaborating-with-scientists-for-climate-justice">Collaborating with scientists for climate justice</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/theresa-harris/scientists-and-engineers-as-partners-in-protecting-human-rights">Scientists and engineers as partners in protecting human rights</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights-blog/usha-natarajan/human-rights-%E2%80%93-help-or-hindrance-to-combatting-climate-change">Human rights – help or hindrance to combatting climate change?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/kevin-jennings/global-economic-scorecards-that-ignore-rights-reward-intoler">Global economic scorecards that ignore rights reward intolerance</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrightsopenpage/asuncion-lera-st-clair/corporate-concern-for-human-rights-essential-to-tack">Corporate concern for human rights essential to tackle climate change</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jenna-reinbold/seeing-myth-in-human-rights">Seeing the myth in human rights </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Margaret Weigers Vitullo Jessica M. Wyndham Global Thu, 20 Apr 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Jessica M. Wyndham and Margaret Weigers Vitullo 110211 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Why engaging with perpetrators isn’t possible in Iran (yet) https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mahmood-monshipouri/why-engaging-with-perpetrators-isn-t-possible-in-iran-yet <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/MonshipouriApril.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Engagement with Iranian human rights perpetrators might help someday, but in the current political climate it’s simply not possible. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/engaging-with-perpetrators-for-human-rights" target="_blank">engaging with perpetrators</a>.<strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/node/110209" target="_blank"><em><strong>فارسی&nbsp;</strong></em>(Fārsi/Persian)<em><strong>.</strong></em>&nbsp;</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">Iranians have frequently fought—though not often successfully—to break the yoke of tyrants. But upon examination of the policies and practices of four subsequent administrations in post-Khomeini Iran, it remains unclear whether these changes have positively or adversely affected the country’s human rights situation. The possibility of a top-down change or negotiating with those who violate human rights in Iran remains remote and, at best, impractical. Human rights activists and advocates would have more success by concentrating on a different strategy—that is, the need to strengthen the struggle for human rights in Iran by underscoring the importance of education, international organizations such as the United Nations, and local and regional non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in fostering the interaction between internal and external political dynamics.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Throughout Iran’s history, the struggle for reform and human rights has included all social strata and classes, while signaling national aspirations of the vast majority of Iranians for democratic reform.</p><p dir="ltr">Throughout Iran’s history, the struggle for reform and human rights has included all social strata and classes, while signaling national aspirations of the vast majority of Iranians for democratic reform. This hope has been repeatedly dashed by outsiders (an American-British engineered coup in 1953 that removed Iran’s popularly elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq) as well as internal leadership (the Pahlavi dynasty and the Islamic Republic after the 1979 Iranian Revolution). The post-revolutionary changes and transformation have since spurred a rigorous debate among the region’s scholars over what interpretation of democratic reform and cultural politics should shape Iran’s human rights condition in the future. In recent years, the country’s moral and political divide has further deepened, with the ruling elite facing both normative and institutional challenges. The revolutionary fervor, however, encountered wide-ranging challenges, as new social, economic, and political problems compounded the Islamic Republic’s attempt to advance its ideological goals. The population explosion, the Iran-Iraq War, and the emigration of some three million Iranians created a whole host of problems that undermined the ruling elites’ revolutionary approach.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/MonshipouriApril.jpg" width="444" /> <br />Flickr/World Economic Forum Hassan Rouhani (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Some government officials consider human rights nothing but tools of unwarranted intrusion into their internal affairs by the West, however, the election of Hassan Rouhani in the 2013 has given people some hope for change and normalization of relations with the West.</p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">To restore or even reconstruct their image, the authorities within the Islamic Republic have turned their attention to the international human rights instruments, hoping that ratifying some of these instruments would likely confer on them an international legitimacy of the sorts, while still staying in full control of internal means and institutions of coercion such as riot police, secret police, and intelligence apparatus. By 1999, under the administrations of Rafsanjani and Khatami, both of them reformists, <a href="https://archive.org/stream/DavidRomanoMehmetGursesEds.ConflictDemocratizationAndTheKurdsInTheMiddleEastTurkeyIranIraqAndSyria/David%20Romano,%20Mehmet%20Gurses%20eds.