Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network

Human Rights Defenders

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

 Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Article 1



"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." Confucius

“A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.”

  A. Philip Randolph

Taking Action for Human Rights

ACTION - Awareness does not create change. ACTION does!


  • For yourself
  • For others
  • For the community as a whole

Where Advocacy can take place:

  • Locally
  • Nationally
  • Internationally

Examples of advocacy actions include:

Educational Action

  • Educating ourselves: gathering the information we need to understand the issue and analyzing what we have learned;
  • Educating others: drawing the attention of allies and the general public to an issue that needs to be addressed and showing how we want to create change;
  • Changing attitudes: addressing stereotypes and misconceptions about a particular issue.

Political Action

  • Addressing policy-makers: influencing them to consult with and include the concerns of people when making public policies;
  • Addressing law-makers: lobbying for supports and fulfillment of the human rights of people.
  • Addressing public officials: pressuring for enforcement of laws and policies that respect and protect  human rights.
  • Social and community service providers: effectively communicating for service delivery. For example: navigating the service delivery system through communication with bankers, grocers, social workers, and/or medical professionals.

Legal Action

  • Creating new law: participating in advocacy for new laws and taking part in the drafting of such laws.
  • Repealing negative law: taking action to repeal laws that stand in the way of the enjoyment of rights.
  • Working to implement human rights law:



  • What? For example: What type of issue is the group addressing? What type of actions are necessary?
  • Who? For example: Who will take action?
  • When? For example: When will the action be complete?
  • Where?
  • Why and/or how? For example: How will you obtain the financial, material, and/or human resources that may be needed to take action?




Asking these questions will make sure that everybody understands what is going to happen next. The next step in action planning is making sure that the plan is feasible and reasonable. Once you complete the action, it is important to follow-up with additional questions:

  • When was the action taken?
  • What happened as a result of the action?
  • What are your next steps?




•           What are your advantages?

•           What do you do well?

•           What do other people see as your strengths?

•           What unique resources do you have?


Consider strengths from your organization's and/or your personal point of view and from the point of view of the people you deal with. Do not be modest: be realistic!



•    What could you improve?

•    What do you do badly?

•   What should you avoid?

•   Where do you have fewer resources than others?

•    What are others likely to see as your weaknesses?




•    What are the good opportunities facing you?

•     What are the interesting trends you are aware of?

•      Who are your potential allies?




•    What obstacles do you face?

•     Does your group have all the required skills for the job?

•     Do competitors or opponents already exist?1


Surveying the Field


1.   Consider these questions about your present and future work:

•    On which of these challenges are you or others already working to change? How?

•    Does your work address the underlying causes of the situation? How?

•     Would some of these challenges be especially difficult, disadvantageous, or even dangerous to address? Why?


2.    Consider these questions about allies and potential allies:

•     Who are the most likely allies to support your action? Why?

•      Do you share the same goals?

•      How can your work and theirs complement and support each other?

•      What do you and/or your organization have to offer the collaboration?

•      What do you and/or your organization have to gain from the collaboration?

•     Are there potential problems with collaboration with any group?

•     How can you establish this collaboration?


Gathering Information






Adapted from Human Rights Yes! Action and Advocacy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

by Janet E. Lord, Katherine N. Guernsey, Joelle M. Balfe & Valerie L. Karr
Nancy Flowers, Editor '

See the full curriculum at the Human Rights Resource Center

Copyright (c) 2009 Human Rights Resource Center.

Funding for the Human Rights Yes! project has been generously provided by Shafallah Center for Children with Special Needs.

"I knew someone had to take the first step and I made up my mind not to move."

-- Rosa Parks

"It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error."

Robert H. Jackson, 1950

Source:American Communications Association v. Douds,339 U.S. 382,442

"We know the future will outlast all of us, but I believe that all of us will live on in the future we make. "

Ted Kennedy

Ghandi Speech - Non-Violence Speech

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." -Mohandas Gandhi

"I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do."
-Edward Everett

"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

"When I dare to be powerful -- to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid." -Audre Lorde

"If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships - the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace."
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

"There will be no peace among the nations without peace among the religions and no peace among the religions without dialogue."

 -- Fr. Hans Kung

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

Martin Luther King

"The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows."



“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
― Leo Buscaglia

Medical Whistleblower Advocacy Network


P.O. 42700 

Washington, DC 20015

MedicalWhistleblowers (at)


"Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself."  Confucius

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt- Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic", delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910