Human Rights Day 2020: Standing Up for Human Rights

This Human Rights Day, Global Communities is actively working to help protect vulnerable populations around the world, particularly in Syria, where after six long years, individuals are still displaced by the millions. The resulting refugee crisis is the largest in history, and Global Communities is responding to the needs of refugees and the displaced across the region – not only in Syria, but in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon as well. We provide protection to the most vulnerable in this crisis wherever they shelter for now. We do this with a focus on dual accountability – to the communities whom we are committed to helping and to the donors who trust us to use their resources wisely and effectively. As women and youth are particularly at risk in the crisis, Global Communities builds protection of these populations into our work with refugees and the displaced. In Syria, we established Child Friendly Spaces, a Youth Empowerment Program center, and a Women and Girls Safe Space, all of which conduct outreach activities within the camp setting to raise awareness on important issues identified by residents such as unsafe conditions, health problems, and social issues. The Child Friendly Spaces establish safe spaces where young children can engage in recreation, psychosocial, and informal education activities. We engage with communities and Syrian organizations in the region to help Syrians fleeing their homes to cope with the enormous demographic shifts that have taken place, adapt to their new lives and livelihoods, and build resilience. We also focus on shelter needs, food security and health and sanitation.  

In Sri Lanka, Global Communities is working with the government and local civil society organizations to address underlying challenges to reconciliation. The program works by promoting a shared and inclusive Sri Lankan identity, reducing socio-economic disparities, and strengthening cohesion and resilience among multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities. Activities focus on expanding citizen-driven initiatives and networks among local communities and supporting those affected by Sri Lanka’s civil war. The program also strengthens local governments and community-based organizations that provide critical services to the most needy, including increased access to psychosocial services. Additionally, the project aims to increase opportunities for youth and women to exercise leadership in promoting responsible citizenship and reconciliation, and to ensure that the rights of these marginalized populations are not discounted.

And we work alongside many communities in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) that rely on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) as a primary livelihood. We are part of a greater commitment among other NGOs, industry and government to work collaboratively with artisanal miners to find a safe, productive and economically viable way of earning living without contributing to conflict and minimizing harm to people and the environment. The USAID-funded CVCFG (Commercially Viable Conflict-Free Gold), which is led by Global Communities in partnership with Levin Sources, is designed to establish a responsibly-sourced, artisanal gold supply chain that originates in eastern DRC. Through this project, we seek to ensure the people of the DRC benefit from their own natural resources by facilitating access to new markets for responsibly-sourced artisanal gold; help artisanal miners and other stakeholders in the supply chain in the DRC to work in safer and fairer conditions; and work with Congolese authorities to create the right conditions for a commercially-viable artisanal gold supply chain that does not contribute to conflict, respects human rights and supports inclusive, export-led economic growth.