%20Conflict,%20Democratization,%20and%20the%20Kurds%20in%20the%20Middle%20East" target="_blank">Iran made a genuine attempt</a> to become a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; and the Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.</p><p dir="ltr">Yet, the reform process under President Mohammad Khatami met with considerable resistance by conservative actors, factions, and foundations, giving rise to the emergence of neoconservatives such as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In 2009, the post-presidential election protests in Iran shook the foundation of the Islamic Republic, as a new wave of street protests, known as the Green Movement, posed a homegrown and popular threat to the country’s revolutionary power structure. The reach of social networking tools and digital interactions called into question the Islamic Republic’s authority and modus operandi. <a href="https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2010/country-chapters/iran" target="_blank">The ensuing crackdown</a> on journalists, rights activists, and lawyers in a bid to stifle dissent led to a pervasive climate of fear, and lingering tensions and fractions <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/08/16/after-the-crackdown" target="_blank">within the ruling regime</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Iran’s governing elites’ interests and identities cannot uniformly be defined and discerned in a system that contains multiple centers of power, nor is it easy to answer the question of whether such leaders use their political powers and levers to either <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/libertycentral/2011/jan/04/human-rights-imperialism" target="_blank">advance human rights or the regime’s preservation</a>. &nbsp;Some government officials consider human rights nothing but tools of unwarranted intrusion into their internal affairs by the West. &nbsp;Others tend to use their position to build around them a network of supporters committed to the regime survival, one that is notably oblivious to the ideals of human rights.</p><p dir="ltr">Saeed Mortazavi, for example, Iran’s General Prosecutor and the Chief of Revolutionary Court, faced murder charges over the 2009 torture and killing of three detained protesters at an infamous Kahrizak Detention Center and was acquitted on August 19, 2015. Nonetheless, the election of Hassan Rouhani in the 2013 elections has given people some hope for change and normalization of relations with the West in this current climate of fear. On November 2, 2016, Mortazavi was sentenced to receive 135 lashes for charges related to a corruption trial and he was later replaced by Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi upon approval by the head of the judiciary.</p><p dir="ltr">The question remains: with impunity at the top levels of government as a significant and ongoing problem, how do human rights activists engage and with whom? Perhaps human rights engagement with perpetrators could come less directly: NGOs and grassroots organizations could lobby in parliament to introduce bills regarding the promotion of human rights in Iran (e.g., just recently, a bill was passed to equalize "blood money"—which allows convicts to be pardoned by the victim’s family if they receive financial compensation—of men and women). Some academic organizations and individuals, such as Mehdi Zakerian, have held conferences and workshops on human rights, while also publishing their proceedings in academic journals or <a href="http://isjq.net/en/tag/international-studies-journal/" target="_blank">creating new journals.</a> Other human rights scholars have worked and cooperated with local UN agencies. Private schools could add courses on human rights, and indeed, some universities have offered courses on human rights and provided the students with credible human rights books. In addition, social media serves as an important medium to educate Iranians on the subject of human rights with some degree of internal legitimacy and justification, without concern of intervention from the state. Increasingly, civil society associations in Iran have held educational sessions at homes for small groups of people to discuss human rights and how these rights apply to their day-to-day lives.</p><p dir="ltr">All of these grassroots efforts to advance human rights standards encounter a power structure and conservative clerical establishment that has zero tolerance for human rights. Bottom-up and grassroots organizing and efforts are thus essential to making human rights a sustainable movement in the coming years. How effective these strategies are in the long term remains to be seen. But historically, gains in human rights have been slow in Iran. One day, true engagement with perpetrators might improve Iran’s overall situation, but given the country’s current political climate, such engagement is simply not possible—yet.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Perps_inset_1.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Perps_inset_2.png'" target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/engaging-with-perpetrators-for-human-rights"><img alt="“Perpetrators" border="0" name="Imgs" width="140" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Perps_inset_1.