New Tactics in Human Rights

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New Tactics in Human Rights Project (New Tactics) is an education program providing resources relating strategies and tactics that can be used by people who seek to advance human rights.[1] These resources have been used by activists in panel discussions, by over 60 local groups for both technical and financial help and for training programs.[2]

New Tactics is a project of the Center for Victims of Torture started in 1999.[3] New Tactics identifies its efforts as focused on three areas: "creating and sharing information and materials", "training and mentoring" and "building an online community".[3]

New Tactics in Human Rights resources are organized around analysis of potential solutions rather than that of specific issues, geographic regions or target groups that allow activists to clearly recognize the unique elements of their situation, and to seek approaches that have worked elsewhere and apply them to new regions or issues. This technique may also improve activists’ ability to combine diverse tactics into complex strategies.


In person training such as regional workshops in which activists train each other in tactics they have used and develop "tactical portfolios" of practical tools for applying new tactics. Seven workshops have been held, the most recent in Liberia in February 2007, focusing on post-conflict tactics for rebuilding civil society.

Publications including the book New Tactics in Human Rights: A Resource for Practitioners, which offers a conceptual framework for thinking strategically and tactically to promote human rights, and gives dozens of examples of innovative tactics, categorized by the strategic situation in which they were used.[4] Other publications include the Tactical Notebook Series (Liam Mahoney, series editor)[5] created by participants from the regional cross-training workshops, that provide first-person, detailed information on the use of a tactic and how it may be adapted to other situations.[6]

New Tactics developed "Tactical Mapping" a methodology to help identify the relationships surrounding a human rights abuse, and the points in which the system can be interrupted or transformed, ranging from highly local, personal relationships (e.g., the perpetrator’s professional associations) to international institutions (e.g., the United Nations).[2] It allows a coalition of advocates to see where each is working on the system, and where there are gaps that need to be addressed, either by creating new tactics or finding new allies.

Online presence, the New Tactics website has been recognized as a resource for human rights activists.[7] The website provides access to a searchable database with 49 "Tactic Case Studies"[8] and "over 190 specific and successfully implemented human rights tactics and peer-to-peer dialogs with human rights practitioners in more than 130 countries."[7] The project's website also includes online discussion courses, tools for sharing and networking and a monthly discussion, named "Tactical Dialog", of a featured tactic (examples include: unarmed accompaniment; engaging the media; or using historical sites to spark discussion of current issues). New Tactics also publishes an e-newsletter highlighting specific tactics and information for inspiring innovation and the blog InterTactica by Philippe Duhamel.


  1. ^ "Get Started". New Tactics in Human Rights website. Center for Victims of Torture. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Douglas A.; Pearson, Nancy L. (Summer 2009). "Tactical Mapping: How nonprofits can identify the levers of change" (PDF). Nonprofit Quarterly. Nonprofit Information Networking Association: 92–99. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  3. ^ a b "About New Tactics". New Tactics in Human Rights website. Center for Victims of Torture. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  4. ^ Cornell, Tricia; Kelsch, Kate; Palasz, Nicole (2004). New Tactics in Human Rights: A Resource for Practitioners. Center for Victims of Torture. ISBN 9780975978900. 
  5. ^ O'Flaherty, Michael (2007). The Human Rights Field Operation: Law, Theory and Practice. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. x–xi. ISBN 9780754685456. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  6. ^ Feyter, Koen (8 September 2011). The Local Relevance of Human Rights. Cambridge University Press. p. 122. ISBN 9781139501552. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  7. ^ a b Becker, Jo (19 December 2012). Campaigning for Justice: Human Rights Advocacy in Practice. Stanford University Press. p. 300. ISBN 9780804784382. Retrieved 2013-08-08. 
  8. ^ "Tactic Case Studies". New Tactics in Human Rights website. Center for Victims of Torture. Retrieved 2013-08-08.