68. SOME ASPECTS OF THE POLITICS OF WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND THE POLITICS OF EMPOWERMENT. (Part 14 of 16) »

More activism is badly needed along with our efforts to overcome specific HR violations. We need to recommit ourselves to it. We also need to train our new generations of colleagues accordingly, not neglecting preparing them much better for their role as activists with a clearer understanding-of and capacity-to intervene in the political dimensions of HR work.

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67. WHY ARE WE SO OFTEN CONCILIATORY WHEN WE SHOULD BE CONFRONTATIONAL? (Part 13 of 16 ) »

Finally, never forget that doing our technical work better and putting in place more and more efficient training, management and supervision only diverts the attention from the more basic political/structural issues which we have to address if we are serious about wanting to do away with HR violations as a constant sign of inequity. Efficiency is important --but not if only applied to the more technical aspect of combating these violations.

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66. A DEAD-END OPTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS. (Part 12 of 16) »

We seem to get as far as a locked gate. The conservative elements of our ideology prevent us from trespassing or unlocking the gate; of reaching the end line.

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65. SO, WHAT HAVE WE ACHIEVED IN THE LAST FEW YEARS? HAVE WE BEEN USING THE APPROPRIATE STRATEGIES, TACTICS AND TOOLS IN THE BATTLE AGAINST HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS? (Part 11 of 16) »

HR violations surveillance systems have, so far, served more as an instrument to keep a log about (mostly) deteriorating conditions and have seldom been used as a base to put in motion commensurate solutions to reverse the recorded trends when these have been negative. The same can be said about limited HR education programs: alone, they end up teaching people to do what is not in their power to do (as claim holders); these programs thus have only limited potential; they somehow reflect an attitude of: "Keep them poor, but teach them".

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64. PASSIVITY MAKES US ACCOMPLICES OF THE STATUS-QUO. MANY OF US, WITH AN ACADEMIC APPROACH TO CHANGE, SHOULD NOT FORGET THIS. (Part 10 of 16) »

As an international consultant, in this context, the role of the HR activist is beyond doubt a delicate one. As an outside observer s/he should help the local people and local officials see things from another angle --help them to explore their contradictions, perhaps being softly critical, so they can come to their own new conclusions, hopefully without creating false expectations. Sensitization and advocacy skills are perhaps more important to the consultant’s success than technical know how. Paternalism, often a subconscious attitude in consultants, should be actively combated.

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63. MANY AMONG US THINK THAT POLITICS IS DIRTY OR NOT A VIRTUOUS ACTIVITY. (Part 9 of 16) »

Finally, to whom should HR activists be accountable to for their work, besides themselves? Traditionally, we have been accountable to our peers and to funding agencies. We too often neglect our accountability to the public at large and, more specifically, to those whose rights are being violated.

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62. THE POLITICAL IMPERATIVE IN HUMAN RIGHTS WORK. (Part 8 of 16) »

In the long run, there will have to be more radical moral changes in the attitude of many of our colleagues. The question is, will these lead to ideological changes in some? We have already passed the era when we asked scientists to become more applied researchers; now we are asking all development workers to become more socially conscious and more committed

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61. PROJECTS DREAMED UP IN A SOCIAL VACUUM MUST PLAY THEMSELVES OUT IN THE REAL WORLD OF INJUSTICE AND CONFLICT. (Part 7 of 16) »

Success in HR work means liberation. Any action that gives the people more control over their own affairs is an action for HR, even if it does not offer them better health or more bread. But this approach needs to be built from the bottom up. If this does not take place, one has Social Darwinism

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60. AS HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS WE ARE TOO OFTEN COMMITTED TO STABILITY AS THE PREREQUISITE FOR JUSTICE…RATHER THAN THE OTHER WAY AROUND. (Part 6 of 16) »

All the elements needed to study HR violations in their wider economic and political context are there (i.e. unequal distribution between the various sectors of society, the role of state and private interests and the conflicts between them), but in spite of this, our colleagues continue to discuss matters within a framework of cultural differences and ignorance in the area of rights.

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59. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC INJUSTICE ARE NOT AN ACCIDENT. (Part 5 of 16) »

As scientists, technicians, intellectuals and activists, we are restless, dissatisfied and often rightly critical, but often also urgently in need of a more radical ideology. (We are also doing quite nicely: we have a vested interest in the status quo).

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