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/danielle-celermajer/navigating-minefield-of-working-with-perpetrators">Navigating the minefield of working with perpetrators</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/james-dawes/to-understand-perpetrators-we-must-care-about-them">To understand perpetrators, we must care about them</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/kiran-grewal/to-change-torture-practices-we-must-change-entire-system">To change torture practices, we must change the entire system</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/rachel-wahl/working-with-enemy-pros-and-cons-of-collaborating-with-perpetrators">Working with the enemy: the pros and cons of collaborating with perpetrators</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nazila-ghanea/using-faith-to-reinforce-human-rights-of-bah%C3%A1%E2%80%99%C3%ADs-in-iran">Using faith to reinforce human rights of Bahá’ís in Iran</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Mahmood Monshipouri Middle East & North Africa Engaging with Perpetrators in Human Rights Wed, 19 Apr 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Mahmood Monshipouri 110173 at https://www.opendemocracy.net “Speaking truth to power:” a call for praxis in human rights https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/alicia-ely-yamin/speaking-truth-to-power-call-for-praxis-in-human-rights <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/YaminApril.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p> <p>Human rights require struggles over power and systems of thought—not just fights against individual violators and institutional inequities. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/trump-and-human-rights" target="_blank">Trump and Human Rights</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">While conservative populist nationalism surged in the last year, I do not agree that its ascendance was inevitable. But I do believe that the human rights community writ large—from North and South alike—must grasp this opportunity to turn to a praxis grounded in struggles against abuses of power, of all sorts. The word “praxis” suggests the need to connect philosophical ideas and theory with real-life experience and action in the political world, yet there is a tendency at this time to be <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/stephen-hopgood/human-rights-past-their-sell-by-date">defensive</a> or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/samuel-moyn/human-rights-and-age-of-inequality">critical</a> of the human rights discourse, and neither of these positions <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/c%C3%A9sar-rodr%C3%ADguez-garavito/against-reductionist-views-of-human-rights">fully captures empirical realities</a>. There are equally tendencies to argue that the way forward is to focus on <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/chris-grove/human-rights-as-grassroots-transformative-response-to-trump-s-america">national, grass-roots movements</a> or, alternatively, to reinforce a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/kathryn-sikkink/international-pressure-on-us-human-rights-matters-now-more-than-eve">rules-based internationalism</a>. I do not pretend to know—or even think that—there is a single path forward. But I do fervently believe that the justified alarm around recent events provides an opportunity for profound reflection on human rights theory and practice that cannot be wasted.</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">Over the decades, promoters of human rights pushed the bounds of human and governmental agency.</p><p dir="ltr">Marx famously said that he was not interested in understanding the world but in changing the world. But now more than ever, we need to understand the world in order to change it, if we are to have any hope of seeing “a social and international order” where everyone can effectively enjoy their human rights. Human rights are, or should fundamentally be, about the regulation of power—as shields from tyranny in the public square and private bedroom; as curbs on public lassitude and private greed that undermine social justice; but also, and urgently, as challenges to the structures of thought that also drive patterns of suffering and indignity across the globe. Over the decades, promoters of human rights pushed the bounds of human and governmental agency; re-interpreted norms in light of different populations’ experiences; showed the porousness and arbitrariness of divides between the public and private, and between the political and economic realms in the traditional “liberal state”; and created institutional frameworks and procedures at national and international levels. Throughout, the single most important source of human rights consciousness and energy has come from the diverse people who have been affected by, and collectively struggled against, what Paul Farmer has elegantly termed <a target="_blank" href="mailto:http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php%3Fisbn=9780520243262">“pathologies of power.”</a>&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Yet the nature of power abuses that rights seek to confront has evolved. Struggles against “traditional” oppression and brutality, as well as in defense of democratic institutions, clearly remain pressing. But it is also true the international order for which post-War institutions were built is now “the global order”. And a global elite, which conservative nationalists cynically decry for their own interests, has captured this global order. Indeed, neoliberalism has become a hegemonic form of organizing the world, as well as our collective consciousness.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/YaminApril.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Pixabay (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> When decisional autonomy is reduced to “consumer choice,” it degrades the idea of what being human means. