Engaging the community

Effective community engagement has proven to be a key success factor when implementing fundamental rights. Identifying partners in the community and sharing knowledge creates greater understanding and the basis for working together towards a common goal.

The best advocates for fundamental rights are the people who hold these rights.

Working together with individuals and communities requires flexibility and partnership to succeed. Finding partners and developing actions together that enhance fundamental rights depends on how well the community is known and understood.

Knowing the community will help identify organisations and individuals who take an interest and should play an active role in relation to a specific fundamental rights issue – the “stakeholders”. It entails being inclusive, for example including people with disabilities or marginalised groups in society so that everybody can be heard on the decisions that affect them.

Serving the community entails reaching out to the most vulnerable individuals to protect them from fundamental rights violations. Public officials have a duty to safeguard the fundamental rights of everybody in the community. Civil society organisations can play an important role as intermediaries to individuals who may be more reluctant to engage with the authorities.