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Escalate It | Chapter Seven

Who to Lobby


The starting point for developing lobbying strategies is to research and analyse your situation, the problems you are trying to overcome, opportunities you may be able to take advantage of, and the resources you have available.


Use these questions to pinpoint people to approach and opportunities to leverage.


Analyse Your Situation

Government/foreign policy

  • Has the government you are lobbying signed and ratified any international human rights treaties?
  • Has the government made explicit policy statements and commitments in relation to international human rights issues?
  • Is there parliamentary scrutiny or other official monitoring mechanisms on government policy?
  • Which ministers, departments and interest groups are involved in the formulation of foreign (or other relevant) policy generally and in relation to specific countries or issues? Do you have good access to these people?
  • Who is responsible for foreign policy within political parties?
  • Is the media influential on foreign or trade policy? Is the media more influential in relation to some countries or issues than others? Are some media or journalists more influential on policy than others?
  • Are particular individuals, such as judges, academics, writers or television personalities, likely to have greater influence on policy than other people?
  • How is the ministry of foreign affairs organised? Are there specialists on particular countries and themes? Are you in direct contact with them?
  • Do staff members of the foreign affairs ministry and other relevant government departments receive human rights training?
  • Is there a wider constituency of support for integrating human rights into foreign policy, such as other NGOs?
  • Is there an institutional policymaking body on human rights in international relations, such as a human rights unit? Are you in direct contact with them?
  • Is there specific legislation on the human rights considerations of military or economic links?
  • Does the government have a commitment to developing human rights strategies on particular countries?


  • Are there any mechanisms for independent scrutiny of the links between human rights and foreign/trade/defence policy? Who is responsible for these mechanisms? Do they take submissions?
  • Are there any formal mechanisms for human rights organisations to input into policy generally and in relation to specific countries or issues?
  • Does the government have particular military, economic or cultural links with other countries that may give it influence? Which are these countries? What are the sources of influence within these countries?
  • In which IGO bodies is your government represented? Is it represented on the UN Commission on Human Rights, UN Security Council, the World Bank, regional IGOs?


Identify Promising Lobbying Targets and Opportunities

See the How to Lobby Worksheet.


Formulate a Prioritised Lobbying Plan

See the How to Lobby Worksheet.

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