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">When everything from health care to genetic information is commercialized, and everything from romantic relationships to politics (the epitome of this being Trump) to the public square itself (as in Facebook) becomes a marketing opportunity, meaning is hollowed out. When decisional autonomy is reduced to “consumer choice,” it degrades the idea of what being human means. And human rights depend, more than anything else, on this simultaneously inter-subjective and collective idea of humans as subjects of reason and conscience, members of a polity, and agents of change.</p><p dir="ltr">When rights are no longer “the magic wand of inclusion and exclusion, of visibility and invisibility, of power and no power… the marker of our citizenship and our relation to others” that US black feminist scholar <a target="_blank" href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674014718">Patricia Williams</a> so eloquently described, we need to understand not just why but also what to do. We cannot confront hegemonic power the same way as we have historically confronted domination; as French critical theorist, <a target="_blank" href="https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/agony-power">Henri Baudrillard</a> argues, hegemony is fought not from the outside in but the inside out.</p><p dir="ltr">Thus, it is not surprising that responses to this alienating and exclusionary discourse of modernity are fundamentally anti-modernist—from radical Islamic groups to the Christian fundamentalists who mix racist and misogynistic aspirations with legitimate economic frustration in the US and seek to sow uncertainty, chaos and violence to undermine the existing order at national and global levels. Nor is it surprising that in place of the pluralist constitutionalist visions modernism offered, human identity for these groups is reduced to a series of binary adjectives untethered to the complexity of reality—white/black, Christian/Muslim, immigrant/citizen, gay/straight, male/female, etc.</p><p dir="ltr">So, what can we do in the human rights community? Of course many in this diverse community are already engaged in collective reflection, as this forum attests. But I believe that we must reach across silos as well as across North/South and academic/activist divides to be able to more effectively deploy rights frameworks and tools to subvert the forms of hegemonic power that so pervasively colonize our consciousness.</p><p dir="ltr">The power of hegemony lies in the acceptance of the inevitability of a given set of social structures and processes, to the point where they cease to be seen as mutable political &nbsp;&nbsp;arrangements and become the “way things are”. Speaking truth to power requires that the human rights community stand outside the magical circle of belief about the neoliberal understanding of the progress in the world. The ever-greater abdication of responsibility by states (and some institutions of global governance) to private actors, is, after all, a political stance about the role of markets in allocating social goods, and the meaning of accountability. It’s not a neutral quest for greater efficiency and innovation.</p><p dir="ltr">The way in which <a target="_blank" href="http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/S/bo23044232.html">knowledge and systems of knowledge are (re)produced</a> can, however, be more subtle. For example, the creation of <a target="_blank" href="http://humanrights.harvard.edu/publications/power-numbers-critical-review-mdg-targets-and-indicators">human rights indicators</a>, has been driven by the very real need to go beyond the symbolism of norms and capture policy efforts and outcomes, especially in economic and social rights. Yet the recent exponential surge in the adoption of such indicators (often quantitative and synthetic, meaning combining two or more measures), by donors, governments and global institutions suggests that only what gets counted, counts.</p><p dir="ltr">The goal of enabling objective cross-country comparisons appears naturally desirable, reasonable and neutral. Nonetheless, it is precisely the abstraction from social context—and therefore from complexities such as what legal norms imply in different societies, the meaningfulness of participation and other process concerns—that can cause these crystallized metrics to sometimes obscure more than they reveal about the power dynamics at play. Rather than better capturing reality, such indicators may well come to define reality. And over-reliance on such technocratic exercises may well undermine our consciousness of the need to struggle against the structural obstacles within countries and in the global order.</p><p dir="ltr">The human rights community has already developed methods to identify harmful gender stereotypes or inadvertent discrimination, along with criteria for assessing and making &nbsp;inequity in policy and budgetary efforts visible. Now, it needs to develop a praxis for exposing and disrupting the discourses that structure our collective imaginations, as well as destabilizing neoliberal paradigms that impoverish our conceptions of development, democracy, and the meaning of being human.