Where is the human rights movement heading to?

January 3, 2017 at 4:08 pm Leave a comment

My good friend, Ed Rekosh of Cardozo Law School recently published a thoughtful and timely article on the current trends in the human rights world. His main interest is the declining business model of the human rights organisations. Most have been caught by surprise by the developments in the past couple of years – growing hostility to human rights, decreasing government funding and ideological shifts which leave the human rights movement into a conundrum.

Most importantly Ed is discussing the possible ways ahead. Innovative products such as ‘apps that facilitate human rights monitoring through collecting, analyzing and organizing around big data” is particularly apt and timely idea. Human rights are normative values but also can be seen as events around which information amasses. Smart and creative uses of such information can ‘productize’ the human rights idea and give the human rights defenders valuable tool for fund-raising and financial sustainability.

Here are all 6 proposals for a new paradigm for (self)funding human rights  organisations:

  1. Return to traditional forms of organizing that are less dependent on expensive, professionalized operations, in some cases harnessing trends in professional “pro bono” volunteering.

  2. Embrace peer-to-peer and crowd-sourcing technology, through crowdfunding platforms, hashtag campaigns and apps that facilitate human rights monitoring through collecting, analyzing and organizing around big data.

  3. Develop membership-based models for local fundraising, like Amnesty International-India and other NGOs in the global South have begun to do.

  4. Create new sources of revenue through entrepreneurial approaches to generate fee-for-services revenue.

  5. Disrupt abusive business practices in a particular industry, such as employment of migrant domestic helpers, by setting up alternative, socially responsible businesses.

  6. Support strategies that leverage the influence of investors, consumers, large companies and global brands, as Oxfam and other NGOs have done on a number of issues


Entry filed under: Human Rights.

Nepalese legal aid lawyers recognized as important for democracy, rule of law, ending impunity and strengthening the criminal law system

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