Winner - 2011 Information
Society Innovation Fund Award (ISIF), Rights and Freedom Category
for www.sithi.org, Cambodia's first
online human rights portal.
What?The Sithi Project is a Cambodian Center for Human Rights (“CCHR”) facilitated project aimed at further developing and implementing collaborative and decentralized approaches to monitoring, documentation and information sharing as a basis for more detailed research and analysis and more sophisticated evidence-based dialogue and advocacy to bring about an improvement in the situation of human rights – particularly civil and political rights – in Cambodia.Why?Cambodia suffers from a widespread disregard for human rights. Whilst the period 2008 -2010 was arguably marked by some improvements in the situation of social and economic rights (with a strong caveat vis a vis land rights), we have seen worrying trends in relation to the situation of civil and political rights. In 2008, CCHR implemented the Database Project, a project designed to change the way in which Civil Society Organizations (“CSOs”) in Cambodia monitor, document and use information on human rights – moving away from decentralized bureaucratic processes dominated by large NGOs, towards a decentralized, specialized and collaborative approach resulting in more research and analysis, more innovative ideas for policy, legislative and structural changes. The Sithi Project continues the work of the Database Project by improving documentation and monitoring for more sophsiticated evidence-based dialogue and advocacy to improve the situation of human rights in Cambodia. How?
- Infrastructure – CCHR will develop and maintain infrastructure for the project, including the human rights web portal, www.sithi.org.
- Training – CCHR will train CSOs to build capacity and transfer skills, knowledge and tools to CSO to empower them to advocate for change. Training will include: introduction to the Sithi Project infrastructure, understanding of both international and domestic human rights law, developing skills on monitoring, research and documentation, sharing knowledge on dialogue and advocacy practices.
- CSOs are empowered through ongoing training – The CCHR will empower CSOs through capacity building by facilitating the transfer of skills, knowledge and tools to CSOs. The training will empower CSO to advocate for change themselves.
- The situation of human rights in Cambodia is collaboratively monitored and documented – The CCHR and Project Participants, collaboratively and separately, will use the Project infrastructure to monitor and document rights violations relevant to their specialization.
- Varied information on the situation of human rights in Cambodia is shared – Violation data and information on human rights in Cambodia in general is disseminated through, amongst other means, the human rights web portal, and raising awareness of human rights violations.
- Detailed and collaborative research and analysis is undertaken – Shared information is utilized for research and analysis of human rights in Cambodia so as to generate more ideas and new approaches for ensuing that universal human rights are realized in Cambodia.
- CSOs undertake joint dialogue and advocacy initiatives to drive improved respect for human rights – CSOs engage in more proactive, holistic and collaborative dialogue and advocacy, pushing for structural, policy and legislative change to improve respect for human rights.
- CSOs’ organizational strength is developed – The organizational development of the CCHR and others is advanced, making them more effective in promoting and protecting human rights.
- The new collaborative approach to human rights work – Collaborative monitoring, documentation and information sharing as a basis for research and evidence based dialogue and advocacy – is discussed and shared with CBOs and development partners – Project plans and infrastructure are shared with other CSOs, encouraging them to adopt it, strengthening civil society’s capacity to improve respect for human rights in Cambodia, particularly civil and political rights.
The target audience of the training and capacity building elements of the Sithi Project are CSOs. The intended beneficiaries in the short-term are the CSOs themselves, though in the long term the result of this Project will benefit all Cambodians. The target audience for the dialogue and advocacy are the Royal Government of Cambodia (“RGC”), who have an obligation to respect, protect and promote human rights, the Cambodian people, to whom the RGC owes guarantees of human rights, and the international community, to exercise influence on the government and support Cambodians in the quest for respect for their human rights.