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/trump-and-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Trump_Inset_2.png '" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Trump_Inset_1.png '"> <img src=" https://opendemocracy.net/files/Trump_Inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="Trump and human rights – Read on" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="//www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-openpage"><img src="/files/openPagesidebox.png " alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/paige-berges/republicans-move-to-break-with-united-nations">Republicans move to break with the United Nations</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/courtenay-r-conrad-justin-conrad-james-piazza-and-james-igoe-walsh/preparing-for-te">Preparing for terrorism—and potential torture—under President Trump</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/mark-philip-bradley/might-trump-lead-us-activists-to-rediscover-international-human">Might Trump lead US activists to rediscover international human rights? </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/stuart-wilson/opportunities-for-resistance-trump-s-authoritarianism-and-law">Opportunities for resistance: Trump’s authoritarianism and the law</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/david-p-forsythe/death-knell-of-american-exceptionalism-under-trump">The death knell of American Exceptionalism under Trump</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/salil-tripathi/world-is-watching-corporate-action-on-trump-travel-ban">The world is watching—corporate action on Trump travel ban</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/james-goldston/making-human-rights-movement-great-again-amidst-rising-nationalism">Making the human rights movement great again—amidst rising nationalism</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights openGlobalRights-openpage Alicia Ely Yamin Global Trump and Human Rights Tue, 18 Apr 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Alicia Ely Yamin 110172 at https://www.opendemocracy.net When watching violence is your job: workers on the digital frontline https://www.opendemocracy.net/sam-dubberley/when-watching-violence-is-your-job-workers-on-digital-frontline <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/DubberlyApril_0.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p><p>Human rights organizations must do more for staff at headquarters who are on the digital front lines. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank">mental health and human rights</a>.<strong><em>&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights-6" target="_blank">العربية</a>. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sam-dubberley/cuando-observar-la-violencia-es-tu-trabajo-los-trabajadores-en-la-primera-l-nea-digita" target="_blank">Español</a>.&nbsp;</em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">To say that mobile technologies, social media and increased connectivity have had a huge impact on human rights investigation is nothing new. Human rights organisations have been using new technologies in their work for decades. Researchers and activists have set up <a target="_blank" href="https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1810/253508/Koettl_Citizen%20Media%20Research%20and%20Verifcation_FINAL%20%281%29.pdf?sequence=1&amp;isAllowed=y">new workflows</a>, we have processes to verify that an image depicts what we are told it is, and the human rights community has considered <a target="_blank" href="https://www.theengineroom.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/datnav.pdf">how we to protect those depicted in the imagery</a> we discover. While much has been written about these changes, little consideration has been given to how such work has affected human rights investigators themselves. There is little discussion as to how organisations need to address the mental health of investigators based at their headquarters in London or New York or Geneva. How do organizations build resilience against vicarious trauma amongst their staff working not on the physical front line, but on the digital front line?</p><p dir="ltr" class="mag-quote-center">It can be dangerous&nbsp;or&nbsp;difficult to enter&nbsp;some countries to conduct investigation.</p><p dir="ltr">Traditionally, human rights investigation is conducted in the field. Ideally, of course, this is still the case. However, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/isis-mass-grave-rig-landmines-journalists-shifa-gardi-rudaw-war-crimes-investigators-iraq-mosul-a7606196.html">it can be dangerous</a> or <a target="_blank" href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/world/middleeast/israel-human-rights-watch-visa.html">difficult to enter</a> some countries to conduct investigation. The availability of <a target="_blank" href="http://www.crossroadstoday.com/story/34418111/global-image-sensor-market-is-expected-to-cross-usd-16-billion-by-2021">cheap mobile images sensors</a> and improved network connections today means that human rights investigation can be done from the relative safety of head offices. Within this progress lies a big problem for the investigator. Videos and photographs depicting human rights violations or humanitarian crises in far-off places are often captured on the mobile phones of the people who are themselves the victims of the possible abuses or humanitarian crises. They are captured haphazardly with the goal of raising awareness of their plight. <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cjr.org/criticism/in_human_rights_reporting_the_perils_of_too_much_information.php">They require verification</a>—and frequently depict the immediate raw aftermath of a violent event, such as massacres in the Syrian conflict, or extra-judicial killings in Nigeria.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/DubberlyApril_0.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br />Pixabay (Some rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> Traditionally, human rights investigation is conducted in the field. Ideally, of course, this is still the case. However, it can be dangerous or difficult to enter some countries to conduct investigation. