Advocating for Human Rights

The international human rights framework is a powerful, but under-utilized tool for creating positive social change.

MADRE aims to apply human rights to social change initiatives, advance and improve the human rights framework and to make international law relevant and accountable to the people it is meant to serve.

MADRE brings women who work for social change at the community level into the process of creating and monitoring international law by offering training and opportunities for women to advocate for their rights in local, national and international arenas.

MADRE encourages people to identify their lack of access to life-sustaining resources as human rights violations and equips women at the community level with the training they need to effectively demand their rights and play meaningful roles in decisions that affect them.

These trainings enable women to infuse local human rights struggles with the power of international law and hold their governments accountable to international human rights standards. Conversely, the participation of community-based women's human rights activists in the international arena ensures that the perspectives and needs of historically marginalized women are incorporated into international laws and processes.

MADRE also serves as a bridge between our sister organizations so they can join forces on international campaigns and exchange ideas and strategies to strengthen their work for social justice in their home countries.

Today, local conditions are so heavily impacted by global trends, that community-based activists must be equipped to understand and impact developments in the international arena. Without this link to "macro" policies, local work remains a limited, and ultimately exhausting venture. MADRE human rights trainings aim, therefore, to build the capacity of local organizations to situate their struggles in a global context and to influence national and international policies.

MADRE also contends that international work that is not rooted in community priorities risks becoming abstract and irrelevant to most women. That's why MADRE brings community-based women into international processes where human rights and legal standards are created and monitored. MADRE has worked within human rights processes and in the global women's movement to insist that resources—such as translation, per diem stipends and popular versions of legal texts—are allocated to guarantee that the international arena is accessible to community-based women organizers.

Ultimately, policies at the local, national and international levels must function together to protect women's human rights.