Sunday 8 June 2008

Member Care and Human Rights--7

Guidelines to Help with Advocacy

There are many types of situations where persecution or discrimination occurs: imprisonment, sectarian violence, harassment, extra-judicial execution, psychiatric detention, and laws restricting religious freedom. Here are seven guidelines about how you can prepare for and respond to human rights-related crises on the mission/aid field. This material is from Wilfred Wong’s article in Doing Member Care Well (2002): "Human Rights Advocacy in Missions". To access the entire article, just contact us at:
Overview of the Seven Guidelines
***Pray for God's guidance. If possible, get others to pray and fast about the situation and for you while you take action.

***Identify possible sources of information. Verify the information by getting independent corroboration of the facts. When a problem is starting to arise, one should start to gather the relevant facts in case advocacy needs to be used and for the purposes of informing others so they can pray.

***Discuss the issue of authorization for advocacy or whatever course of action needs to be taken, with the appropriate person. The best people to give authorization are first the person/victim, then the closest immediate family of the person, and then the leader of the church/fellowship group to which the person belongs.

***Communicate the information and request for prayer and action (if authorization has been given) to the relevant contacts in as speedy and secure a manner as possible. Follow this up with further updates as more information is obtained and as the situation develops

***Consider contacting a lawyer if a person is being detained; someone who may be already known to the person, sympathetic to the case, and able to help.

***Consider approaching any locally based people (such as sympathetic diplomats in the foreign embassies or local human rights groups) for assistance. But be sure that these people are trustworthy and bear in mind the implications this may have for your own security.

***Consider whether the person has any dependants who may need assistance as a result of the crisis; e.g., the person may be in prison and unable to provide for the families needs. It is usually better for funds to be channeled through the local church/fellowship, via the approval of the leader, unless there are exceptional circumstances,
Reflection and Discussion
**Who is your immediate sphere of contacts is the most vulnerable to serious human rights violations?
**What are you able and willing to do to help these people?
**In what ways can human rights violations happen within sending organizations?

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