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">While the human rights investigator knows they have to use this content—to see if it can be turned into <a target="_blank" href="http://www.yalelawjournal.org/forum/open-source-evidence-on-trial">evidence for advocacy or legal action</a>—they are often seeing far bloodier and more graphic content than the traditional investigator would ever see. <a target="_blank" href="http://eyewitnessmediahub.com/research/vicarious-trauma/findings/how-the-frontline-has-expanded-to-include-the-headquarters">As a journalist</a> who worked on the front line and with digital content noted: “You witness [violence] a lot more with UGC [user-generated content]. You’re exposed to more intense visual material than battle-hardened war cameramen sitting in Sarajevo in the middle of the 1990s because it’s coming at you from everywhere—even more so than say in Jerusalem. I was there at the height of the intifada and there were body parts flying in and out of the office like nobody’s business, but there’s now a lot more of it”.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2016, Amnesty International launched the <a target="_blank" href="http://newscientist.com/article/2112483-human-rights-squad-detects-abuse-in-warzone-social-media-images/">Digital Verification Corps</a>—a network of <a target="_blank" href="https://citizenevidence.org/2016/10/06/embarking-on-the-path-of-verification/">student volunteers based at universities</a> around the world who are trained in the verification of social media content. Its goal was to help Amnesty with its research but also to help <a target="_blank" href="https://syrianarchive.org/">other organisations and projects</a> where possible. All the volunteers receive training in open source investigation skills, but they also receive resiliency training. In fact, participation in the Digital Verification Corps is not allowed without each volunteer having had both of these trainings. </p><p>Including such training on vicarious trauma is critical for this program and others like it. The most recent edition of the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.dsm5.org/">Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders</a> published in 2013 was updated to classify watching videos of traumatic events as being a pathway to post-traumatic stress disorder if it is part of the individual’s work. If, as representatives of Amnesty’s Digital Verification Corps, we failed to build the resiliency of individuals working with traumatic imagery, we would be remiss in our duty of care to our volunteers.</p><p dir="ltr">Unfortunately, many organisations are still not doing even this basic due diligence. <a target="_blank" href="http://eyewitnessmediahub.com/research/vicarious-trauma/findings">Research has shown</a> that professionals working with this content are being affected by it, but organisations are not responding. This, I would argue, is for three main reasons. First, the speed of change. The rapid expansion of photographs and videos being published on social media networks has <a target="_blank" href="https://thenextweb.com/insider/2017/03/06/the-incredible-growth-of-the-internet-over-the-past-five-years-explained-in-detail/?utm_source=t.co&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=The%20incredible%20growth%20of%20the%20internet%20over%20the%20past%20five%20years%20-%20explained%20in%20detail&amp;utm_campaign=share%2Bbutton">surprised even the most avid technology watchers</a>. With more and more content shared, and <a target="_blank" href="http://citizenevidence.org">new techniques for open source investigation</a> developed on the fly, human rights organisations have been forced to engage with content sourced from social media without necessarily being able to put any processes in place. Second, this speed has been met, in general, with a lack of awareness amongst managers. Many managers have not worked in a social media content environment and are, therefore, not necessarily aware of the workflows involved in sourcing and verifying content and the distressing impact this can have. Third, because of the speed and the lack of knowledge of how social media environments work, the social media researcher has rarely been trained in resilience and how to cope in these environments. They also do not <a target="_blank" href="https://firstdraftnews.com/i-feel-i-cant-say-no-to-horrific-ugc-because-i-want-to-do-well-in-my-career/">feel able to speak up about the problems</a> they are having with their managers (who do not understand vicarious trauma) as they fear it may have a negative impact on their careers.</p><p>Traditionally, organisations have provided care and resilience training for staff sent on mission to work on the physical frontline, which is obviously important. There is a need, however, for this training to be extended to those working with distressing social media imagery—those working on the digital frontline. Managers and organisational structures need to be sensitive to vicarious or secondary trauma and the associated risk of post-traumatic stress disorder. While staff working in danger zones do, to some extent, have their mental health needs recognised, a stigma connected to mental wellbeing and viewing distressing imagery in the main headquarters of an organisation exists. Lifting this stigma—and the associated barrier to seeking help—is required so that those researchers who find and verify content sourced from social media can effectively raise awareness of human rights abuses. While attitudes are changing, there is a need for organisations to cooperate and better understand the link between viewing social media imagery and vicarious trauma.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_2.png'" onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png'"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" width="140" name="Imgs" border="0" alt="“Data" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/fred-abrahams/healthy-for-long-haul-building-resilience-in-human-rights-workers">Healthy for the long haul: building resilience in human rights workers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nzik-awad/we-cannot-afford-to-be-traumatized-reality-for-grassroots-advocates">We cannot afford to be traumatized: the reality for grassroots advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/douglas-mathew-mawadri/fighting-stigma-protecting-mental-health-of-african-rights-a">Fighting stigma: protecting the mental health of African rights advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates">Evidence of trauma: the impact of human rights work on advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/human-rights-data-used-wrong-way-can-be-misleading">Human rights data used the wrong way can be misleading</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Sam Dubberley Global Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Wed, 12 Apr 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Sam Dubberley 110043 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Healthy for the long haul: building resilience in human rights workers https://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/fred-abrahams/healthy-for-long-haul-building-resilience-in-human-rights-workers <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/AbrahamsApril.jpg" alt="" width="140" /></p> <p>Human rights organizations are finally recognizing that mental health programs for their own staff are long overdue. A contribution to the openGlobalRights debate on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights" target="_blank">mental health and human rights.</a>&nbsp;<strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/node/110032" target="_blank">العربية</a>. </em><strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/fred-abrahams/saludables-largo-plazo-aumentar-la-resiliencia-de-los-trabajadores-de" target="_blank">Español</a>.</em>&nbsp;</strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr">About 15 years ago, Human Rights Watch realized we had to get more serious about physical security. The risks to ourselves and others were too great, so we created a security team to develop guidelines and to implement protocols. A few years ago, we made the overdue decision to hire a full-time security director.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">We cannot eliminate the mental stresses of human rights work, but we can offer preventive care and remedies to stay healthy and productive over the long-term.</p><p>Today we’re taking similar steps to protect the mental health of our roughly 450 staff around the world. We cannot eliminate the mental stresses of human rights work, but we can offer preventive care and remedies to stay healthy and productive over the long-term.</p><p dir="ltr">In part this is linked to staying physically safe. Groups like Tactical Tech use the term “<a target="_blank" href="https://holistic-security.tacticaltech.org/">holistic security</a>” to describe the interplay between self-care, psycho-social well-being and physical safety. When employees are sleep deprived, anxious or stressed, they are more likely to magnify minor incidents or to downplay serious threats.</p> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Begins--> <div style="color: #999999; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal; font-style: italic; text-align: right;"> <img width="444" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/AbrahamsApril.jpg" style="max-width: 100%; background-color: #ffffff; padding: 7px; border: 1px solid #999999;" /> <br /> Human Rights Watch (All rights reserved) </div> <p style="color: #666666; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;"> A Human Rights Watch researcher showing a video to villagers in Mozambique, 2013. </p> <hr style="color: #d2d3d5; background-color: #d2d3d5; height: 1px; width: 85%; border: none; text-align: center; margin: 0 auto;" /> <!--Image/Credit/Caption Ends--> <p dir="ltr">Arguments of efficiency also carry weight. Every time someone takes an extended break or leaves the job due to burn out, or even PTSD, we face a gap in our ability to work for others. As a practical matter, human rights organizations should give staff the tools to stay healthy, and offer support when they feel unwell.</p><p dir="ltr">But the focus on mental health goes well beyond the pragmatic goals of security and productivity. Fundamentally, it’s a recognition that human rights organizations have a responsibility to care for their staff. As the <a target="_blank" href="http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0145188">body of evidence</a> about the mental health impact of human rights work grows, so does our obligation to address it.</p><p dir="ltr">This duty extends beyond front-line investigators to include the reviewers, lawyers, video editors, press officers, advocates and others who process and disseminate the material. &nbsp;As visual products and social media have become essential to the work, many of us spend hours looking at disturbing material which can have an equally <a target="_blank" href="http://eyewitnessmediahub.com/research/vicarious-trauma">debilitating effect</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Until recently, large human rights groups like ours have tended to lag behind the media, humanitarians and others who were more aware of the mental hardship caused by their work. Out of ignorance or martyrdom, we persevered, convinced that we could not take a break. At times the culture of “pushing through” prevails, especially as the field gets professionalized and people try to prove their worth.</p><p dir="ltr">The stigma around mental health also still exists, with people at times afraid to raise concerns lest they be considered ineffective or weak. The organizational push for output and impact can intimidate those who need help.</p><p dir="ltr">Thankfully, these attitudes are starting to shift. We and other international human rights organizations increasingly see self-care not as selfish but as strategic. If we as individuals and organizations want to be effective and healthy over time, we must care for ourselves and each other.</p><p dir="ltr">A few years ago, for instance, Human Rights Watch re-examined its insurance package to ensure that colleagues get adequate coverage for counsellors and therapists. Recognizing this was often insufficient, we now help to cover six additional sessions per year beyond what insurance provides.</p><p>We also hired a full-time mental health professional who is available for confidential consultations in person, by phone or by Skype. This has proven a valuable resource, especially as the person has come to know us as individuals and as an organization, giving recommendations on what to improve and trainings to new staff.</p><p>Last year we formed a task force on stress and resilience to explore how else to improve. The overarching goal is to raise awareness across the organization, to reduce the stigma, and to send a message that these issues are safe to discuss.</p><p dir="ltr">The group developed internal guidelines – posted prominently around offices—for working with graphic photos and videos, recognizing that people beyond field researchers face the risk of secondary trauma. A staff survey on mental health benefits and usage helped us identify where the challenges lie.</p><p>A key focus is how we communicate within the organization. Staff have repeatedly identified the internal editing process and our brash manner as sources of stress. After hearing tales of abuse, we can explode when a colleague is abrupt or rude.</p><p>That challenge is difficult to overcome, and regularly distributed e-mail etiquette guidelines only go so far. The organizational culture must change to develop practices that promote respectful communication even in stressful times. More essentially, we must offer support so colleagues can prepare for and process the woeful tales.</p><p dir="ltr">Managers play a central role. They need training to recognize the signs of burn-out and how to handle it, as well as backing to offer workable, creative solutions. An organization’s leadership can set the tone by preemptively raising issues, discussing their own approaches, and giving staff the space to raise concerns.</p><p dir="ltr">We are also exploring how to offer peer-to-peer support. Our in-house mentoring program goes some of the way, but basic training would teach us how to help each other.</p><p dir="ltr">Lastly, we are consulting with other organizations who are grappling with these challenges, including in the medical, humanitarian and media fields. Best practices can emerge from discussion and debate.</p><p>In the end, we should not deny or ignore the mental burdens of our work but acknowledge and manage them, so they don’t compete with the deep sense of meaning and joy.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="imgupl_floating_none"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_large/wysiwyg_imageupload/537772/EPlogo-ogr-4_2.png" alt="" title="imgupl_floating_none" width="300" height="115" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_large" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="http://www.opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/OpenGlobalRights-highlight4English.png" alt="" width="140" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-sidebox"> <div class="field-label"> Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a onmouseout="document.Imgs.src='https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png'" onmouseover="document.Imgs.src=' https://opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_2.png'" target="_blank" href="https://opendemocracy.net/openglobalrights/mental-health-and-well-being-in-human-rights"><img alt="“Data" border="0" name="Imgs" width="140" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/Mental-health_inset_1.png" /></a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/evidence-of-trauma-impact-of-human-rights-work-on-advocates">Evidence of trauma: the impact of human rights work on advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/douglas-mathew-mawadri/fighting-stigma-protecting-mental-health-of-african-rights-a">Fighting stigma: protecting the mental health of African rights advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/nzik-awad/we-cannot-afford-to-be-traumatized-reality-for-grassroots-advocates">We cannot afford to be traumatized: the reality for grassroots advocates</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lucia-nader-akwasi-aidoo/africa%E2%80%99s-social-movements-present-opportunities-not-threat">Africa’s social movements present opportunities, not threats, for rights groups</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/meg-satterthwaite/human-rights-data-used-wrong-way-can-be-misleading">Human rights data used the wrong way can be misleading</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/openglobalrights/lucia-nader/firm-yet-flexible-keeping-human-rights-organisations-relevant">Firm yet flexible: keeping human rights organisations relevant</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/openglobalrights/jill-olivier/faith-and-health-care-in-africa-complex-reality">Faith and health care in Africa: a complex reality</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> openGlobalRights openGlobalRights Fred Abrahams Global Mental Health and Well-being in Human Rights Tue, 11 Apr 2017 08:30:00 +0000 Fred Abrahams 110007 at https://www.opendemocracy.net